How did you explain an impossible situation to your client?
Interviewing for jobs can be a nerve-wracking experience. The STAR interview question can make you feel under more pressure than ever!
With so many parts to remember, it's easy to get flustered. Would you rather have us tell you the answer?
Here are some examples that you can use to answer this apparently simple question effectively.
It wasn't possible to create a single app that could do everything they wanted
S - The client wants to create an app that will streamline their business processes and make things easier for them.
T - I had to make sure the client understood that the task they wanted to achieve was impossible. It would not be possible to create a single app that could do everything they wanted. The best way would be to create an app that could do one thing really well, then build on that app with more features and functionality as time went on.
A - I explained this in a very clear way, using examples of what other companies have done in similar situations and how they solved their problems by taking small steps first instead of jumping into a big solution right away.
R - The client understood what I had said and agreed with me afterward when I showed them some examples from other companies who had created exactly what they wanted through small steps instead of trying to do everything at once.
I was asked to find a replacement product that was more affordable but of equal quality.
S - In my previous role, I had a client who was asking for the impossible. They wanted me to find them a replacement for their current product that was more affordable but of equal quality.
T - This is where my task came in. I needed to find a way to explain to them why this was not possible.
A - I explained that the reason for their current product's high price point is that it's made with premium materials and uses very advanced technology. There is no way we could replicate this with less expensive materials or technology without sacrificing quality or performance.
My actions were to do some research into similar products on the market and see what they were paying for their materials and technology so we could compare costs and see if there was any room for negotiation on our end.
R - The result was that while they were disappointed they wouldn't get exactly what they wanted, they understood that it wasn't realistic or possible within our means as a company right now.
We just couldn't find any resources that could create that same look
S - I remember working on a project with a client who wanted to make some changes to their website. The client had a very specific idea of what they wanted, but we just couldn't find any resources that could create that same look.
T - I tried explaining this to the client in a way that was respectful and professional. I told them that it was possible that we'd have to go with something different than what they were hoping for, but I would do everything I could to make sure they were happy with our final product.
A - The client wasn't happy with the initial designs we showed them, so we went back to the drawing board and came up with an entirely new concept using their existing logo and color scheme. We really worked hard on this design before presenting it again—it was important for us to get it right!
R - When we presented the new design, the client loved it! They were thrilled with how well we were able to incorporate their brand into something new and exciting. It went from being impossible (according to them) to be exactly what they wanted!
They were demanding that we give them a refund for an item that had been sold out for three months.
S - When I was working as a customer service representative at [company name], one of our clients was asking for the impossible. They were demanding that we give them a refund for an item that had been sold out for three months.
T - My job was to explain to them that there was nothing we could do because the item in question had been sold out, but also to try and find an alternative solution.
A - I explained that we would not be able to give them a refund, but I offered to look into what other options we could offer them instead.
R - The client agreed with my suggestion, so they ended up receiving another product of equal value in return for their original purchase, which left both parties satisfied with their experience.
A client had asked to have a new feature added to their website within a week
S - A client had asked to have a new feature added to their website within a week. We had already worked on the project for three months at this point, and it was only half-complete.
T - I was responsible for communicating with the client about their expectations, as well as helping them understand the time constraints of development.
A - I explained that we could not complete the project in one week, but offered an alternative solution: we could deliver half of what they wanted within one week and continue working on the rest over the next two weeks. The client agreed to this arrangement.
R - The client was satisfied with our work and did not ask for any more changes after receiving the first half of the project within one week.
My client wanted a suit made in the style of a business suit but with the fabric of an evening dress
S - I was working for a company that produces custom-made clothing. My client was a very wealthy person who wanted a suit made in the style of a business suit but with the fabric of an evening dress.
T - My job was to explain to my client that this combination of fabrics is impossible, but I could offer him a few alternatives that would achieve the same effect.
A - I asked him what kind of fabric he wanted, and he said silk. So I told him that we could make it out of faux silk if he wanted. That way, it would be similar to real silk but wouldn't require too much time or money.
R - He seemed satisfied with this compromise and decided not to come back until later—the next day, actually!
The client was asking for a new website in time for a launch that was only 2 weeks away
S - The client was asking for a new website to be built and maintained by our company. They wanted it to be a very simple design, but they wanted it done in time for a launch that was only 2 weeks away.
T - To build and maintain the client's new website in time for the launch.
A - I told the client that it was impossible to do what they were asking for in such a short period of time. I showed them examples of other sites that we had built, as well as some of our competitors' work, and explained why these websites took longer than 2 weeks to build. We then discussed what they needed from their website and how we could meet those needs within their budget.
R - The result was a redesigned version of their site that included only the most important features but still looked great and got them where they needed to go in time for their launch!