The When have you handled a difficult situation interview question has to be one of the toughest you will come by. In this blog article, we have given you a sample answer to the question so you can gain the highest scores possible.
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First of all, let me give you some tips before we move on to the sample answer for the tough When have you handled a difficult situation interview question!
Tips for answering the When have you handled a difficult situation interview question?
The tougher the situation you had to deal with, the better.
Try to include any of the following in your response:
- A time constraint;
- Someone else’s emotions (anger, sadness, conflict etc.)
- Your ability to adapt and be flexible.
How to structure your response using STAR interview technique
Situation – what was the situation you had to deal with and who was involved?
Task – what task did you have to carry out?
Action – what action did you take and what action did others take?
Result – what was the result following your actions.
PRO TIP: Whenever using the STAR interview technique to respond to interview questions, always make sure the RESULT is positive following your actions. Especiually make sure you use the STAR technique when responding to the When Have You Handled A Difficult Situation interview question!
SAMPLE ANSWER – When Have You Handled A Difficult Situation Interview Question
“Yes, I can. Approximately 3 weeks ago, whilst at work I overheard a particularly disturbing conversation between two work colleagues. One of the work colleagues was being verbally abusive to the other person. There had already been rumours in the office that the two of them did not get on particularly well and now it had come to a head in the canteen during a work break.
Although the situation was none of my business, I was extremely concerned with some of the abusive comments one of my colleagues was making and I felt this was not acceptable as it appeared to be bullying in nature. Any form of bullying in the workplace is not acceptable and I was determined to intervene. My end goal was to seek a resolution to the situation and in order to achieve this, I would need to speak them both in private to seek a way forward.
First of all, I spoke to the person who was on the receiving end of the verbal abuse. I spoke to her in private and calmly told her that I was aware of the comments the other work colleague had been making. She informed me that she was having issues with him as he had been making unwanted comments towards her about her performance at work and that she felt uncomfortable in his company. After gathering the information from her I decided to speak to the man who had been making these comments.
I spoke to him in private and calmly explained that I had overheard his comments in the canteen area and that I was not happy with what I had heard. He reacted angrily to me and told me that it was none of my business and that I should keep my nose out of it. I remained calm, spoke in a soft but assertive manner and told him that his comments were, in fact, bullying in nature, which was against our companies policy. I went on to inform him that these comments were not just unwelcome by the person they were aimed at, but they were also unwelcome by me, too.
As soon as I mentioned this to him, his attitude changed. He told me he was finding work stressful and that he felt his work colleague was not pulling her weight. After listening to his concerns, I explained to him that there was perhaps a better way of resolving this issue and that he should seek to build a better relationship with his work colleague and even offer to help her improve her quality of work, as opposed to making abusive and threatening comments.
He agreed with my suggestion and apologized to me for his behaviour. I thanked him for being reasonable and suggested he should also apologise to his work colleague and get together with her to find a way forward. I also offered at this stage to mediate the meeting between them, to which he agreed. After the mediation meeting, both work colleagues agreed to work together in a more harmonious manner and the man promised never to bully or intimidate his work colleague again. Instead, he offered to support her and help her to improve. I felt that by intervening in this situation I was able to prevent it from deteriorating further and ultimately turned a negative situation into a positive one.”