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Ability to Delegate

A strong ability to delegate effectively will ensure that projects are completed on time and within scope. To measure your experience in assigning projects, a subset of questions asked during the interview will focus on delegation.

Question 78. Describe a time when you entrusted a subordinate with an activity that he or she did not complete.

obstacle: I assigned a newly hired assistant the task of developing a PowerPoint presentation for the director who was scheduled to speak at a convention. After the assistant completed the presentation, I reviewed it to evaluate its quality. Regrettably, I noted it needed a revamp because it used old-school methods—the images were outdated, the bulleted statements were too long.

action: Knowing that the director could not present the material in its current condition, I met with the assistant to discuss the required changes.

result: Together we worked on the project until every detail met the director's standards. And since the assistant's knowledge of PowerPoint was limited, I enrolled her in a class to update her skills.

Question 79. Tell me about a time when you delegated work to a group.

situation: As a certified public accountant for Tax Preparation Corporation, I prepared taxes, audits, and financial statements for clients in various industries, including construction, fashion, financial institutions, real estate, and health care.

action: To streamline the processes, I assigned employees to teams so they could manage accounts within the same industry.

results: The effort increased client relationships, simplified billing, and slashed tax preparation turnaround.

Question 80. Describe a time when you divided the responsibilities of a task to members of a group.

situation: As an account supervisor for a large PR firm, I implemented a community affairs program in a short amount of time that was intended to educate the public about a new initiative our client was launching. The project was funded through a grant, so it all had to be managed well.

action: I assembled a team of four and had each one handle a specific aspect of the program. One person handled media; one a mailing—which included working with a production team; one person spent time identifying community organizations; and another person focused on putting together a list of local elected officials.

result: Delegating the tasks was the best way to obtain information about every aspect of the project; I could then report back to my superiors, and consequently, to our client. The employees took ownership of their responsibilities, forged their own relationships, and helped the successful launch of the campaign.

Question 81. Tell me about a time when you delegated a project to a junior staff member because you realized you had too much on your plate.

situation: I was the editor of a leisure/entertainment/recreation magazine. We needed to compile a restaurant directory for a region that included more than six thousand restaurants. I believed that developing a strong restaurant directory was key to success for the magazine, as I found that most—if not all—of the current restaurant directories serving the region were less than adequate. I originally thought I had to take on the task myself, for two reasons. First, I was the only one who understood what a real restaurant directory should be, and second, I was the only one crazy enough to care that all restaurants were adequately represented.

action: I decided to delegate the job because I just did not have the time to tackle the project. About the same time, however, I realized that the newly hired assistant editor was very responsible and was the perfect choice to take on the task.

result: The assistant editor embraced the opportunity, making the directory into something even better than I could have hoped for.

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