You want the job. The employer wants to know if you can handle it.
Interviews are stressful. They get you worried about this one question that comes up again and again – “Tell me about a time when you were faced with a challenging situation”.
Learn more about how our STAR interview answer examples can help you crack the tricky question and make an impression your potential employer will never forget.
The client had been having trouble getting the servers to run smoothly
S - I was working as a project manager for a software company, and we were working on a new product launch. The client had been having trouble getting the servers to run smoothly.
T - Our team was tasked with finding out what the problem was and fixing it. The server kept crashing every hour or so, which meant that we would have to restart it every time. This was causing delays in our work and making us look bad to our client.
A - I took charge of the situation by making sure that everyone knew what their roles were and how they needed to contribute towards solving the problem. I made sure that everyone was clear about what tasks they should be doing so that we could get them done quickly. Then I went through each task one by one until we had solved the problem completely.
R - We were able to solve the problem within two days which allowed us to finish our work on time and impress our client with how efficient we are at getting things done!
Increasing product sales by 20% during the next quarter
S - When I was working as a product manager at [company name], I was faced with the challenge of increasing product sales by 20% during the next quarter.
T - Increasing product sales by 20% during the next quarter, was not only a difficult goal, but it would also require me to convince my boss that our current strategy wasn't working.
A - To solve this problem, I first analyzed our competitor's strategies and tried to identify what they were doing differently from us. After some research, I found out that they had been focusing on targeting small businesses instead of large businesses like ours.
R - Since we didn't have enough resources to hire a new team or build new products right away, I decided to work with our existing resources, which included hiring freelance writers and developing an online training course for our sales team on how to sell more efficiently. The result was an increase in sales by 20% within three months!
We were tasked with making sure that the app could handle different types of orders
S - I was a junior member of a team of developers working on an application that would automate the ordering process for a fast food chain.
T - We were tasked with making sure that the app could handle different types of orders, so we had to create a mock-up of every possible order type and then test them all out.
A - I volunteered to be the person responsible for testing the vegetarian options. The vegetarian options were much more complicated than they needed to be, and required several different steps before the customer could place their order. I ended up creating a flowchart that showed how all these steps led into one another, which not only helped us identify where we needed to make changes but also made it very easy for us to explain in detail what kind of changes needed to be made.
R - The result was that we were able to fix most of our errors before we even started writing code, which saved us time and money down the line!
My task was to manage social media accounts for both companies
S - When I was working as an intern at [company name], I was faced with a challenging situation. The company had just been acquired by [company name] and there were many employees who were unhappy about it. The company was facing internal turmoil, and morale was low.
T - As the newest employee at the time, my task was to manage social media accounts for both companies so that they could interact with each other more frequently and effectively.
A - In order to fulfil my duties as an intern, I created a spreadsheet to track all of our posts on Facebook and Twitter so that we could measure engagement levels and make sure our followers were still engaged in what we were posting about. Additionally, I started working with a fellow intern on creating short videos on Instagram stories to introduce our new company culture to the users who followed us there.
R - The results of these actions were very positive: The number of followers increased after we began doing this work together (it had been decreasing before), which made me feel like I had done something good for both companies!
We were responsible for developing the app
S - I was working as a manager for a small team of developers. My team was responsible for developing the app that customers would use to select their meals from the menu at our restaurant. The app had to be ready by the time we opened our doors in order to ensure that there were no hiccups or issues during the grand opening of our restaurant.
T - As a manager, my task was to make sure that my team completed their work on time and on budget. They were also responsible for testing their work when they were finished so that it would work flawlessly when it was used by customers.
A - I made sure that my team was organized and productive through daily check-ins and weekly meetings where we discussed how things were going with their respective projects. We also held daily stand-up meetings where everyone could discuss what they had done since the last meeting and what they planned on doing next. As part of these meetings, I provided feedback on how well each member's tasks were progressing towards completion.
R - Our app was ready before the grand opening of our restaurant and it worked flawlessly when it was first used by customers!
The team was tasked with creating a new feature
S - When I first started working at [company name], the team was tasked with creating a new feature that would make it easier for customers to find and purchase items. The goal was to have it ready by the end of the week, but with only 3 days left, we still had not come up with any ideas or solutions.
T - I gathered my team together and asked them what they thought could be done to make it easier for customers to find what they wanted, and then we brainstormed for about an hour until we came up with a solid plan.
A - We split up into two groups: one group worked on implementing our ideas into our existing product while the second group worked on coming up with additional features that could be added later on down the line once we had more time and resources available.
R - By working together as a team (and not giving up!), we were able to create something that made life easier for both our customers and ourselves!
We were asked to create a brand new website from scratch
S - I was working on a project with a team, and we were asked to create a brand-new website from scratch. We had four weeks to do it and I was the only designer on the team, so I had to design everything myself and make sure all of my teammates were on board with my vision.
T - My task was to design the entire site, including all graphics and social media graphics for all platforms.
A - To fulfil this task, I created mood boards and colour palettes that everyone could agree on as well as individual wireframes for each page of the site. Then, I worked with developers to create prototypes that they could play around with while they were building out pages.
R - The project was completed within four weeks and everyone on the team agreed that it was an improvement over our previous website
The task was to get my team members to focus on one project
S - When I was a manager at [company name], I had a situation where my team members were struggling to get their work done. They were working on multiple projects and it was taking them much longer than it should have to complete any one project.
T - The task was to get my team members to focus on one project at a time and finish that before moving on to another project. This would give them more time to do their work, but also allow us to deliver higher quality work on time.
A - I spoke with my team members about how we could solve this problem together, and came up with the idea of giving each team member an hourly goal for each project they were working on. The hourly plan would be based on the average amount of time it took someone in my company to complete similar work so that everyone knew what they needed to achieve their goals by working hard every day. We created a spreadsheet that showed each person's current progress as well as what they needed to do every day in order to meet their target goal by the deadline (which was written down next to each person's name).
R - This way everyone knew exactly what they needed to do every day so there wouldn't be any confusion or questions about who was doing what when--it was all laid out clearly on paper
We were tasked with creating an online store
S - I was working as a junior designer at [company name] and we were tasked with creating an online store that would sell all of the products from our physical location, but also provide a more convenient way for customers to shop.
T - The task was difficult because we didn't have much experience with web design, but I knew that if we could make it work, it would save our company time and money.
A - I went above and beyond my duties by building out the website myself using HTML and CSS, which allowed me to do everything from creating the layout to coding the buttons. I didn't have any prior experience with this type of coding, but I had been learning as much as possible on my own time so that when something like this came along, I was ready!
R - The result was amazing! The website launched on time and under budget and has been performing better than expected since its launch day. It's been so successful that we've received numerous awards for our work on this project!