How Do You Handle Difficult Situations?

Describe a difficult business problem that you had to deal with and how you did it.

Describe, in very positive terms, one or two business difficulties that you had to deal with and make sure that you reinforce them with stories. It is very easy, if you have ever had to fire someone, to use those firings as an example of the most difficult business problems you had to deal with. Describe how you did the firing, why you did the firing, and how everyone was better off in the long run for it. Nobody likes firing people, and it is very uncomfortable for everyone, so if you use this kind of example, you will usually satisfy the interviewing authority.

Describe a situation in your last one or two jobs where you made a mistake. What was the mistake and how did you rectify it?

Be ready for an "in hindsight" type of answer. Give the example, but highlight what you learned from it. Have one or two of these kinds of stories available for this question when you get it. Whatever you do, don't say that you haven't made any mistakes that you can recall. Talk about a challenge and what you learned from it.

Where have you made difficult decisions before and what were they about? What makes you think you can handle this position?

Again, any question like this should be answered with relying on how successful you have been in the past. Cite examples and stories about how you were successful in the past.

What are the things that you find most difficult to do? And how did you deal with them?

If you are an accountant, engineer, a technical person, or anybody who is analytical or kinesthetic, then the answer has to center around something along the lines of what your personality is not. For instance, if you are an accountant or an engineer in an organization, you would say that the most difficult thing you have to do is operate in a sales function. If you are a salesperson, then you would say that the most difficult thing you have to do is operate in an accounting or engineering function. This seems rather obvious, but the answer is very safe. Whatever you're not hired to do is probably the most difficult thing you could be doing, so use that as an example. You can always fall back on the proverbial issue of, "Well, I really get frustrated with people when they say they're going to do things by a certain time and don't do them. I'm somewhat impatient. I have a hard time appreciating slackers... "

What were the most important/difficult decisions that you made in your present, last job, or even your job before that?

This is not going to be a question you get asked very often, but you sure better have a good answer. If you have to think about the answer to this question for more than a few moments, you appear as somebody who doesn't know what he or she is doing. It is best to have at least two or three ideas about the most important or difficult decisions to make in all of the jobs, that you have had.

Has there ever been a situation where your work was criticized?

Be thoughtful about this answer, and if there was ever a time that your work was grossly criticized, you may answer something along the line of, "Well, there have been situations where I learned from the mistakes I made in some of the work that I did. I take criticism well and have learned from every time I've experienced it."

What are one or two things you wished you had accomplished in your present or last job and the job before that?

Again, not something that you're going to be asked very often, but you better have a real good idea about what those things are. You can even tie those issues to the reason you were looking to leave your present job or the reasons that you left previous positions.

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