Do you consider yourself competitive? What does that even mean, is it a good or bad thing? Most likely the answer lies somewhere in the middle. It’s good to be competitive, because it means you’re always trying your hardest to be the best, but competitiveness that goes overboard – like excessive aggression or being a sore loser – well that’s just not a good thing.
Employers want to know if you’re competitive by nature, and more importantly they want to figure out the degree to which you showcase that competitive nature. Remember, being competitive can be seen as a good thing. So the question is – how do you show you’re competitive without sounding difficult?
Behavioral Interview Question: When have you ever found yourself in a competitive situation professionally? How did you handle it?
There are two good answers here. Let’s look at them both:
Answer 1: “You know, I do not try to compete with coworkers because I know how sensitive others can be. But I am always competing with myself. When I complete similar projects I try to do each additional project faster and more accurately than the previous project, and see if I can ‘beat’ myself and my efficiency.”
Answer 2: “What I’ve found is that there is always unspoken competition when there are numbers at play. For example, when I was a cashier, our items and customers per hour were not only measured, but also pasted on the wall. My coworkers and I find it quite motivating. We were always trying to beat each other like a game, and none of us were upset if we lost – only joking about taking it as a challenge for the following week. So competition arises in different ways all the time, but it tends to be friendly and I think it makes us all better workers.”
What you see here is:
- Competition = Good
- Friendly = Good
- Hard Working = Good
Both answers imply that you take competition as a part of life, and that it’s not necessarily about losing as much as it’s about getting better. That’s the key to a good answer with this type of question.
See also: How to Answer the Common Interview Question – By your own definition, do you consider yourself successful?
COMMENT: How well do you handle competition? Do you think it’s a good thing, or a bad thing?