How To Answer “Tell Me About a Time You Took Action To Resolve a Problem” (2022)

Do you have an upcoming job interview? Make sure you know how to answer these interview requests: “Tell me about a time you took action to resolve a problem“, “Describe a situation where you saw a difficult problem and took steps to fix it” or Tell me about a time you handled a challenging situation”. Down below you’ll find a perfect example answer and additional interview tips.

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During a job interview, an interviewee might stumble on some problem-solving questions. These questions reveal information on a candidate’s ability to recognize and analyze problems and the way he/she responds to challenging situations. Use theΒ CARL techniqueΒ to structure your answer:

Example Answer

Context: “When I was working as a [Job title] at [Store XYZ], I had a customer who came in to pick up a pair of jeans he reserved by phone earlier that day. I first checked the inventory management system, but the item was displayed as ‘out of stock’. I then asked my colleague who explained that the item had accidentally been put back on the shelf and was purchased by another customer.

Action: Once I heard about the mistake, I took a couple of seconds to think about a suitable solution. I then went back in store, calmly explained the situation and clearly communicated the next steps for an appropriate solution. I called one of our other stores and asked the branch manager to set aside the same article. After closing time, I picked up the order and brought it to the customer’s home address.

Result: As a result, the jeans were delivered, free of charge, on the same day. A month later, I noticed that this customer left a 5-star Google review and mentioned how much he appreciated the service.

Learning: What I’ve learned from this experience is to be upfront and address the customer’s concern adequately. From that point on, I had the opportunity to redress the situation.”

Example Answer (No Experience)

β€œIn my 3rd year at [University XYZ], I collaborated with a 5-person team to write a business plan. Each member was assigned to complete approximately 20% of the report which had to be uploaded on dropbox three days before the final deadline.

One week prior, I noticed a significant error in the report and traced it back to the responsible group member. Normally, I’d encourage a team member to take responsibility for his or her actions, but in this case there was little time left and 1/5th of the report had to be redone.Β 

I discussed the situation, how it came about, and how I can provide support to make sure we’d tackle the challenge together. As a result, we worked overnight for three days straight and managed to upload the documents just in time.”

Interview Question Tips

  • Don’t complain, blame or talk negatively about your former employers or colleagues
  • Do provide an example that shows your ability to handle and resolve unexpected or challenging work situations