In interviews, a hiring manager only has a small amount of time to get a feel for your strengths and weaknesses. To accomplish this they may ask questions like “describe a time you took initiative in the workplace” or “what was the last project you headed up and what was its outcome” These questions allow the hiring manager to better understand how you would fit into the role, as well as fitting in as a member of the team.
Points to Emphasize
Your response is the perfect time to describe your leadership skills and your ability to motivate others. While you want your response to be concise, you also want to ensure the hiring manager understands the depth of your skill level.
- Emphasize how you work as a leader, be sure to mention how you listen to others and help formulate ideas.
- When discussing the outcome, specifically mention how pleased the manager and/or customers were.
- Mention the skills that allowed you to successfully lead this project.
- Keep the response positive, and only mention projects where the outcome was favorable.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
In a question like this one, it’s important to stay focused. Remain positive throughout your answer and ensure the hiring manager knows you take leadership responsibilities seriously. Here are a few things to avoid in your response:
- Avoid all negativity.
- Don’t boast or sound overly prideful in your response. You don’t want to appear conceited.
- Don’t provide a lengthy response with unnecessary details.
- Do not include anyone else in your response, especially by name. If you must mention someone, call them a customer, a manager or a fellow coworker.
A sample response to the interview question “what was the last project you headed up and what was its outcome” may be along these lines:
I was recently asked to oversee the design of a new building our company was working on. The project required extensive experience with a software program called Concept Elite, which I had spent many months learning in depth. I was excited to lead this project because of all the hard work I had put into mastering the new software system. I oversaw a team of five designers and instilled in each of them a sense of pride and community in this building.
Together we were able to meet every deadline we encountered, and we even exceeded several deadlines. But the best part of the experience was seeing everyone come together and work as a team. We encountered minor disagreements at times but were able to mediate through them fairly quickly. My manager sent me a letter of praise at the completion of the project for a job well done.