This question is usually asked so that the recruiter can learn how you handle stress and see what you deem as a challenge. This is important — you may be faced with similar challenges once you get the job. Always have an example in mind that will give you an opportunity to tell your interviewer about your skills in handling problems.
The first step is picking a challenge to talk about. Make sure that it is something worth sharing. Don’t use simple challenges that people deal with on a day-to-day basis. Choose something that will really make you stand out.
When giving your answer, make sure that the interviewer understands what you’re saying and that all the main points are explained clearly. Discuss the things you did to handle the problem and why you took those actions. (Make sure to keep your answer brief and to-the-point to avoid boring the interviewer.)
Here are some tips to help you with your answer:
- If you’re just starting your career, your challenges may involve something personal in nature. Though it’s better to cite work-related examples, don’t hesitate to talk about challenges you’ve encountered in school, organizations, or in your life to-date. Just make sure these experiences help illustrate how well you handle challenges.
- Avoid talking about challenges that could put you in a bad light. Even if you have overcome the challenge(s) in question, it could still speak negatively of you and could leave a weakened impression. Wherever you can, choose an experience that will highlight your skills.
- Explain the actions you had to take in order to win the challenge. Did you make contributions that helped solve the problem successfully? Did you take on the challenge with a positive attitude?
Here are some example responses:
- “I found a flaw in the work of one of the senior members of the company, which could have been costly once overlooked. I approached him and called the error to his attention before it affected the final results.”
- “I believe that there has been a lack of proper funding for the specific program that the company is trying to implement. To help overcome some of the budget’s limitations, I have a lot of creative ideas that could help, and improve the system.”
- “I always welcome challenges — they are a part of any job. Facing them head-on is the best way to overcome them and avoid costly mistakes.”