Sample Interview Questions and Answers: Tell Me About A Time – Denise’s Answer
(Who is Denise? Denise – Global Integrated Marketing Executive seeking Director of Strategy position)
Terry: Tell me about a specific time when you – oh let’s say, you made a mistake in business.
Denise: The time that I think comes to mind is my first assignment at XXX. I was 18 months into a pilot program where XXX or my executive team has invested significantly in a new channel business opportunity that they cast me to lead.
While I had the support of the executive team, unfortunately within the ranks of my peer group there was a lot of pushback. If you know the XXX culture, that’s not uncommon.
Unfortunately sometimes depending on your perspective it’s encouraged where they sort of put two trains on separate tracks and whichever one is left standing is the train and then they figure out how to rebuild it later.
I was experiencing enormous success and traction in terms of organizing something that had previously failed about three years in a row, and unfortunately, one of the things it created is this territorial battle.
I had an opportunity to band-aid that situation and work on it to turn it around. The mistake I made is that I focused more on the business result after having spent about 18 months working on the pilot. I had a strong sense of the revenue potential globally and I knew there was significant opportunity in Europe, Asia and the U.S. I also believe it had the potential to grow double digits.
The field team or the account team in the U.S. was probably the most combative. What I did, the mistake that I made is that I forced my opinion around what I thought the business results should be rather than allowing it to come from the ground up, even though I knew there was resistance from the ground up.
Even though globally we hit our revenue goals and the US team did finally make their numbers, they struggled and it created morale issues and there was fallout as a result of it.
I think in hindsight going back I had the opportunity to probably bring them along a lot slower and probably should have rather than trying to make them do the right thing.
Did that make sense?
Terry: Yes. I believe that my experience has certainly been that people support what they help create. It sounds like you were in a situation where you didn’t allow them the opportunity to do much of that so therefore it was sort of imposed on them.
Denise: It wasn’t so much my decision to allow them. It was a management or executive level initiative, but I think I could’ve been a hero in the situation by giving them an olive branch and saying, even though I know your pushback is not legitimate, you’re not where we need you to be.
Therefore, I’m going to give you an olive branch and give you a lower quota so you can come along and get to where the rest of us are. Instead what I did is I took the other tack, which is I know the business is there so we’re going to give you a double-digit quota because I know you can do it.
They did do it, but again it was the morale and the fallout around not getting the opportunity to set the quota themselves I guess.
Here’s how I would rate this answer . . .
Q7. Tell me about a time when you . . . – DENISE QUICK RATING – F
Was long and confusing, suggest instead to follow story format, what was the situation, what did you do, and how did it end. Might need to pick simpler incident to talk about.
This Guide will help you with samples and complete how to answer training for even more questions you face in your job interviews.
Seen on TV nationally as a Career Strategist and Interview Expert on NBC, Fox News, heard on radio stations across country, contributed to or been profiled in print media including The Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune.