Give Me an Example of When a Client Expected One Thing and You Delivered Another. How Did You Deal With the Situation?

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Many decades ago- the questions asked during job interviews tended toward the factual. Interviewers asked about your responsibilities at previous jobs and your GPA. Nowadays- behavioral interview questions have become a key part of the interviewing process. Your past behavior is a good indicator of your future behavior- so interviewers use these questions to get an idea of how they can expect you to behave if they hire you. Many of the questions discuss conflict in one form or another. For example- you could be asked- “Give me an example of when a client expected one thing and you delivered another. How did you deal with the situation?” Another way to phrase the question is- “Talk about a situation in which you and a client miscommunicated about expectations. How bad was the conflict- and what steps did you take to resolve it?”

Behavioral questions are not going away- and although they seem to be thorny- they are actually not. With the STAR method- answering them becomes relatively straightforward. The STAR pattern is easy to remember during interviews- so you can avoid embarrassing- long-term silences. Start your preparation with the tips below to put yourself in great shape as you head into interviews.

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How to Answer the ‘Give Me an Example of When a Client Expected One Thing and You Delivered Another. How Did You Deal With the Situation?’ Behavioral Interview Question

Use the STAR Method. STAR is your best friend when it comes to behavioral interview questions. It sets a pattern that is easy to memorize- so no matter how stressful your interview moment is- you can use STAR to put together a cognizant answer. STAR also makes it easy to prepare for your interviews. In a nutshell- it’s like this: “ST” (situation or task)- “A” (action you took) and “R” (results achieved). The question in this case lends itself to the first two parts of STAR but leaves out the “R” part. Definitely address it; hiring managers and interviewers are eager to find out what happened after the actions you took.

Show Both Sides of the Issue. Businesses find few things more frustrating than employees who see only their own side. As you discuss your situation- describe how your behaviors may have contributed to the problem. For instance- if the client is expecting a certain kind of app- did you forget to ask for examples of similar apps the client likes? Talk about how your recognition of your mistakes strengthened you and the business as a whole; perhaps your business began to include a field on client intake forms that asks for similar apps (or blogs or products).

Showcase Your Skills in Several Areas. This question covers many areas such as conflict resolution- communication and stress management. Show how you shine in these areas- for example- remaining calm under pressure and taking the time to understand how the problem occurred.

Do Not Bypass the Question: Is it possible that you have always delivered to client expectations? If you think the answer is yes- cast your net wider. Review your resume- going down your list of jobs. If you answer that such a situation has never happened to you- you risk coming off as a liar- know-it-all or a braggart. If the answer actually is yes- talk about how that is. For example- did you watch others make common mistakes that you learned from and implemented in your own processes? Communicate your answers in a humble manner- but remember it is highly unlikely that you have met client expectations 100 percent of the time. In fact- you could be painting yourself as stubborn and as a bad communicator if you insist that you have always met client expectations.

Sample ‘Give Me an Example of When a Client Expected One Thing and You Delivered Another. How Did You Deal With the Situation?’ STAR Interview Answer

I was contracted to write five blog posts on housecleaning per week. The client provided the blog titles- and through intake forms- I received information such as word count and whether to use first- second or third person. For the first couple of months- each blog post followed the exact same format- and I was surprised one day when the client contacted me to say that I had gone about 400 words short on word count and had gotten the tone of the post wrong. I reviewed the intake form and realized that I had simply assumed the blog post would be the same as all of the others preceding it. I apologized and gave the client two blog posts’ worth of free work. I also developed a template that does not let me submit work until word count has been achieved; previously- I had been using Microsoft Word without templates. Finally- I made a point to always review client instructions- no matter what. The housekeeping client appreciated my prompt attention to the matter and continues to work exclusively with me.

Behavioral interview questions are a fact of modern job interview life. Use the STAR method to structure your answers- and you are in good shape.

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