Recall a Time When you Were Assigned What You Considered to Be a Complex Project. Specifically- What Steps Did You Take to Prepare for and Finish the Project? Were You Happy with the Outcome? What One Step Would You Have Done Differently If Given the Chance?

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You can expect to be asked a variety of different formats of interview questions when you go into a job interview. Some are more traditional- while others are of a behavioral nature- like ‘Recall a time when you were assigned what you considered to be a complex project. Specifically- what steps did you take to prepare for and finish the project? Were you happy with the outcome? What one step would you have done differently if given the chance?’

When asking behavioral interview questions like this one- the interviewer wants to know what about your past experience will lead to strong performance on the team. Another way it could be phrased is- ‘Talk about your steps for completing a complicated project in the past- and how effective you were at achieving a desired outcome.’ These questions can be difficult if you haven’t been thinking about your past experiences- as you can feel put on the spot. In the case of this particular question- they are interested in hearing about your planning and execution of complicated projects.

You need not fear behavioral-type questions if you have studied advice and examples. The STAR method is great practice for reliably giving good answers in such situations.

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How to Answer the ‘Recall a Time When you Were Assigned What You Considered to Be a Complex Project. Specifically- What Steps Did You Take to Prepare for and Finish the Project? Were You Happy with the Outcome? What One Step Would You Have Done Differently If Given the Chance?’ Behavioral Interview Question

Show Your Skills in Organization. Because this question asks specifically about a complex project- an interviewer is interested in knowing how you were able to handle a project with multiple facets. Maybe it was a large solo project that took you weeks or months to complete. Maybe it was a project where you had to direct a group of people and delegate tasks. Depending on the kind of job you are applying for- a question like this one can be answered a lot of different ways. Think about what kinds of organization skills would be most valuable to the company you are applying for- and answer accordingly. Behavioral interview questions are like a cue to give a more in-depth idea of a specific qualification- referencing specific experience. When it comes to handling complex projects- organizational skills are important.

Take the Opportunity to Show Your Critical Thinking. This question has multiple parts- and it is important to give just as much attention to one part as to another. Once you have explained the nature of the project and how you completed it- you should then explore the way you feel it turned out. This should be done in a thoughtful way. Don’t just say that you thought it was “good” or that it “could have been better.” Reflect on specific elements and consider other possible routes you could have taken. If you truly think that the project could not have been done better- be prepared to explain exactly why you think that. Imagining hypothetical scenarios to compare and contrast is a good way to go about preparing for this part of the question.

Utilize the STAR Method. Because of the way that behavioral interview questions focus on specific events in your past- the STAR method is a surefire way to answer them without cutting any corners. The STAR acronym stands for:

  • • Situation or Task
  • • Action
  • • Result

To successfully execute this method, first think of a specific situation you were in that applies to the question being asked. This can either be a life situation or some sort of appointed task. The question you are asked will give you clues as to which one to pick. Then explain what actions you took in order to achieve the project’s goal. Last, what was the result of those actions? What was the effect of making the decisions that you made?

Sample ‘Recall a Time When you Were Assigned What You Considered to Be a Complex Project. Specifically, What Steps Did You Take to Prepare for and Finish the Project? Were You Happy with the Outcome? What One Step Would You Have Done Differently If Given the Chance?’ STAR Interview Answer

One important project we worked on in school was a lab-based group assignment. My group and I were instructed to come up with an experimental design, implement it, and do the data analysis. We decided to test for differences in the amount of bacteria found on the surfaces of different types of drinking containers. We had to determine the variables and a reliable method. The independent variable was the material tested upon, controlling for the environment for every container. We collected samples of the bacteria at the start and at designated intervals. After measuring the changes over time, we determined that one material was particularly prone to bacterial growth. We thus revealed some interesting knowledge about the growth of bacteria on different containers, and all received an exemplary grade on the assignment. I do feel that by using our time more efficiently, we could have tested even more materials, so that is one thing we could have done differently.

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