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Give an example of a time when you have been faced with a challenging situation. How did you overcome this, and what did you learn from it?

Answer examples and advice for how to answer this interview question for an University Administrator interview

Advice
Simply not having a strong answer to this question means you did not prepare for this interview. You should always be ready to answer a challenge you have faced and how you overcame that challenge. I would recommend writing down a few challenges you have faced, anything that comes to mind, on paper. These challenges can be simple. Think about a time when equipment failed or a marketing strategy was not proving useful and you rerouted funds.

Here is an answer example: "When I worked at x Company in x role, we had a major event happening where over 200 guests were joining us for an evening event. On the particular day there was a really bad storm and about 1 hour before the event was due to start, we had an electricity outage. As a team, we were tasked with working through as much as we could on whether the power would be back on and if not, putting in place a contingency. As a team, we were split into two with 2 members dedicated to working with the service providers and getting an update from them about what had happened and when the power was likely to be back on. I was part of the team tasked with putting together a contingency plan which involved contacting all 200 guests due to arrive as much as we could and also sourcing a potential alternative venue close by. As I did not live centrally and thereby not being as familiar with the other local possible venues, I volunteered to start contacting the guests. I brought up the attendee's spreadsheet and found as many mobile numbers as I could to send out a group text to get to as many people as possible as quickly as possible to confirm about the power outage and to wait for an update on that it was taking place but possibly at an alternative venue or we may need to rearrange. I then worked through those with no mobiles just landlines and found if we had emails, again to get out the message as quickly as possible. Ultimately, we had to postpone the event until a later date but most people appreciated the heads up. I hope in that situation, I demonstrated that keeping calm and working out a practical approach will allow me to get through challenging situations. This is something that I strive myself and utilize when I need to."
Basic answer example
"When I worked at x Company in x role, we had a major event happening where over 200 guests were joining us for an evening event. On the particular day there was a really bad storm and about 1 hour before the event was due to start, we had an electricity outage. As a team, we were tasked with working through as much as we could on whether the power would be back on and if not, putting in place a contingency. As a team, we were split into two with 2 members dedicated to working with the service providers and getting an update from them about what had happened and when the power was likely to be back on. I was part of the team tasked with putting together a contingency plan which involved contacting all 200 guests due to arrive as much as we could and also sourcing a potential alternative venue close by. As I did not live centrally and thereby not being as familiar with the other local possible venues, I volunteered to start contacting the guests. I brought up the attendee's spreadsheet and found as many mobile numbers as I could to send out a group text to get to as many people as possible as quickly as possible to confirm about the power outage and to wait for an update on that it was taking place but possibly at an alternative venue or we may need to rearrange. I then worked through those with no mobiles just landlines and found if we had emails, again to get out the message as quickly as possible. Ultimately, we had to postpone the event until a later date but most people appreciated the heads up. I hope in that situation, I demonstrated that keeping calm and working out a practical approach will allow me to get through challenging situations. This is something that I strive myself and utilize when I need to."

View user-submitted Answers

Give an example of a time when you have been faced with a challenging situation. How did you overcome this, and what did you learn from it?
1.
The biggest challenge was making sure we offered relevant and accessible services and support for families and engaging with the hardest to reach but we worked as a team to identify and engage those families and support them to engage with us. Our reach and engagement increased by 47% over the three years I was CCL.
2.
We struggled to provide enough space for our students. The University had long term strategies to resolve this, but in the short term we had to do what we could to try to encourage customers to use the space efficiently (eg not leaving in demand desks occupied whilst they went for lunch) We launched an initiative to try to change attitudes and held meetings with students to get input from them. Getting students on board with the project was a real help, and made a noticeable impact. Fewer desks were left unattended, and students began to police the policy themselves.
3.
Trying to get practical exams sorted without timetable clashes.
4.
Effective communication is a problem. I have tried to help in this matter by contacting via email and phone team members for up to date information and clarity on issues.
5.
Recruitment, inappropriate internet use, plagiarism, negative thinking.
6.
Integration of staff into one department. Working with staff to get them to buy into new department and getting them involved in looking at best practice from previous systems.
7.
At my last position I face a mejor challenge and problem that is, my financial problem.
8.
Something I've faced in many jobs in resistance to change. I've learned that being firm in my own position, clear with my communication and patient with colleagues is the best approach for facilitating positive changes in the workplace.
9.
Challenge was undergoing major redundancies in the company whilst having to maintain the remaining resources to complete contracted projects.
10.
Working for the past eighteen months with a foreclosure imminent while still maintaining a positive attitude.
11.
Demand of dealing staff in place of retired staff.
12.
Laboratories facility is the most challenging to me.
13.
In my last position the challenges were getting all the clients names right and had patience to listen to them on the phone even if some of them were angry.
14.
To get the colleagues to agree to a seminar date and the problems that I faced was most of the speakers were going on summer holidays when we informed them about the conference.
15.
Being in middle management is a challenge overall. You are the middle person between upper management and your team. You need to satisfy both sides without ever pining one against the other. I have been told that I am very diplomatic and this is something I seem to navigate seamlessly.
16.
Being able to organize time between so many tasks I have to do.
17.
Lack of information in students and sometimes finding that they have already have a falsified information that they have from their fellow student.
18.
Under supported by management, working long hours, overworked etc.
19.
I think one of the biggest challenges was working on two consecutive degree revalidations. the first one in particular was very tough becasue I was new to higher edication. Nothing had been done and I had to start the entire process within 6 months. Having to design the curriculum, policies, write everything up, analyse the programmes performance was real learning curve. Which was utterly successful.

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