Describe A Difficult Situation And How you Handled?

While in an interview the Hiring Manager may ask you about your previous work experiences and may even try to understand your way of work and how you react to certain situations by asking certain questions and one of them being “Describe a difficult situation and how did you handle it ?” Understanding and answering this question with steady honesty would leave a good remark on the hiring team. With this article, we will guide you to prepare yourself for the question asked in interviews “Describe a difficult situation and how you handled it?” with a set of examples. 

Describe A Difficult Situation And How you Handled?

Reason why the Hiring Team asks this question and Why is it important? 

The Hiring Team would want to hire the employees who are honest and who are sincere towards handling the uncertain situations that they come across during their professional journey. By trying to unlock your past difficult situations the interviewer may try to root your behaviour and your presence of mind. They even try to understand your tactics and strategies that you use to cope with the situations and especially how you communicate with the staff regarding the situations. 

Other ways in which Hiring Team can ask the same question

The hiring team asks the same question sometimes but it’s way may be a little different than being straightforward. There can be many reasons for spinning the question for you but one of them is to confuse you and test you. Given below are the examples of alternate questions that the Hiring Team puts infront of you, 

  • Tell us about the difficult situations that you faced in the past. 
  • Can you recall some situations where you had to make tough decisions ?
  • Tell us about one difficult situation that you faced in your past work life and how did you handle it? 
  • Give us an example of your presence of mind in your work life. 

Apply “STAR” to your response 

From the above details we know why and how the questions are spun and kept infront of you but we still are figuring out how to deal and respond to the question. 

Let us introduce you to the “STAR” strategy while answering this question and this is the most simple format so you won’t panic and fumble with your response infront of the team. 

“STAR” is an abbreviation, where “S” stands for “Situation” , “T” stands for “Tasks” , “A” stands for “Approach” and “R” stands for “Result”. Below we will discuss in detail about when and how to apply the format. 

Situation – Start with replying to the question with explaining the situation and circumstances that happened. Explain the context and be fluent with the series of events that took place. Do mention the background details and important information, for example the place, the work that you were on etc. Make sure there’s a clear outline of the situation by you to them. 

● Task – Once you give the team a clear context of the situation, your next step should be to make them understand the task or the work that you were given. More about the level of difficulty and make a statement stating your observation to it. 

● Approach – Your next step is to present yourself at this point. Here, you have to make sure you do not fumble and state clear facts about the actions you performed to make sure the situation gets under control. Here is the golden chance that you mark your impression on the hiring team and TRY NOT to be overconfident. 

● Result – Here is when you prove your actions being taken supervising the difficult situation and how your behaviour of approach and presence of mind helped you and your company through the tough situations.

Suggestions for answering the question 

● Do not try to sound oversmart and overhyped 

● Use the examples that happened in real life 

● Focus on the positive result 

● Do not give an example where the mistake was yours 

● Focus on your problem solving and communication skills 

Sample Answers to “Describe a difficult situation and how you handled it”?

● “ During the period of time of me working for a banking company, I was appointed as a personal assistant to a Chartered Accountant. After working for a while with him and understanding his working patterns I understood that he depends on me even for his part of the work that included Auditing and computation of taxes, there always were some unrecorded statements and he couldn’t figure it out either, which is why our region of bank started to face the issues. I was still a fresher and I was asked to do whatever he said but later I realised that I had more knowledge of taxes and audits than of him, and that he lacked the capabilities of guidance and leadership. So, after observing him for a few more days, I kept the issue infront of the Bank Manager and later, a new Chartered Accountant was hired.” 

● “ I was working for this new blogging and publishing company who was still trying to settle in the market. I joined and just in a few days they started to pressurise me for more great contents, themes and topics. I did all the things that I could to gain maximum audience attention on various platforms. But the situation was still the same. So, they came up with a new idea of advertising their contents on instagram, and I already knew the consequences: the cost will be higher but the audience’s attention will be less. So I tried to make a small approach by making an advertisement that worked as publicity and NOT ADVERTISEMENT. They soon realised that the quality audience matters more than the quantity audience.”

Describe A Difficult Situation And How you Handled?

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