More survey results: Worst interview questions

My ‘Worst interview questions’ survey has identified some more challenging questions. Here’s some suggestions for responding to them.

Ability to work a rotating shift over 7 days?

Provide a statement confirming that you are willing and able to work a rotating shift.

Refer to past experience of working a rotating shift.

Provide reasons why working a rotating shift would suit you.

How to take initiative in your work?

Know what it means to take initiative. It means taking action without having to be told or given direction, thinking for yourself, making decisions without reference to your boss. You need to have some confidence to do this and to know the boundaries for making decisions.

How you take initiative may be about working out with your boss what your responsibilities are, what their expectations are about making decisions and seeking their guidance.

Think of an example where you have taken initiative. You may have noticed a pattern of errors and worked out how to fix it to stop it recurring. You may have been asked a question by a customer and sought the answer independently of going to your boss. You may have been faced with a situation that was just outside what procedures told you and you made a decision based on common sense. Then go through the example using the SAR structure:

Situation: describe the context of the example, why you see this as an example of initiative

Action: outline what your role was, what steps you took

Result: tell what the result was. A positive result would be desirable!

How to handle a difficult customer? Give an example?

Clarify what ‘difficult’ means? In the context of the job does it mean emotional behaviour, such as angry, upset? Does it mean particular situations, such as returning goods to ask for a refund, complaints?

Think of an example that either matches this context or is similar and structure your response around:

Situation: describe the context of the example.

Action: outline what your role was, what steps you took to handle the situation.

Result: tell what the result was in terms of fixing the problem, changing the behaviour, dealing with the emotion professionally.

You might also want to add what you learnt from this situation.

Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist® specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.