- Be sure to make clear what your role was in the success or accomplishment you describe. You will often be asked about your experiences working as part of a team. Other times, you will use team projects as examples even when the question isn’t directly about teamwork. In both cases, you’ll be tempted to credit the team for the accomplishment. After all, if you were in the presence of the other team members, you wouldn’t want to hog all the credit for yourself. But your team members won’t be with you in the interview, so you need to toot your own horn and spotlight the contribution you made to the team’s success. For example, this story tells of a team accomplishment, but make’s the teller’s leadership role clear:
My company was struggling with scheduling employees, monitoring their time and attendance, as well as tying these elements into payroll. We needed a system, preferably online, that would make these tasks more efficient, save time, and reduce errors. When management decided to go with an outside vendor for the new system, they chose me to head up the project team. We were on a tight, two-month deadline, but I led the team to surpass not only the deadline, but the expected results. Under my guidance, we got the vendor’s system online so successfully that we reduced payroll discrepancies by 25 percent. Since we’ve operationalized it, the company has saved time in scheduling employees and resolving timesheet-related issues; in fact, these processes take half the time they used to. By customizing reports to track labor and benefits allocation, we also cut time spent on reports by a quarter. We did such a great job and made the functions so much more efficient that the vendor recognized us with its Certificate for Management’s Commitment for Successful Implementation and Design Contribution to Improve Efficiencies.
- Wherever possible, quantify your accomplishments and successes. Numbers and percentages always impress employers.
- Many behavioral questions try to get at how you responded to negative situations; you’ll need to have examples of negative experiences ready, but try to choose negative experiences that you made the best of or “ better yet, those that had positive outcomes.