5 Real-Life Examples "How do you tackle difficulties when they arise?" in an Interview
Interviewers often ask this question in job interviews because they want to know your approach to fixing problems.
Let's take a look at 5 real-life examples of how people answered this question and why their answers impressed the hiring managers.
Choose two or three strengths that you’d like to demonstrate – for example, initiative, strategic thinking, or interpersonal skills – and talk about how you’ve used them to overcome a difficulty that you’ve faced during your career.
In each case, describe:
- The Situation surrounding the difficulty.
- The Task that you were attempting to accomplish.
- The Actions that you took using the strength that you want to highlight.
- The positive results that you achieved.
Taking a step back and looking at the big picture
I like to take a step back and look at the big picture, which has helped me overcome a lot of difficulties.
For example, I once worked for a company that was going through some financial difficulties. I noticed that it was having trouble hiring new talent because there were so many other companies offering higher salaries in a more stable industry.
Instead of worrying about how much our company could afford to pay someone, I suggested that we offer them training opportunities and a chance to learn from people who had been in their position before.
This not only saved us money but also got us some really great talent!
Thinking about the next step, the next project, and how to best achieve goals
I would say that I am a very strategic thinker. I'm always thinking about the next step, the next project, and how to best achieve my goals in a way that is most efficient.
This strength has been a huge help when it comes to dealing with difficulties in the workplace.
For example, when I was working for [company name], we were faced with a difficult decision: should we expand into Europe or Asia?
At first glance, both options seemed equally viable—but there were a lot of factors involved that made it impossible to determine which option would be the most profitable for our company. For example, Europe had less competition than Asia did—but on the other hand, Asia had enormous potential for growth.
After much consideration and discussion with my colleagues, we decided that expanding into both regions was our best bet. In order to do this as efficiently as possible, we divided up tasks amongst ourselves so that everyone could focus on their strengths while also providing support where needed (for example, one person would take care of all legal issues involved with expanding into each region).
This allowed us to get things done faster than if we'd tried tackling everything ourselves, and allowed us all to feel like part of something bigger than ourselves—which is something I love about working
Struggling to meet deadlines and making monthly sales quota
As a team leader, I've usually been able to work well with others.
When I initially joined the team, we were struggling to meet deadlines and make our monthly sales quota.
I was able to step up as a leader and help the rest of the team come together to create a plan for increasing sales.
The plan that we came up with worked so well that we were able to surpass our sales goals within three months.
Different perspectives could be merged to accomplish goals
I was working on a project with a colleague who had some strong opinions about how the project should be handled. After a few weeks, we realized that our perspectives were too far apart and decided to split up and work on separate parts of the project. However, we needed to communicate regularly about each other's progress.
At first, it was difficult for me to understand why she didn't agree with me or why her opinions were so different from mine, but after talking through it with her over several meetings, I was able to better understand where she was coming from and how our differing perspectives could actually work together to accomplish our goals.
Through this process, I learned that having different perspectives is not necessarily a bad thing—in fact, it can often lead to better solutions than if you are trying to force yourself into someone else's mold.
The best way to tackle a difficulty is to take it head-on
I’ve always thought that the best way to tackle a difficulty is to take it head-on.
I like to think of it as a puzzle: if you can break down the problem into smaller pieces and focus on each piece separately, you can quickly build up a solution.
For example, at one job I had to work with a team of people who were all very different from me.
We had a lot of trouble communicating because everyone had different ideas about how things should be done, but after a few months we figured out how to talk through our differences and make decisions together.