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Job Interview Question And Answer: Describe A Time When You Were Faced With A Difficult Situation And How You Handled It

Posted October 13, 2011, by Elissa Collier

Think about a time when you came up against a challenge that you successfully resolved. Don't dredge up a catastrophe that resulted in personal or professional failure – stick to a story with a happy ending. Ideally, don't make it about a personal clash with a co-worker, but rather a professional challenge that places you in a positive light.

The interviewer is also trying to determine what you define as 'difficult' so try to choose an example that was challenging but not impossible to resolve.

Good examples are:

  • pulling off a big project on a miniscule budget
  • a contract falling through at the last minute; having to do the work yourself
  • how you dealt with client requests to meet tight deadlines
  • an unexpected event throwing your plans into disarray, and how you got things back on track

The interviewer wants to see that you have resilience, problem-solving skills, initiative and the ability to work around less-than desirable situations. Clearly explain how you identified the problem and reached a solution both professionally and quickly, and what the final positive outcome was.

Keep in mind they are interested in determining how your actions and decisions will affect the business, so always describe a conclusion that shows you acting in a positive way for the company.

See our full list of interview questions and answers to help you in your next interview!

Elissa Collier

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