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HR Interview Questions


HR interview questions that focus on how you react to change are common during most job interviews. For example, how would you respond to this question:

What would you do if the priorities on a major project you were working on were suddenly changed?

Most job seekers make the mistake of assuming the employer always wants to hear how flexible they are. Although flexibility is vital in today's ever changing world, change can also be costly, disruptive...and demoralizing.

This is one of those situational interview questions where the employer may ask you 1 or 2 set-up questions prior to them actually asking you this question. In most cases, these would be yes or no type questions.

If the interviewer didn't set the question up this way, you might be tempted to just tell them what you think they want to hear.

Set-up question examples:

  • Have priorities ever changed on a project you were working on?
  • How often do priorities change on your major projects?
  • Do you find it frustrating when priorities are suddenly changed on a major project?

For all you know, the company is sick and tired of priorities changing all the time, and no one having the backbone to put their foot down about it.

Whenever project priorities change, it costs employers money...and people get upset about it.

The essence of this HR interview question is, HOW would you handle this situation?

A good starting point would be to first answer this question by asking a question. Who is changing the priorities on this project?

  • Your boss?
  • The customer?
  • Engineering?
  • External factors like weather or strikes?
  • A key supplier?

Your answer to this question depends on who is initiating the change and why. Like all situational interview questions, the company really wants to know how you think under pressure, how you analyze a situation, and how you will likely respond to others.

  • Can you be a leader when circumstances call for it?
  • Will you blow a gasket if things are changed?
  • What's your line of logic when someone throws you a curve ball?
  • Is your name Caspar Milquetoast when someone is controlling?
  • Can you suck it up and adapt even if you truly believe in this project and have many hours invested in it?

Your response to this question will also depend on whether you are the manager...and have to deliver bad news to the troops--or you're one of the key team members.



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