Try these questions for improved Hiring Success

1. Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure.

Type of response you are looking for:

I worked on a key project scheduled for delivery to the client in 60 days. My supervisor came to me and said that we needed to speed it up and be ready in 45 while keeping our other projects on time.

I made it a challenge for my staff, and we effectively added just a few hours to each of our schedules and got the job done in 42 days by sharing the workload. Of course, I had a great group of people to work with, but I think my effective allocation of tasks was a significant component of the project’s success.

2. How do you handle a challenge? Give an example.

Type of response you are looking for:

My supervisor once needed to leave town unexpectedly, and we were in the middle of a touchy negotiation with a new sponsor. I was tasked with putting together a PowerPoint presentation just from the notes he had left and some briefing from his manager. My presentation turned out successfully- we got the sponsorship, and the management team recommended me for an award.

The steps I’m sharing today come with time, deliberate practice, and the appropriate amount of commitment. You will hop from bed to bed like goldilocks until you find the one that is, ahhh…just right. The improvements will come, and your life as a leader will be much more gratifying and successful.

3. Have you ever made a mistake? How did you handle it?

Type of response you are looking for:

Once I misquoted the fees for a particular type of membership to the club where I worked. I explained my mistake to my supervisor, who appreciated my coming to her and my honesty. She told me to offer to waive the application fee for the new member.

The member joined the club despite my mistake; my supervisor was understanding. Although I felt terrible that I had made a mistake, I learned to pay close attention to the details to give accurate information in the future.

4. Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.

Type of response you are looking for:

When I started working for XYZ Company, I wanted to achieve the Employee of the Month title. It was a motivational challenge, and not all the employees took it that seriously, but I really wanted that parking spot and my picture on the wall. I went out of my way to be helpful to my colleagues, supervisors, and customers- which I would have done anyway. I liked the job and the people I worked with. The third month I was there, I got the honor. It was good to achieve my goal, and I actually ended up moving into a managerial position there pretty quickly, I think because of my positive attitude and perseverance.

5. Describe a decision you made that wasn’t popular and how you handled implementing it.

Type of response you are looking for:

Once, I inherited a group of employees when their supervisor relocated to another city. They had been allowed to cover each other’s shifts without management approval. I was not fond of the inconsistencies, where certain people were given more opportunities than others. I introduced a policy where I had my assistant approve all staffing changes to ensure that everyone who wanted extra hours and was available at certain times could be utilized.

6. Give an example of how you set goals and achieve them.

Type of response you are looking for:

Within a few weeks of beginning my first job as a sales associate in a department store, I knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry. I decided that I would work my way up to department manager, and at that point, I would have enough money saved to be able to attend design school full time. I did just that, and I even landed my first job through an internship I completed the summer before graduation.

7. Give an example of how you worked on a team.

Type of response you are looking for:

During my last semester in college, I worked as part of a research team in the History department. The professor leading the project wrote a book on language development in Europe in the Middle Ages. We were each assigned different sectors to focus on, and I suggested that we meet independently before our weekly meeting with the professor to discuss our progress and help each other out if we were having any difficulties. The professor really appreciated the way we worked together, and it helped to streamline his research as well. He was ready to start on his final copy months ahead of schedule because of the work we helped him with.

8. What do you do if you disagree with someone at work?

Type of response you are looking for:

A few years ago, I had a supervisor who wanted me to find ways to outsource most of the work we were doing in my department. I felt that my department was one where having the staff on premises impacted our effectiveness and ability to relate to our clients. I presented a solid case for her, and she came up with a compromise plan.

9. Share an example of how you were able to motivate your team members or co-workers.

Type of response you are looking for:

I was in a situation once where the management of our department was taken over by someone with experience in a totally different industry. One that maximized profits over service. Many of my co-workers were resistant to the sweeping changes that were being made, but I recognized some of the benefits right off the bat and motivated my colleagues to give the new process a chance to succeed.

10. Have you handled a difficult situation? How?

Type of response you are looking for:

When I worked at ABC Global, it came to my attention that one of my employees had become addicted to painkillers prescribed after she had surgery. Her performance was negatively impacted, and she needed some help. I spoke with her privately and helped her arrange a weekend treatment program covered by her insurance. Fortunately, she was able to get her life back on track, and she received a promotion about six months later.

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