Answering the job interview question: “Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.”

Answering the job interview question: “Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.”

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No company or role is without challenges. Regardless of what job you are doing, difficult problems, tasks, and situations will undoubtedly come up. Though these challenges can make work miserable, solving these same challenges can also be the reason for making work so rewarding. Challenges and how they are handled and solved is what sets rockstars apart. Answer this question effectively and you will impress any recruiter, so make sure you take time to follow the steps below to give a solid answer.

Variations of this question

?Tell me how you handled a difficult work situation.? ?Describe a difficult challenge, and how you handled it.? ?What have you done in the past when faced with a difficult problem on the job.? ?How have you solved a problem at work??

What the hiring manager is looking for

The hiring manager wants to know how you handled a difficult situation so they can see how you respond to stress, communicate with others and solve problems. They want to be sure that when a problem arises, you will be up for the challenge.

What your goal should be

Your goal is to share a story where you can describe a challenging situation, a clear process you used to solve the situation, and a successful result. By sharing a process or framework that you use to address difficult work problems, it will reassure the hiring manager they can give you any assignment and you will be sure to figure it out!

Preparing for this question

Start by reading the job description and listing the responsibilities and expectations of the job. Then think of the many stories you have had to overcome challenges or difficult situations. Next, pick the story that aligns most to the responsibilities and expectations found in the job description. Make sure your story is a work experience and not a trivial example nor one that will scare the hiring manager away. Also, make sure that the story has a great ending where you were able to clearly overcome the challenge.

Once you have thought of the story, break it up into principles that you used to solve the challenge. This will be the framework you can share with the hiring manager.

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