Being resilient means having the ability to successfully deal with failure and having the strength to persevere in difficult situations. Resilient people are often more likely to take risks, are determined and can motivate those around them. In a working environment, these are great skills to have. No wonder then that employers are actively seeking out resilient professionals.
When it comes to job interviews, employers might test candidates’ resilience by asking them about past experiences in which their ability to cope with difficult situations was put to the test. These questions can be tricky to answer, so thorough preparation is key. Here are five example questions and how best to answer them.
1. What is your greatest failure? How did you move on from it?
Besides finding out what you define as a failure, your interviewer will want to see if you can admit to your weaknesses and how you dealt with them. In your answer, present a concrete example of a real failure. Don’t dwell on what went wrong or how you should’ve done things differently, but describe how you dealt with it and what you learnt from it. Show your interviewer that you were able to turn a bad situation into an opportunity to grow and improve.
2. Can you remember a recent stressful situation at work? How did you deal with this?
Your interviewer will be looking to find out what stresses you and how you cope under pressure. Pick an instance where you took positive control of the situation, facing the problem head-on. Talk about some of the coping mechanisms for stress that you employed, and how you ultimately diffused the situation.
3. Have you ever been in a situation where you were close to giving up? How did you overcome this?
Resilience is all about withstanding challenging situations and coming out stronger. Your interviewer will want to hear about an instance where you showed perseverance and tenacity. Whether you talk about a challenging work project or a difficult career change, show that you are able to motivate yourself to push through challenges and come up with innovative solutions.
4. Can you describe a difficult team situation you have been in? How did you react to this?
Another key aspect of being resilient is having the ability to motivate others as much as yourself. An interviewer will want to know if you possess the skills to lead a team to reach its fullest potential, even when the chips are down. You might answer this question by talking about an instance where you saved a group project from the brink by taking charge of the team and effectively delegating tasks, inspiring team members to carry on and get the job done.
5. Have you ever turned a dream into a reality?
This question is all about your willingness to take risks. Especially when it comes to leadership roles, interviewers will want to know if a candidate has the vision to think outside the box and the guts to bring this vision to life. When answering this question, don’t emphasise the outcome but the process. How did you face the challenge? What led you to push through? Your resilience is measured by your determination to go after a certain goal even if the odds aren’t entirely in your favour.
There are a number of ways in which an interviewer might try to gauge your resilience, and being aware of some of the questions they might ask and rehearsing your answers is an important step in your interview prep. When it comes to the instances you refer to, avoid getting too personal. While that 10k you once ran might be a perfect example of your mental and physical stamina, it doesn’t necessarily say anything about how resilient you are in a professional environment.
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