When you get asked about how you responded to an assignment that was too difficult, the interviewer may be trying to learn a number of things. First, they probably are trying to figure out what you consider too difficult. Are you willing to challenge yourself The hiring manager is also trying to ascertain how you respond to a challenge. When you answer this question you will give them insight into your ability to learn from difficult situations. It helps them understand how you will react to difficult situations in the future.
Points to Emphasize
When you answer this question, you want to do it in a way that will show the interviewer that you will fit in well at this company.
- Talk about how going through this difficult assignment has helped you learn and grow.
- Even though it is about something seemingly negative, keep your answers positive.
- Try to incorporate qualities that qualify you for the position you are interviewing for.
- Give specific examples.
Give specific examples that show the hiring manger how you rise to challenges.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Sometimes these questions lead to pitfalls. Try to keep away from the following mistakes:
- Don’t get defensive. Talking about something you couldn’t do in the past might make you want to defend yourself, but the interviewer isn’t trying to get personal, so you shouldn’t either.
- Do not be tempted to say that you have never been in a situation that you couldn’t handle. That just comes off as cocky.
- Avoid giving examples that make you seem indecisive.
- Try not to put others down in your examples.
Keep your answer honest and positive to show the interviewer your best side.
Here is what a good answer might look like for this question:
The first time I had to fire somebody was most the difficult thing I have ever done in my career. The economy was in a bad spot, so we had to fire a few people for the benefit of the company. I had to fire one person from my department. I talked with my supervisor and a few other supervisors to get some advice. They really helped me see that sometimes what was best for the company was letting people go. I did a lot of research to figure out what was best. Once I did it, I knew there wasn’t a lot that I couldn’t do. It was really a growing experience for me as a manager.
Remember to keep your answer positive, specific and honest to provide the interviewer with the best possible answer.