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Home arrow Management arrow 201 knockout answers to tough interview questions

Question 94. Describe a scenario when you helped a stagnant idea become a full-fledged plan.

situation: The owners of Fabric Colors wanted to take their online endeavor up a notch by collaborating with a Yahoo! Online store. This was a project the owners mentioned frequently, but never followed through on.

action: I took the initiative to source a Web designer with experience in creating a Yahoo! Store and I inquired how Fabric Colors' existing Web site could be enhanced. Together, we came up with a strategy and structure to ensure an engaging visitor experience.

result: The inclusion of the Yahoo! Store platform made it easier for visitors to pay for items online. In turn, the company's profits soared.

Question 95. Give an example of a problem or situation that needed an immediate, short-term solution.

situation: At McGruff and Sons, we had an old and rundown server. Every couple of days, I would receive an error message about a hardware failure. Replacement would cost over $8,000 and the company budget was already overstretched.

action: I rebuilt a machine I had at home and brought it into the office to use until the department could afford a new one.

result: The overhauled server held up for close to three years. When the new one was purchased, I was able to transfer all the data without any hiccups.

Question 96. Recall a time when you developed a mission statement.

situation: Play Book Magazine did not institute a mission statement at its inception, so when I joined the publication, I took on the project.

action: To get the employees involved, I asked for their input. Specifically, I asked them to describe Play Book in their own words and to e-mail me their thoughts. Based on the responses, I developed three statements that employees could vote on.

result: The statement the company settled on was: "We keep sports lovers educated by providing them with entertaining, up-to-date information."

Question 97. Tell me about a time when your budget ran on a deficit. What were the circumstances?

situation: When the economy took a downturn, sales at Matrix Solutions suffered an all-time low.

action: I immediately sent a memo to the staff, outlining my directives to cut costs, including encouraging executives to fly coach, limiting lunch expenses, and eliminating client gifts. In addition, I set up an emergency meeting with the sales, marketing, and advertising teams to come up with recession-proof solutions.

result: Considering the worldwide financial crisis at the time, and the numerous companies that had to downsize, Matrix fared well, since the deficit was only 4 percent.

Question 98. Describe a time when you questioned the direction your employer was taking. What was the result?

situation: White Stripe is a small company. A family-like sense of camaraderie can be both an asset and a catalyst for nonprofessional behavior. This is due, in large part, to the absence of a human resources department.

action: At my suggestion, the company hired an HR consultant to establish policies and manage functions, including employee relations, benefits, and compensation.

result: The HR consultant had the team complete a 360-degree feedback assessment. The evaluation allowed us to rate each other in several categories. Through the evaluation, we learned how we are viewed by our peers. This insight paved the way for the team to raise the level of professionalism at the company. In turn, productivity and morale increased.

Question 99. Give an example of a situation in which you implemented a plan that had long-range implications.

situation: In all my years of managing others, I have learned that, instead of guessing at what motivates employees, it is best to ask. I have also found that the best way to gain insight is to conduct surveys. One particular time, the overwhelming majority of staff members wanted the financial compensation model revisited.

action: As a result of employee feedback, I substituted the seniority-based bonus policy with a pay-for-skill program whereby employees received monetary incentives for learning new activities and/or performing additional tasks.

result: Management and employees raved about the new program. Employee productivity went through the roof, and revenue growth skyrocketed.

Question 100. Provide an example of your existing (previous) company's weakness and the steps you took to overcome it.

situation: Omaha Management wanted to be all things to all customers. Unfortunately, this plan was not working; we could not identify and reach a niche market.

action: In order to target specific customers, I implemented a plan that focused on supply-chain management and on retaining low prices on highvolume products.

result: The efforts successfully brought in the lower- to middle-income customers whom we targeted. This established a recognizable brand and increased profits.

Question 101. Describe a time when your opinion on an operational matter differed from that of management.

situation: Recruiting and training new employees takes a toll on a company's bottom line. Base Manufacturers wanted to eliminate turnover completely or at least get the percentage close to zero. Consequently, management stressed the importance of a low turnover rate, and supervisors felt compelled to keep low producers on staff. Though I understand the importance of keeping turnover low, it should not come at a cost of weak productivity.

action: I proposed that management focus their efforts on instituting exit interviews to identify the reasons employees left or were terminated. Pinpointing the root cause, whether it was poor management or recruitment skills, was a sensible solution to solving the turnover problem.

result: For about a year, the turnover rate hit peeks and valleys, until HR was able to uncover the reason for the high rate. The problem was in poor candidate screenings. A plan was put into place to better screen applicants and, as a result, turnover leveled off to a tolerable average.

Question 102. Tell me about a time when you consulted with a client to ensure that a project went smoothly.

situation: As the lead project manager for Financial Enterprises, I implemented a software program to identify underperforming funds and to broaden diversification for Fortune 500 companies.

action: I triaged client problems that occurred in the implementation process, including analyzing, determining specifications, and applying resolutions for every glitch.

result: Owing to my customer service and technical proficiencies, I was awarded greater responsibilities during my tenure with the company, and I received numerous bonuses.

Question 103. Describe a time when you worked as part of an integrated team to come up with a plan of action.

situation: As the educator for oncology nurses, I served on an integrated Regulatory Compliance Committee, which included doctors and specialists.

action: During the meetings, we reviewed the findings of key reports that characterized the diverse needs of cancer survivors and outlined the guidelines for care.

result: To optimize the facility's services, we developed policies and procedures for the safe delivery of inpatient and outpatient care, as well as house-wide guidelines for the safe handling of hazardous drugs.

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