How to Respond to “Difficult Situation” Questions in Your Interview

Find meaning at work and advance in your career.

Adversity appears in some form in all jobs. A person’s ability to handle difficult or confrontational situations is important to success in any position. During your interviews, it is likely you will receive some type of question about how you deal with challenges. Preparing an effective response in advance could have a significant impact in landing the job you want.

Question Examples

An interviewer may simply ask, “How do you handle adversity?” Or they may be less direct and ask an alternative behavioral question, “Can you describe a time when you handled a difficult situation at work?” A few other possibilities:

  • “Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?”
  • “Can you describe a challenge you have faced? What did you do to overcome it?”
  • “Can you give an example of a time you successfully dealt with…

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