Garden Door


Answering behavioural-based questions is about relating your experiences in the workplace to a question.


The key is remembering the situations and being able to quickly and concisely recall them.

How do you handle working with different managers with different personalities?

Wrong answer
Oh I just work in with them and find out that they like.

This answer does not give the interviewer any information they are looking for real experiences.

Right answer
In my last job I had two managers. One had worked with a PA previously, we built trust quickly, and I had full access to his diary and email. The other had an erratic working style, he was not used to having a PA, his email was out of control. I sat with him, worked out how he managed his email, showed him how we could decrease the volume and create action plans. By showing him how he could find small efficiencies we built trust. We had a daily meeting in the early stages and within a couple of weeks he saw he could trust my skills and that I would not go off on a tangent. It’s about communicating and getting them to see I’m there as a support and I will do the right thing.

Knowing what questions an employer will ask you is difficult.

We recommend you identify the key areas in the role that will be of interest and think about how they would relate to your own experience. Listed below are a range of questions to get you thinking.


  • What has been the most stressful work situation you have found yourself in? How did you handle it?
  • What have you done in the past to prevent a situation from becoming too stressful for you or your colleagues to handle?


  • Tell me about a situation in which you have had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle it?
  • How was your transition from high school to university? Did you face any particular problems? How did you handle them?


  • Tell me about a time when you had to analyse information and make a recommendation. What kind of thought process did you go through? Was the recommendation accepted? If not, why?
  • Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem. What did you do? What was the outcome? What do you wish you had done differently?


  • What process do you use to check that you have the right details from a customer?
  • Give me an example of a time you discovered an error that been overlooked by a colleague. What did you do? What was the outcome?


  • Give an example of a time you went well out of your way to ensure a customer received the best possible service from you and your organisation. What was their reaction?
  • Tell me about a time you have “inherited” a customer. What steps did you take to establish a rapport with them? What did you do to gain their trust?


  • When have you had to present to a group of people with little or no preparation? What obstacles did you face? How did you handle them?
  • What obstacles or difficulties have you ever faced in communicating your ideas to a manager?


  • When was the last time you thought “outside the box” and how did you do it? Why?
  • Tell me about a problem that you’ve solved in a unique or unusual way. What was the outcome? Were you happy or satisfied with it?


  • What is the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make at work? How did you arrive at your decision? What was the result?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision. What obstacles did you face?


  • Give me an example of an important career goal which you set yourself and tell me how you reached it. What obstacles did you encounter? How did you overcome the obstacles?
  • Tell me about a professional goal that you set that you did not reach. How did it make you feel?


  • Describe a project or idea (not necessarily your own) that was implemented primarily because of your efforts. What was your role? What was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a time when your initiative caused a change to occur.


  • Discuss a time when your integrity was challenged. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time when you experienced a loss for doing what is right. How did you react?


  • Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. How/why was this person difficult? How did you handle it? How did the relationship progress?
  • Describe a situation where you found yourself dealing with someone who didn’t like you. How did you handle it?
  • Describe a situation where you had a conflict with another individual, and how you dealt with it. What was the outcome? How did you feel about it?
  • Describe a recent unpopular decision you made. How was it received? How did you handle it?


  • Tell me about a team project when you had to take charge of the project? What did you do? What was the result?
  • What is the toughest group that you have ever had to lead? What were the obstacles? How did you handle the situation?
  • What have been the greatest obstacles you have faced in building/growing a team?
  • Describe a time when you have not only been responsible for leading a team of people but for also doing the same job as your team members? How did you juggle/balance your time?


  • Tell me about your previous success in building a customer base from a standing start. What steps did you take?
  • Describe a time when you convinced a resistant customer to utilise your services.


  • Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked with a colleague who was not doing their share of the work. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with a team that did not get along. What happened? What role did you take? What was the result?
  • What was the biggest mistake you have made when delegating work as part of a team project?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to settle a dispute between team members. How did you go about identifying the issues? What was the result? • What have you found to be the difficult part of being a member, not leader, of a team? How did you handle this?


  • Tell me about a particular work-related setback you have faced. How did you deal with it?
  • When have you ever found yourself in a competitive situation professionally? How did you handle it?

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