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Tell me about when you were particularly challenged


Disciplines > Job-finding > Interview questions > Tell me about when you were particularly challenged

The question | What they are looking for | How to answer | See also


The question

Tell me about when you were particularly challenged.

What has been the most challenging task you have faced?

Tell me about a time when things were difficult for you.

What they are looking for

In asking about challenge, the interviewers are looking to find out more about how you handle yourself when things are not 'business as usual'. This is particularly true when the job will involve change or other challenges.

It is when we are challenged, when we face stressful new circumstances that our 'true selves' often show up. Discussion of challenge thus gives a possibly more realistic view of the person.

How to answer

Show how, when faced with a new challenge, you are not negatively affected by stress. Thus, you should show how you are not overcome with stress, not paralyzed by uncertainty and do not give up when the going gets tough. If you can show confidence and control under significant new challenge, then you are also saying that you can handle pretty much anything.

The project scope was something I'd not faced before, but although it was a bit daunting, I really did look forward to a worthwhile challenge.

You can highlight the challenge by talking about how things do not work perfectly for you every time. Then turn the story around by showing how you persisted and won through in the end.

The first project was a dismal failure, primarily because we missed out an important stakeholder. When I saw what was happened, I called an emergency meeting and we re-started with a two-day offsite planning that included the new stakeholder. We lost six months initially, but we delivered only six weeks late.

This is also an opportunity to show how you will step up to the plate and put in extra work when it is needed.

When Banks Systems did not deliver the right paper to the warehouse, we worked through the whole weekend to get delivery full-specification product.

See also

Confidence principle


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