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Planning your answers can help you feel more confident for the interview. This preparation will also help you clearly demonstrate your understanding of the role to the employer.
Analysing why employers ask certain questions will help you understand what the employer:
Consider for example the common question:"Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer?"
The employer really wants to know: "Will you stay friendly and keep my customers happy even in really tough situations?"
Your task is to find a positive example of when your past actions showed that you were able to keep your composure, follow policy and satisfy that customer.
The examples you provide don't have to be from the same kind of work that you are applying for. They will be stronger answers when they show you have used that skill in a similar way to what is required in the new job.
Use examples that include:
Identify your role in each situation: your actions and the result or outcome. If the result was not good, explain what you learned and did differently the next time it happened.
Used particularly in behavioural interviews, the STAR (Situation, Task, Actions and Result) format will help you give clear, specific examples of your experiences.
Your actions tell the employer how you are likely to behave in a similar situation in the future.
The example answer below gives enough detail to help the employer understand the situation while remaining focused on the key actions and positive result:
"A regular customer wasn't happy that there was new kinds of fruit in the fruit bread she bought the day before.She said that she might not return to our bakery.
I explained that we had recently changed the recipe, and I apologised that this wasn't clear when she bought it. Our company policy is to replace or refund only spoiled items, so I spoke with my manager. I suggested that because it wasn't clear that it now had ingredients the customer didn't like, if it was possible that in this case we could replace it with another item. My manager agreed. I asked the customer if she would like to replace it with some sultana scones.
The customer was very satisfied with this suggestion, and from then on often bought our fruit scones. The manager later congratulated me on dealing with a difficult situation and using my initiative."