Question 194. Describe a time when you were required to write marketing copy.

situation: When I worked for Recreation and Racquet Club, I was charged with implementing an integrated marketing campaign that focused on offline and online advertising.

action: For the offline initiative, I wrote persuasive copy and incorporated attention-grabbing photographs for a postcard campaign that was used in a direct-mail program. And for online, I created the Web site copy that outlined the features and benefits of the Club.

result: The direct mail drew in local foot traffic, while the Web page, based on hits and viewing time, proved to increase merchandise sales.

Question 195. Describe an occasion when you improved communications within your department.

situation: Reactions Interchange was a small company, and the owners could not afford to hire an independent network consultant to hook up a file-sharing system.

action: Though we used Outlook to manage our e-mails and appointment scheduling, I read an article in the New York Times that Google's e-mail system, gmail, permitted users to upload documents that others could access when on different workstations. In other words, all anyone needed was a gmail account and they could log on at their leisure, read the documents, and make recommendations.

result: Since gmail is a free service, it was a cost-effective tool we could use until Reactions Interchange could afford a network system.

Question 196. Tell me about a time when you strengthened a relationship through training.

situation: While employed with Widgets Incorporated, one of my main responsibilities was to maintain strong relationships with distributors.

action: In an effort to sustain profitable relationships, I implemented semi-annual meetings that focused on budget evaluations, forecasts, and new-brand launchings.

result: This hands-on approach enhanced distributors' performance.

Question 197. Give an example of an important written document you are required to write.

situation: As a contract writer, I prepare three hundred contracts a month, with little or no interaction with customers. Almost all the information I receive comes from the sales representatives.

action: When I write the official contracts, I have to take into account the legal aspects as well as any notes the sales representatives have given me.

result: Since the contracts I write are known to be accurate, every salesperson requests that I work on his or her accounts.

Question 198. Recall a time when a team member criticized your work in front of others. How did you respond?

situation: During a meeting, I inadvertently submitted the first draft of a report, which was missing a crucial final portion of the proposal. A colleague, Paul, pushed the report into the middle of the table, and in a snarky tone, told me it was incomplete. It was evident that the others present were uncomfortable by his approach, as the room went silent.

action: I looked through the report and noticed my mistake. With calm demeanor, I excused myself to make copies of the final report.

result: When I returned the meeting was under way. Without interrupting, I passed out the new report. After my presentation was complete, Paul praised the hard work I had put into it. I suspect that if I had responded negatively, or defensively, to his remark, the meeting would have turned even more uncomfortable. There are times when we have to decide not to react and to let things slide, for the benefit of all involved.

Question 199. Describe a time when you were praised for your listening skills.

situation: As a benefits administrator, employees routinely approach me to ask questions about their life insurance. One time, an employee's spouse had passed away; she came into my office distraught, asking me to call the life insurance company for her, since she was at a loss for words.

action: With her sitting in my office, I made the appropriate call to put the process of payment into action. I also took the time to listen, as she expressed her feelings about her loss.

result: After the meeting, the employee thanked me for my generosity and for allowing her to voice her sorrow.

Question 200. Describe a situation in which you found yourself dealing with someone with whose personality you clashed. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?

obstacle: While I was the co-manager of Deep Blue Salon, the shop enjoyed years of profitability, partially because we were the only place in town. As the town began to grow, new businesses emerged, including another salon within three miles of Deep Blue. My outlook was that competition is healthy. On the other hand, Tara, the other manager, was troubled by the prospect of another salon. Whereas I wanted to revise our marketing plan to gear up for a possible decrease in business, she was not open to the idea.

action: After attempting to engage her in the process several times without success, I forged ahead. I devised a plan that included expanding our services to provide Reiki and stone massages.

result: When I completed a draft of the new plan, I showed it to Tara. I felt that it was important to get her input before the final product. Once she reviewed the outline, she jumped on board and shared her thoughts. Together, we polished the plan, and when the new salon opened, we remained competitive.

Question 201. Tell about a time you built rapport quickly with someone under difficult conditions.

obstacle: When I was hired as a project assistant for Reynolds Incorporated, the employee assigned to train me was the person I was replacing. Unfortunately, she gave her two-week notice under difficult circumstances. The first day on the job was uncomfortable for me. She did not talk to me unless it was about a work-related matter and even then she was curt.

action: I understood that her animosity toward the company had nothing to do with me. To ensure a smooth transition, however, I did not react negatively to her attitude. After a day or two, her unenthusiastic approach subsided.

result: By the end of the two weeks, we were having lunch together. In fact, she gave me her personal e-mail address, just in case questions arose later on.

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