Sample Interview Questions and Answers: Tell Me About A Time – Margaret’s Answer
(Who is Margaret? Margaret – Senior Level Marketing Communications Professional seeking position with University)
Terry:Tell me about a time when you may have had a conflict with your boss and how you were able to resolve it.
Margaret: When I worked at XXX, I was talking with my boss about what we needed to put together for the XXX magazine. There was a conflict about whether we should spend the money that I thought we should spend on an excellent designer, why that designer should come from XXX and not from XXX.
I had already done some research and found not a single designer in XXX that I thought was appropriate. I was able to convince her that a particular designer that I had found in XXX was just the right designer for us. We wanted a publication that had a lot of energy and looked modern.
This was all part of our branding and I just felt that it was very important to use a designer of the same caliber that I’d found in XXX. In the end, she agreed with me that we picked just the right designer and we won many design awards over the years, so it worked out successfully.
Terry: Was it a serious conflict? I mean it sounds like there was a difference as to whether and how. Are you saying this was actually a real conflict?
Margaret: No, it depends on what you mean by real conflict. It was a decision that we were at-odds about and it took me a while to convince her. But no, I wouldn’t say it was a real conflict.
Terry: How did you go about convincing her? What did you actually do in those terms? It sounds like you were at-odds initially on this, so how did you actually convince her?
Margaret: I showed her the work of the designer that I’d found in XXX and showed her the work of the designer in XXX. I said that even though I would have to take some trips to XXX it was worth the extra effort. A lot of it was just showing her the visual proof that the designer in XXX was the best designer for us to use.
Terry: Tell me about a time, maybe, where you were working in a team environment and there was a disagreement within the team as to how something should be done or how you should proceed.
Margaret: That’s a good question. I cannot think of anything off the top of my head, but I’ll try. Gosh, I can’t think of anything. I honestly can’t think of anything. Every time I’ve worked in a team there hasn’t been any kind of difference of opinion that I can think of, I’m sorry.
Terry: I wish I had worked in the places that you’ve worked, because I don’t know of any team where there weren’t, in fact, some. Again, not that people were impolite about it, but people have their own point of view and their own way of seeing things. You’re saying that you can’t remember any situations where people just thought things should be different?
Margaret: I really can’t think of anything. A lot of the projects that I worked on I did pretty much by myself. I did the Annual Report at the XXX by myself until, after a while, it became clear that when I started doing more and more publications and direct mail pieces I couldn’t do it all. I was doing a magazine by myself, an annual report by myself and the media relations, as well, by myself.
What I mean by, by myself, I wrote them all, every word, except, on occasion, I would hire a freelance writer to write one of the articles, but I wrote all the rest of the magazines, the annual reports and handled everything on the art direction side and even went on the photo shoots.
Now when that responsibility was turned over to one of my team members and then she was in charge and I was part of the team, everything went very smoothly. We didn’t have any differences of opinion that were anything serious.
The only thing I can think of is when we were doing that Annual Report and she was in charge, we had a difference of opinion on which design to choose out of several designs.
But that’s resolved pretty easily. It’s the sort of thing where one person will say oh, well I really like this one, the other one will say I really like that one and then the designer would ask why we liked one design over another. We ended up just saying which design we liked and why and then it was kind of majority ruled, so you can’t say it was any kind of difference of opinion that was a problem.
Margaret: Honestly, that is the only thing I can think of out of all of those years of working in teams. Terry, the only reason I’m telling you that I don’t think I can think of anything is because I did so much by myself. I didn’t work with teams a lot.
Terry: So you’re more an individual performer and the role that you’re going for in terms of this specific organization is also an individual performer role?
Margaret: No, it’s not. I guess it’s a problem that I can’t think of any team-oriented examples.
Terry: That’s all right, we’ll just keep moving on. Today we’re laying the basic groundwork for where you’re at now in terms of your interviewing skills.
Here’s how I would rate this answer . . .
Q7. Tell me about a time when you . . . – MARGARET QUICK RATING – D
Believe you might be able to come up with better conflict example,. If you stick with the one you did here, need to expand in the middle on what you did.
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