Foresight is more than just wearing glasses. It is knowing that things are issues before they really become issues. Your ability to “see the future” and know that there is something amiss before it becomes a serious problem is something that employers not only value, but covet. If you can prove to an employer that you can identify problems and solve them before they have a negative effect on the company, you’re going to be a very valuable job candidate.
Behavioral Interview Question: Tell us about a time when you identified a potential problem and resolved the situation before it became a serious issue.
There are two basic challenges here. The first is obvious: finding an answer to this question. For that, you’re going to have to dig deep and pre-plan. What are some examples of issues that you’ve helped address?
You’ll want to avoid the simplest answers unless you can’t think of anything better (for example, finding that the date for an event was wrong in the invitation) since those don’t give you much to say, but you’ll also want to avoid stretching the truth, since that can have you stumbling over your words.
The second challenge is making sure that you showcase some quality problem solving skills. This is technically an interview question about problem solving, so ideally you share something that makes you seem like a great employee. That can also be a challenge with simple answers. Here is a sample answer:
“We had just finished redeveloping the entire website, including all of the content, coding, design, and more. It was about to be a major launch, and it was scheduled for only a week away. Everything looked great on the surface, but I realized – we only had very basic tracking in place for the relaunch period. We had some vary basic data and analytics, and only some notes about what was changed and what was kept the same. We also didn’t have any tracking in place to measure conversions as this was a second phase objective – the entire change was going to leave us in the dark in some ways, and if anything went wrong, we would have a hard time identifying the problem. I brought it up with my supervisor, and my coworkers and we started creating spreadsheets with things like search engine placement, ad conversions, and more of the previous website so that we could track whether or not the new website was having the desired effect.”
This shows an awareness that problems could occur, even though none had occurred and there might have been no problems, and it shows a solution that was used to address it. Try to think back to your past of any time you noticed something was amiss, and you’ll have a good answer not only for this question, but for other problem solving questions as well.
Note: Think about all the projects you have worked on and what checks you undertook just prior to the launch of each project. Any errors you picked up would be good answers for this sort of question since you picked them up before they became a problem. It may have been a significant copy error on packaging, a machinery fault in production, a system error in the IT process etc..
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