Question 17. Describe a time when you felt constraints placed on you that worked against completing your job effectively.
situation: Over the last few years, the public school system has changed from a student-centered curriculum to being state-based. Instead of teaching phonics and grammar, my main responsibility is to prepare the class for mandatory tests. Such requirements do not allow room for originality in the classroom.
action: For an opportunity to put my teaching skills to full use, I applied to The Science Forum Charter School.
result: There, I have the opportunity to engage students in learning, in a way that I was not able to in the past. Successfully, I instilled a love for science in the students that will carry them through to adulthood.
Question 18. Give an example of a situation in which you were selected over your peers to complete a project.
situation: At Mallory Paints, we had several divisions that competed in the marketplace. For example, one division marketed premium paint and another had second-rate paint. Instead of the brand managers' structuring their prices to rival outside competition, they competed with each other.
action: As part of a special project, I was chosen to conduct external competitive intelligence. I took special care in analyzing the competitors' products and used the information to also evaluate internal price points.
result: Within a year, I restructured the pricing strategy to reflect two price increases that competed with the opposition and not with the company's internal products. The efforts achieved a boost of $3 million in unexpected operating income.
Question 19. Tell me about a time when you lacked experience in a specific area and needed to outsource an initiative.
situation: When I was the operations manager for Clothing Retail, I wanted to apply segmentation strategies to determine customer buying preferences. With such a tool we could analyze customer age, gender, interests, and spending habits, subsequently raising profits.
action: Since this was an information technology initiative beyond my know-how, I outsourced the project to a software company that specialized in developing frequent-buyer programs.
result: Based on the information we gathered, we could offer loyal customers specials and discounts. This preferential treatment was appreciated by the consumers and foot traffic increased during the holiday season.
Question 20. Describe an occasion when you were left to your own devices to manage a situation.
situation: As the night maintenance guy for Zenith Hotels, I serve as a jack-of-all-trades, from preparing conference rooms for early-morning meetings to making small repairs to the plumbing and electricity, it is my job to know it all.
action: One night there was a broken pipe that gushed water onto the main floor of the hotel. From reading the electronic monitoring system, I pinpointed the area and was able to contain the situation until a certified plumber could arrive in the morning.
result: My ability to manage the situation on my own saved the hotel what could have been high costs for repairing extensive damage.
Question 21. Tell me about a time when your success was dependent on another's decision.
obstacle: At the Women's Correctional Center, I was hired to maintain the integrity of the adult basic education program within the prison system.
action: Part of my responsibility was to write monthly and quarterly status reports for the Department of Education. In these reports, I noted program changes and provided statistical information on the participants, including TABE pretest and posttest and GED scores.
result: The information I provided was analyzed by a government entity. Since future program funding was based on these findings, I made sure my data were meticulously accurate and included all the information required, so the program would be properly subsidized.
Question 22. Describe a time when you went against the status quo.
obstacle: After an internal audit of the Maximum Wellness employee files, it came to our attention that a long-time clerical staff member, who was privy to confidential files, had falsified information on her employment application.
action: Under other circumstances, I might have fired her on the spot. But she was well liked by everyone in the office, and her performance evaluations highlighted her commitment to the organization. After two weeks of gathering information from Legal, I made the decision not to terminate her employment. Instead, I transferred her to a parallel position where she did not have access to private files.
result: As I suspected, the employee continued to do a stellar job and she stayed with the company until her retirement.
Question 23. Tell me about a time where you managed a situation on your own while simultaneously adjusting to changes that you had no control over.
situation: When I worked at Job Lot, a long-term associate suddenly passed away. It was a personal and professional blow to everyone in the division. After careful consideration, management decided not to restaff the position, and instead chose to split the workload between a co-worker and me.
action: With much of the work I had just inherited coming with deadlines, I prioritized my existing responsibilities to accommodate the new ones.
result: By coming in early and working through my lunch hour, I successfully met all the deadlines.
Question 24. Recall a time when you made an independent decision.
obstacle: When I worked as an administrator for Delish Culinary School, the instructors would submit a list of ingredients they needed in order to teach each day's lesson. Every day at noon, the deliveries arrived, and we were pressed for time to stock each instruction room before the afternoon classes began.
action: I rescheduled the deliveries for earlier in the day so that we had enough time to organize the rooms.
result: The workday flow was better organized, and if ingredients were missing, we had time to get them before classes started.