500 Questions: About Your Work Style, Part Two

This is the second of three parts where we discuss your work style during the interview process.

Share an example of your determination.

Describe a time you persevered to accomplish a goal. A personal goal, such as one that reflects an interest in developing a new skill, would be appropriate here. Demonstrate how you gather resources, predict obstacles and manage stress.

Share an example of your diligence or perseverance.

Describe your professional character, including thoroughness, diligence and accountability. Demonstrate how you gather resources, use time-management techniques, or go the extra mile. Use a specific example.

What aspects of your work are most often criticized?

Focus your answer here on some weakness in a job you held early in your career. What did you or your supervisor do about it? The interviewer wants to hear about a problem that you have improved in your last job. Demonstrate improvement over the years, but don’t complain about anything without showing solutions. Demonstrate an ability to offer solutions, not merely to point out problems.

Can you work under pressure?

You might be tempted to give a simple “yes” or “no” answer, but don’t. It reveals nothing, and you lose the opportunity to sell your skills. Use this opportunity to assure the interviewer that you can indeed work under pressure; seize the opportunity to sell yourself.

How do you organize and plan for major projects?

Give the interviewer a good idea of your general approach to mastering complex tasks. You may wish to include how you decide on time frames, set deadlines, determine priorities and delegate tasks.

If you could choose your fellow employees to work with you on this project, what qualities would you seek?

The interviewer may be seeking to see how well you will fit in with the group currently on the team. Show flexibility and adaptability and a willingness to work with others in a variety of capacities.

Do you think conflict can be avoided? Why or why not? In what situations?

Offer an example of when conflict should be avoided. Describe a business situation that involved conflict that placed you under a great deal of stress. Explain what the problems were and how you helped resolve them. Then, offer a situation where conflict should be encouraged, such as in a competition. Employers are not necessarily looking for employees that are afraid of conflict.

Do you work well alone, or do you require direct supervision?

With this question the interviewer looks for a match between your need for feedback and your ability to work independently on your own. The interviewer wants to know if you are a self-starter, able to take direction and go with it. Show that you can carry a project through to its completion.

Are you able to meet aggressive deadlines? Do you have experience doing so in the past? Have you ever been behind schedule?

Interviewers want to hear that you have the commitment necessary to meet necessary deadlines and to follow-through. Cite your previous experience with specific projects and how your contributions made a difference in the overall outcome. To answer this question effectively, describe in detail how you establish priorities, set deadlines and stay on schedule.

How do you handle tension?

Indicate that tension is usually caused when things are piling up and areas of responsibility are extended for any length of time. You can handle this best by keeping on top of your priorities and responsibilities and by not procrastinating on tasks that need to be accomplished.

How do you measure the success of your work?

The interviewer is asking you what results or evidence you need to evaluate the success of your work and what kind of feedback or reward system is important to you. It is important to establish that these needs can be satisfied on the job.