StressStating that you sometimes feel stress on the job but then giving a concrete example of how you managed stress in a professional way.
Sometimes I feel stress on the job and this can be difficult. For example, when I was a sales person for _______ motors we had a major recall and I handled more than 50 customer inquiries about the problem. Initially, many customers were angry and emotion but I worked with each customer to help them understand the scope of the problem, how it would be fixed and to extend out apologies as a company. In many cases, this helped me to build a closer relationship with customers in the end such that many became repeat customers.
FailureDescribe an experiment that failed that produced knowledge that was valuable such that the end-result was positive.
Well, I've tested strategies that initially failed. For example, we had increased costs for one of our ice cream products and margins were declining so we decided to experiment with increasing our prices by several different levels to gauge customer reaction. In order to test this strategy, we only increased prices in one region and soon discovered that it deceased sales more dramatically than we had hoped. We redesigned the strategy to decrease the size of our products as opposed to changing the price and this approach successfully increased bottom line revenue by 11%.
PerfectionismHiring managers may find perfectionists difficult and unproductive and this can be perceived as a real weakness. However, attention to detail is critical to some professions and roles.
I am detail oriented and like to investigate, fully understand and do things the right way. For example, when I manage a project I create a full project plan, closely monitor progress and adhere to methodology.
DirectnessSpeaking your mind in a direct way. In cultures that prioritize group harmony this may be viewed negatively. However, many managers may value candor.
I tend to be candid. For example, when I was a salesperson at ________ technology I would openly admit the weaknesses of our product to customers. As counterintuitive as it may seem, I found this helped me to establish trust with the customer and close sales.
TalkativenessTalkativeness can be negatively perceived, particularly in roles that require concentration such that teams may work for hours at a time in relative silence. However, an outgoing character is important to some roles such as sales.
I am talkative and tend to easily engage the people around me. For example, if I go to a conference I may end up talking to hundreds of people such that I develop a large number of contacts with time.
Difficulty DelegatingA difficulty with delegating work to others can be presented as a strength whereby you show that you are hands-on, diligent and connected with business realities.
I tend to be very hands-on and closely monitor work that I have delegated to others. For example, I always reviewed any designs before they were pitched to clients to make sure that they were up to standard.
OvercommittingOvercommitting can be a real problem as you may fail to meet stakeholder expectations. However, mistakes with overcommitting indicate that you are aggressive, competitive and brave. These are critical qualities for some roles.
I take on a great deal of work and have overextended myself on occasion. I find that if you want to be truly productive you need to be willing to take on a high workload. As such, I have often had to work unusually long hours to meet my commitments to stakeholders.
Lack of AssertivenessIf you sense that a manager is worried that you will challenge them for their job or generally cause them headaches by being capable and outspoken, you can craft your response to indicate that you are willing to fall in line and follow their direction.
I tend to follow direction and am often unwilling to challenge authority. For example, even if I believe a project is a flawed strategy I will work to deliver my part.
Elephant in the RoomIf there is an obvious weakness that you will have in a role, you can use this question as an opportunity to address it.
For this role, my most obvious weakness is that I lack experience in the investment banking industry. I plan to study on weekends and achieve __________ certification within the first year to get up to speed.