Candidates interviewed using a behavioral interview technique will be asked to give concrete instances when they demonstrated relevant talents (often soft skills) or describe how they handled specific situations. These inquiries are favorites of interviewers since they provide a more accurate and nuanced picture of your work style. As a bonus, they can assess your true potential in light of your work history. So, here we have compiled common questions to prepare you for a situational management interview.
1. In Situational Management, What Would You Do If You Bungled Something And Nobody But You Noticed?
Taking ownership of your actions and making an effort to right wrongs is, in my experience, the best approach to gain insight from your blunders. A customer once asked for a soy latte, but I made it with whole milk instead. Even if they never found out, I was still concerned that my mistake might diminish their enjoyment of the experience. Immediately after realizing my error, I informed my supervisor, recreated the drink, and apologized to the customer. My management appreciated that I did the right thing for the customer. I started paying more attention to what went into my drinks after that.
2. If You Were Given A Task You Had Never Done Before, What Would You Do?
While working as a marketing coordinator, I was tasked with creating and launching a digital advertising campaign, something I had never done before. I told my boss that I was not qualified to lead the project but was willing to do whatever was necessary if someone with more expertise could provide direction. I consulted with a few workers who had previously managed digital advertising campaigns, researched industry standards, and eventually launched the initiative. I am now the go-to guy for digital marketing strategies on the team because I gained invaluable expertise while working in the field.
3. Share A Story About A Time You Messed Up In Situational Management. How Did You Handle Yourself Throughout This Time?
As an ambitious new account manager, I over-promised on a project deadline in my first month on the job. We lost the client because the team lacked the means to meet my set timeframe. I reconnected with the client and accepted full responsibility for the loss; as a result, they chose to give us another shot. This taught me the importance of not promising more than possible and always providing what was promised.
4. What Steps Would You Take If An Irate And Unhappy Client Confronted You? What Would You Say To Calm Their Fears?
I once fielded a call from an angry customer while working as a receptionist at a car repair shop. I empathized with the customer and said, “I get how frustrated you are.” I took down their contact details and gave them my word to get back to them. Once I located the mechanic who had been working on their automobile, I learned that the issue was more severe than initially thought and would require multiple days to fix. I phoned the client back after arranging a loaner car for them. They were grateful for my assistance and even praised us publicly on social media.
5. What Is Your Proudest Professional Accomplishment In Situational Management, And How Did You Achieve It?
As an IT administrator, I uncovered a security hole during one of my routine maintenance checks. Rather than merely applying a patch, I investigated the network logs and found that a virus had recently infected several files. By alerting the team, we could immediately contain the virus and prevent it from spreading, saving the company millions of dollars. This incident sparked my interest in working to stop cybercrime and ultimately led me to apply for the post of cybersecurity manager you’re offering.
6. Tell Me About A Moment When You Had To Work Closely With Someone You Didn’t Get Along With. What Happened?
I had to collaborate with another department head who had a reputation for being difficult to work with and difficult to please on a significant project. When we had our first meeting, I made it a point to get to know each other personally and discuss what we all wanted to get out of the project right away. We accomplished the task, and as a result, our working connection is much stronger now.
7. Give Me An Example Of A Time When You Went Above And Beyond For Your Employer.
Sure! In all seriousness, though, this is a hilarious tale. I was a real estate agent for Company X at the time, and I had taken a week off to attend my sister’s wedding. Two hours before the ceremony on the wedding day, I get a call from one of my clients. They were only going to be in town for the day but were eager to see available apartments. I didn’t want to lose the chance to present to this client, who was typically quite busy, so I did so in my bridesmaid dress. Even though time was short, I was able to return to the ceremony on schedule and close the sale of the client’s new home. Even though I was on vacation, I was able to close on a property sale, which surprised my supervisor.
8. Describe A Situation When You Had To Work Under Intense Time Constraints. And How Did You Deal With It In A Situational Management Way?
The executive assistant to the CEO of Company Y left without giving any notice while I was working there as a receptionist. When she requested me to fill in for her temporarily until she could get a replacement, I juggled several responsibilities simultaneously. I was in charge of answering and rerouting calls for the business, scheduling meetings for the CEO, keeping track of her busy schedule, and a host of other tasks, some of which required me to work outside regular business hours. Although I was entirely spent by the end of the day, I was pleased with my accomplishments. This lasted two weeks, which was considerably longer than anyone had anticipated. As a result of the CEO’s satisfaction with my performance, I was offered and accepted the post of personal assistant.
9. Give Me An Example Of A Client That Demanded The Moon And Back From You.
When I reflect on my time in marketing, I remember one client in particular who was quite demanding. At the time, I was working as a manager for Marketing Firm X, and I was in the midst of a sales meeting with a potential client. The client’s expectations were completely unreasonable. They requested that we rebrand entirely within two weeks. This includes a redesigned logo, website, and posters in addition to an online advertising push. It pained me to tell the client he couldn’t have what he wanted, but it was impossible. As a result, I took my time to explain to him the reasoning behind each marketing phase and how long we spent on each stage. To me, customers must understand the worth of the services they’re paying for. After our discussion, the client looked more amenable, and we now had 20 days to complete the project instead of 2. We could pull it off even though the deadline was still somewhat tight. Although the task was challenging, we could lay the groundwork for a steady stream of future projects with the customer.
10. Just Give Me An Example: When You Took The Initiative To Solve A Problem On Your Own.
My first job out of college was as a barista, and the coffee business was troubled by issues with its supply chain. Every order was delivered several days late and often lacked essential items. The manager was rarely around and didn’t seem to notice that we were frequently out of decaf or whatever product was missing, but I was the one who had to break the news to customers. I tried to get in touch with the provider to discuss the problems, but they were of no assistance. To solve this problem, I went online and located a replacement provider. Positive feedback was abundant, and they offered more options in terms of components. To present the idea to my supervisor, I brought it up in person and explained my reasoning. We switched vendors after his prompt agreement. To say that everyone was relieved would be an understatement.
11. Share A Story About How You Overcame Challenges, Especially In Situational Management.
My former employer provided a delivery service for purchases made in-store. We maintained a high level of accuracy even at our busiest times. Unfortunately, human fallibility means that we once made an incorrect delivery. As I was walking out, the store phone rang, and it turned out to be a worried customer calling about an unexpected problem with her delivery. Her wedding was the next day, and she still hadn’t received the dress she’d bought, so I started working immediately to find a solution. In the final 30 minutes before they closed, I called the delivery agency and located the client’s parcel. I went out and got it and drove it to her. After that, she gave us a fantastic review.
12. Have You Ever Felt Like You Couldn’t Handle Everything You Had To Do? What Was Your Strategy For Dealing With The Situation?
After layoffs at my accounting firm, I was given twice as much work as usual. At first, I attempted minute-by-minute scheduling. While that did help, I still felt wholly overloaded and exhausted. I went to management and proposed we upgrade our accounting software to something more user-friendly. After a month of testing that showed that it was a good fit for us, we made the switch. It took effect instantly, and I could feel the difference! My productivity increased as I spent less time on each activity.
13. Share An Instance In Which You And Your Staff Had Conflicting Opinions. How Did You Decide On That?
When making important decisions, I always involve my teams. During my time as Brand B’s marketing department manager, I recall having to organize a special promotion for the holiday season and the new year. Since our CEO wanted to release it by mid-November, we worked under a strict time constraint. Despite that, I think it’s doable. But when I shared this with my staff, they shot me down. They were sure that the time allotted to us wouldn’t be sufficient and that we would either miss the deadline or have to submit a hurried product. I assured them it would require extra effort, but I would relay their concerns to the CEO nonetheless. After some back-and-forth, we settled on a new deadline that worked for everyone involved.
14. Give Me An Example Of A Moment When You Had To Gain Information From Someone Who Wasn’t Very Responsive.
When I started in the recruiting industry as an assistant, I was tasked with scheduling many interview rooms for multiple candidates for multiple sessions on the same day. The company’s web method for scheduling conference rooms was simple enough, but it frequently bumped me out of my reservations because of the presence of higher-ups. It took some quick thinking on my part to retrieve them. I had to run around the workplace looking for the people who had taken my rooms since I wasn’t getting responses to my emails. Things seemed dire at the moment, but they resolved themselves eventually. Most people were flexible about changing the location or timing of their interviews. I’ve also met many people and learned that sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and call someone than to send an email.
15. Give An Example Of A Period When You Had To Make A Great First Impression On A Client. Just How Did You Set About Accomplishing This?
Making a solid first impression on a potential client is crucial. It’s a good sign that we’re getting close to a sale when the sales team asks me to sit in on meetings with prospective customers. That’s why the sales team picked me to give the final research presentation for the customer, which ended up being our most significant win of the year. To get a feel for what could interest them, I interviewed all of the salespeople who had already met with them. One thing that sets me distinct is that I don’t give each client the same level of attention. I don’t want to offer them run-of-the-mill responses, so I try to address their inquiries and concerns. I am having the information culled and ready for all of their questions made a huge difference in winning them over to our company.
16. Talk About A Time When There Was A Lot Of Transition Going On At Work, Either Within Your Team Or The Company As A Whole. And How Did You Adjust To That?
My manager left the previous year, and it took the company months to find a replacement. Since she had been the one keeping everyone on the same page, her departure had a dramatic impact on how our team functioned. I felt embarrassed when I recommended we perform a daily check-in after our team had struggled for weeks to meet deadlines and communicate effectively. It took no more than 10 minutes a day, but it significantly alleviated the mounting frustrations and got us back to productive work. It taught me the importance of identifying the voids a change produces and developing novel solutions to fill them.
17. Share A Situation When You Effectively Convinced A Coworker To View Things Your Way.
Once, I was asked to end a project officially. This can be very disheartening for the people who are impacted. If not executed properly, it could hurt team morale. I can’t go into too much detail about the project, but let’s say that everyone on it put in a lot of time and effort, and it took a lot of convincing to get everyone to agree that this was the best option. Instead of letting the perception that their struggle for months was being thrown out take hold, I made sure everyone knew how their contributions would be used elsewhere in the company. Not what they had hoped for, but knowing that their efforts had not been in vain made it easier for me to break the news that our original objectives were unrealistic. I addressed their worries head-on and convinced them that this was the best course of action because I anticipated their negative reactions and made an effort to be sensitive.
18. Provide An Example Of A Presentation You Gave That Was Well Received, And Explain What Made It So Effective.
I’ve significantly improved as a presenter over time. In my former lab, I was responsible for regularly updating our work at the weekly research meeting. I used to pick up where I left off and talk as if everyone in the room was an expert in the same field as me when they weren’t. Given the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to see. Research, by its definition, produces actual results. I began including additional contextual information in my presentations, like a condensed conference talk. This required more effort, but the increased number of questions showed that my audience was genuinely interested. Now, whenever I give a presentation, no matter how official or informal, I try to provide sufficient background information to support my conclusions.
19. Give Me An Example Of A Moment When You Had Very Strict Monitoring Or A Very Free Hand At Work. Tell Me How You Dealt With That.
Not everyone enjoys the micromanagement I experienced as an intern at Online Content Co., but I found it quite helpful when I started and had no idea what I was doing. I believe the tight monitoring I was given was primarily responsible for my rapid learning curve. However, I began feeling stifled after being hired on as a permanent staff member and becoming a writer. After a few more months of no significant change, a mentor pointed out that I wasn’t being aggressive about speaking with my manager, and that’s when things started to turn around. To avoid winging my way through one-on-one meetings and being bombarded with questions, I’ve arrived prepared with a status report on everything I’m working on. I still delivered the message, but instead of feeling controlled, I took on a more active role in the process.
20. What Would You Do If You Made A Lot Of Progress On A Project, Only To Find Out That The Project’s Objectives Had Shifted, Necessitating A Complete Redo Of Your Previous Efforts?
I think we’ve all been here before at some point. It’s annoying to redo work, but priorities and expectations might vary. If I ever had a sinking feeling that my project had veered off course, I would stop everything I was doing and try to figure out what had gone wrong. First, I would ensure I fully grasped the necessary modifications by asking plenty of questions until I did. From then on, I promise to keep you up-to-date on the project’s status so we may make adjustments as needed.
21. Introduce Yourself To Me.
I’m an account executive at ABC Company, working with our top-performing customer. Previously, I had worked at an agency responsible for three distinct well-known healthcare brands around the country. Although I had great pleasure in my previous employment, I am thrilled by the prospect of delving deeper into my field of expertise at X Center.
22. Why Are You Interested In Working For This Company?
In addition to the East Coast vacancies advertised on The Muse, I saw that you were also looking to fill positions on the West Coast to accommodate your expanding operations. Reading more about the new data center you’re constructing there has piqued my interest; I’m looking forward to the possibility of helping to train new team members shortly. And now I know that you’re expanding into Mexico thanks to a piece in The Wall Street Journal. I am fluent in Spanish and am ready to step in and help communicate when the time comes.
23. Explain Why It Would Be A Good Idea To Hire You.
Even though I’m sure General Tech’s recent expansion and acquisition of multiple startups have been fascinating, I know from personal experience that it can be difficult for the sales team to grasp how the company’s new products relate to those it already sells. It’s human nature to favor selling what you’re already familiar with, even if that means neglecting more recent developments that could benefit the company as a whole. I’ve been a sales trainer for more than ten years, and I’ve spent most of that time with companies in the same position as Gen Tech. Expanding your business is fantastic, but only if you have the resources to support the expansion. By instituting a comprehensive sales training program highlighting new items’ position in the overall portfolio, I am confident that I can inspire your sales staff to embrace and enthusiastically promote these products.
24. Tell Me About Some Of Your Best Qualities.
One of my strongest suits is the ability to bring order to chaos and establish procedures that benefit all parties involved. As an executive assistant for a CEO, I’ve had to develop new systems for handling virtually every aspect of my job, from setting up meetings and drafting monthly all-hands agendas to practice for public appearances. The company’s established procedures and timelines made it easier for everyone to understand their roles and responsibilities and helped set reasonable expectations. If given the opportunity, I’d love to apply this same mindset to the post of operations manager at a startup, where everything is fresh and evolving but may benefit from a fraction of structure to ensure things operate smoothly.
25. What Do You See As Your Greatest Flaws?
Sometimes I have difficulty telling if the folks I work with are happy or stressed about their responsibilities. We have weekly meetings to ensure I’m not expecting too much or too little from my staff. I prefer to inquire whether they feel in control of their workload, whether there is anything they would like to add or drop, and whether or not they are interested in their work. Even if everything is fine, meeting regularly is essential since it establishes a foundation for trust.
26. Tell Me About An Instance When You Displayed Leadership Abilities.
I think a good leader can make decisions while listening to others and being willing to admit when they’re wrong and change direction. In my last job, I was in charge of giving a big presentation to a potential client with my team. I quickly gave each team member different tasks, but the project never got going. I gave everyone a chance to say what they thought and were worried about, and it turned out that they were having trouble in the roles I had given them. I ended up swapping around a few people. The worker I had chosen to give the presentation was nervous, but they still wanted to try. I worked with them to make sure they were ready, and I even gave them a chance to practice in a place where they felt more at ease. When it came to the real thing, they did a great job. We got the client, and the company is still working with them. And that worker became the person who was always asked to help with essential client presentations. I’m glad I took the time to hear everyone’s concerns so I could rethink my plan and help my team be as good as possible.
27. Why Are You Leaving The Job You Already Have?
If you have a challenging job opportunity, I’m up for it. Even while I enjoyed my coworkers and our work, I eventually recognized I wasn’t being challenged in the same manner I had been. I don’t want to get complacent, so I’m looking for a job where I can learn and advance.
28. What Is Your Current Annual Income?
Before considering compensation, I’d like to learn more about the responsibilities of this position. I am confident that if A Company is an appropriate fit for me, we can agree on a fair and competitive number for both parties.
29. What Do You Dislike Most About Your Occupation?
I am responsible for generating media lists for pitching in my current employment. While I’ve developed a flair for this and can do it when necessary, I’m looking forward to a position that allows me to deal with media partners more directly. This is one of the aspects of your account supervisor role that most excites me.
30. Who Else Are You Interviewing With?
I’m interviewing with several companies for various professions, but they all revolve around providing an exceptional customer experience. I wanted to have an open mind about achieving that aim best, but this role will allow me to focus 100% of my work on customer experience and retention, which I find very interesting.
We hope our compilation will help you in your interview, and you can ace answering questions on situational management. You can use the STAR method if you are stuck during the interview. Good luck!