to ask you the answer to this interview question?(22 Posts)
...it's been bugging me and bugging me, and I can't think of a good answer for it. I didn't get the job in the end, and can't help thinking it's because I didn't answer the question right.
Question is: "What would you do if someone wouldn't do something you'd asked them to?"
My answer would be along the lines of discussing what their objections are, listening to if they were reasonable. Taking advise from my line manager.
But it depends on what the job is as well I suppose!
What did you answer?
I guess I would try and find out why? Were they unable to do it? Didn't know how to? Didn't have time? Or just didn't feel like it? Surely how you deal with them totally depends on the "why"!
What did you answer?
I think the answer to that question always starts with asking them why and trying to understand their viewpoint. We tend to ask it and say in the preamble we're looking for an example of when you have used influence (as opposed to power/authority).
Is the assumption you're the manager and they're part of your team? It depends on their track record and personality. But I would most likely take them to one side and ask why the refusal then take it from there. Depends what the task is as well. It may be they're swamped and you've asked too much, or they're a lazy arse.
Have you asked for interview feedback?
I think that would depend on the job you were applying for.
A high level managerial role, I would expect along the lines of how you would manage the person, eventual sanctions, etc.
Other roles could depend from discussing the issue with a manager, documenting incidences.
In all cases, it would be where you would provide evidence from previous employment of history: "In my role a Xxxxxxx, I faced this issue with an employee in the role of xxxxxxx. I managed the situation by............ I was able to use the skills I learnt in Xxxxxxx training course in order to effectively etc etc etc. "
I'm a teacher, but the question was about colleagues, not children (there are some management aspects to the role).
I said I would see if they were having trouble with what I'd asked them to do, try to make it easier for them to do what I'd asked, but ultimately, if I had to, I'd go over both our heads...
The feedback they sent was that the kids really loved the lesson I'd taught and that they'd enjoyed meeting me...
I got it really wrong, didn't I...
It sounds like they want to see what your problem solving and negotiation skills are like. So I'd try to give an answer that demonstrates that, something along the lines of...
Finding out why, was it a misunderstanding which can be quickly corrected through an explanation? If not, what are the alternative reasons for the person not doing it? (mention a few possibilities to show you can put yourself in another person's shoes).
Then focus the rest of your answer on finding a solution. If it's time, talk about how you could problem solve this with the person involved. If they are refusing, what would your next steps be? If it's lack of understanding, what could you do to address this? (these answers will depend on what's relevant to the job/workplace you're being interviewed for).
Once you've tried to address it as much as you can within the scope of your role, then indicate you would flag the issue up to your line manager.
I'd make sure that what I was asking them to do was reasonable/within their skillset etc. As long as it was I'd ask them (in a polite and non confrontational way) why they wouldn't follow the directions.
If they had a valid reason (hadn't understood the request/were worried about doing it etc) I'd address these issues.
If they were refusing with no reason other than "not wanting to" and assuming it was something not outside of their remit I'd explain that the task was part of their job, and they were required to carry it out. Dependant of the outcome of that discussion (and the importance of the task they were being asked to do) there might be a need for firmer action/evaluation/disciplinary etc
I don't that you were flat out wrong - you may just have been up against someone with better interview technique who said something like Scribbler suggested. There's quite a difference between talking about procedures for escalating something and just going over someone's head.
lily "but ultimately, if I had to, I'd go over both our heads... "
I suspect your issue was introducing that too early. I can imagine saying you'd do that only as an absolute last resort.
Are you more expensive than the other candidates? With budgets as they are and all things being equal I'm sure that must sway decisions. Also, sometimes your face / ethos just doesn't 'fit'. As an example, a temporary member of our staff asked for interview feedback because she was astonished that she didn't get the job as she was better qualified etc. She fretted about her answer to an interview question but the Head told her straight that they wanted someone younger who they could mould.
You probably didn't get it 'wrong' as such, you probably didn't offer as many solutions as another candidate. I often ask a question like this at interview and I'm looking for problem-solving (so a range of ideas to potentially address the issue), good people skills, flexibility, and knowing how much to address the issue on their own VS when it's appropriate to escalate.
No, I'm quite cheap, comparatively...
Thank you for all of your answers, though. It has been really winding me up!!
It seems to me that asking a question designed to find out how you handle conflict in the workplace is not only reasonable, but very good policy from a business perspective.
Schools have policies for everything. I would say that I would follow school policy.
Look at it this way OP - one of your competitors is now out of the job market and you have more interview practice.
Before an interview I go through the person spec and JD and think of as many concrete examples as I can of the times I've demonstrated what they're looking for. They need to know that yes, you can do this stuff.
You could ask for feedback relating to the questions?
Your answer wasn't well wrong or terrible or anything so I would try to shake it off now. Shake off the specific question that is. It's unlikely that one question cost you a job offer, but practising shaping your answers into the format that draws on examples demonstrating your experience and competency, as above, will be a more positive use of your time and mental energy. (I'd say that most people find job hunting stressful, especially if under time constraints.)
The feedback you did get was vague, but positive, so allow yourself to be buoyed by the success you did achieve - good lesson plan, as well as winning over and gaining the approval of a whole classroom full of unknown children. A lot of people find public speaking difficult, whereas you are accomplished at it. You can be proud of yourself for this.
If want to know why they couldn't/wouldn't and see what I could do to manage the situation.
If it was because they couldn't due to lack of training - organise training (if possible) or train them myself (if possible). Or if because of workload id look to see whether anything could be delegated etc.
If it's because they just won't do it the. I'd be wanting to know why.
I would have answered it like this
Find out why they hadn't carried out my request and ask if they needed any support or training to carry it out and document this conversation
Give them a deadline to complete the request and review progress at this deadline
Follow our procedure for performance management which would be invitation to a capability hearing
I would also be reflecting on my management skills to make sure I wasn't put in the same situation again
I got asked a similar question in an interview for a TLR. Didn't get it. In feedback, they said they were looking for more specifics - so, finding out what the specific issue is, then breaking down the task into achievable pieces, then imposing mini deadlines to each stage. Plus reference to the particular HR/personal targets system we used.
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