Nine. Analytical Skills

Challenges often arise during your typical workday, and the way you

handle those problems and difficult situations determines their outcome, of course, but it also speaks volumes about how you think and act as an employee. Positive results reflect your ability to objectively assess the circumstances and decide how to close the gap between problem and solution. On the flip side, negative results demonstrate your inconsistent and unpredictable behavior—traits that ultimately hinder an organization's growth, not to mention your career growth.

An interviewer will use competency-based questions to assess your problem-solving skills and your attention to detail—in short, whether you can use a reasoned approach to solving problems and follow through on the details.

Problem Solving

Every position requires the use of problem-solving skills. Interviewers will be interested in the way you approach resolving issues, and if your methods mesh with the organization's culture.

Question 132. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with management's decision. What did you do about it?

obstacle: Twin Mountains encourages a collaborative environment where teams work together to prepare key account presentations. We received word from management that not everyone on the team could attend the pitch meeting because funds for travel were low. Since the clients expect senior staff to attend these meetings, that meant the production assistants could not.

action: The production assistant on a special account worked just as hard, if not harder, than others in the group. I conveyed my misgivings about not inviting him, but management remained firm in its decision.

result: It is important for employees, no matter their status in the organization, to feel valued. Since the assistant could not attend, I videoconference him in. It was a happy solution that satisfied everyone.

Question 133. Recall a time when you discovered a way to improve upon an existing process.

situation: Super Mart outsourced their company's helpdesk work to Technology Solutions, my previous employer. Since it was our first multimillion-dollar account, we strived to provide exceptional service and to run the project with zero error.

action: Based on my reputation for getting things done, I was selected as project leader. My accountability included rewriting the training manual to ensure that the modules focused on both hard skills, such as network troubleshooting, and soft skills, like time management and communications. After completion of the guide, I chose the technicians who would join me, and I trained them on executing the new protocols with care.

result: Super Mart employees completed a survey to determine the level of service they received when contacting the helpdesk for support. We exceeded expectations and received high marks for exemplary end-user support.

Question 134. Describe a time when you figured out a problem that others had tried to solve but failed.

situation: The Central Hospital emergency room had a problem with overcrowding. In the past, management disciplined the intake coordinators for not working faster. Unfortunately, though there was meeting after meeting about this, the situation did not change.

action: I believed that the intake coordinators were overworked, and they were doing well, considering the resources available to them. To build upon their skills, I suggested that the IT department begin developing a patient-management software system that would allow the process to run smoother and faster.

result: The software solution slashed thirty minutes off patient-processing times. An added benefit was that the buzz in the community about the shorter wait time built greater local support and enhanced the reputation for the facility.

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