Question 190. Both written and verbal communication skills are vitally important. This position relies heavily on e-mail communication. To help me assess your experience, describe a time when your written correspondence was well received.
situation: As the project manager for Alter Communications, I estimated time requirements, established deadlines, monitored milestone completion, and tracked all phases of a three-tier project.
action: I wrote weekly e-mails to keep team members and management apprised of changes and I provided regular status reports.
result: Management and my peers constantly commended me for the quality of my messages. Most notably, they mentioned my ability to answer all their questions in one shot so there was never a need to ask follow-up questions.
Question 191. Describe an experience in which you worked with a culturally diverse population.
situation: When I was a court-appointed social worker, I had a varied client base, from children in single-parent households who acted out for attention, to those who committed crimes because of drug addiction. I understood that the world in which I grew up was vastly different from that of my clients.
action: From the get-go, I made a concerted effort to establish a rapport with my clients, based on mutual respect. To create a supportive environment, I always considered my clients' ages, ethnicity, religion, and culture and tailored my solutions to their circumstances.
result: Once clients understood that I was willing to meet them halfway, and to guide them in a new direction, they felt at ease and freely opened up to me.
Question 192. Give me an example of when you managed to break a communications barrier.
situation: When I worked for Winter Software, management decided to open an office in India, in an effort to run the operation twenty-four hours a day, at minimal cost. At first, the concept seemed flawless. When the U.S. employees went home for the day, the overseas associates could pick up on the customer projects. As it turned out, however, there was a language barrier, and the projects came back with kinks.
action: I was assigned to manage the projects that went to the India office. I knew the engineers had the capacity to do the job, and that it was just a matter of communication. I did not take anything for granted. By phone, I explained each step in detail, and asked them to repeat the instructions to be certain they had understood what I said.
result: As I suspected, the engineers had the skill to execute the projects. Once they understood the scope of their responsibilities, the assignments were no longer delayed and the customers were satisfied.
Question 193. Tell me about an occasion when you were optimistic while others around you were pessimistic.
obstacle: When I worked for IMD, we were sure that a long-standing government contract would automatically renew. At the last minute, the decision maker decided to sign with Areotronics, a company outside of the United States. This was a big loss for our company, one that significantly dented our bottom line. Everyone in the company was cynical. Some even feared the loss of their jobs. However, I am familiar with Areotronics' culture, its people, and the way the organization functions. Based on my intimate knowledge and the government's expectations, I knew that the contract would revert to us in due time.
action: I kept in contact with the government decision maker, never mentioning the lost account. Rather, I called to keep IMD in the forefront of her mind, so when the time was right, she could offer us the contract.
result: As I suspected, the transition was not easy. There were more hiccups than the government employee was comfortable with. Three months into the contract, she canceled it with Areotronics and renewed with us.