Able to maintain a mature problem solving attitude while dealing with interpersonal conflict, hazardous conditions, personal rejection, hostility or time demands.

  1. Tell me about a time when you had to cope with strict deadlines or time demands. Give me an example. Discover if the individual overreacted or withdrew from demanding work.  Will the success or failure in coping generalize to another job?
  2. Give me an example of a time at work when you had to deal with unreasonable expectations of you.  What parts of your behavior were mature or immature?  Determine the extent to which the candidate was realistic in identifying unreasonable expectations.  Did the candidate overreact to rejection, conflict authority figures or criticism?  Was there evidence of high self-confidence?
  3. Sooner or later we all deal with interpersonal conflict or personal rejection at work. Give me an example of a time when you had to cope with these demands.  Was there evidence for a mature problem solving attitude?  Did the candidate become aggressive or withdrawing?

Tolerance Of Ambiguity

Able to withhold actions or speech in the absence of important information; deal with unresolved situations, frequent changes, delays or unexpected events.

  1. An old proverb says ‘SILENCE IS GOLDEN’.  Describe a time in your life when you were proud of your ability to postpone your comments until you had all the facts necessary for a good response to a situation.  Was the individual able to tolerate a situation and restrain comment?  Was the candidate prone to jump to a conclusion and be too quick in speaking up?  Was the individual creative in postponing comments?
  2. Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with frequent job changes or unexpected events on the job.  What does this situation say about your ability to work in an ambiguous or unstructured circumstance?   Was the individual comfortable with the lack of structure and able to manage delay and ambiguity patiently – or was there a need to seek closure, jump to conclusions or speak up too quickly?
  3. Sometimes it is necessary to work in unsettled or rapidly changing circumstances.  When have you found yourself in this position? Tell me exactly what you did.    Consider the individual’s preference for structure as opposed to non-structured work.  Look for flexibility in working in an unstructured situation.


Able to make decisions quickly on available information and take action: make commitments and not change decisions when challenged: deal with emergencies as necessary.

  1. Describe a time when you had to commit to a plan of action in an emergency.  Give me the details of the situation and tell me how long it took you to take action.  Pay attention to the individual’s ability to make a good decision even when under stress.   Was there a tendency to hesitate or doubt the correctness of the plan of action?
  2. Tell me about a situation when you had to ‘stand up’ for a decision you made even though it made you unpopular.   Did the candidate show the ability to resist conforming to the expectations of others while using good judgment in making a ‘tough’ decision?  Was there evidence of firmness and integrity without succumbing to popular opinion?
  3. Many situations at work will require fast thinking and speed in making decisions.  Give me an example of a situation in which you were especially skillful in making a decision quickly.  Look for the ability to make quick decisions based on available information.  Did the candidate vacillate, appear confused or postpone a necessary decision?

Spoken Communications

Able to clearly present information through the spoken word: influence or persuade others through oral presentation in positive or negative circumstances: listen well.

  1. What types of experiences have you had in talking with customers or clients?  Specifically, tell me about a time when you had to communicate under difficult circumstances.  Determine if the individual can communicate effectively under adverse circumstances.  Was there evidence of good timing, verbal skills and an ability to influence? 
  2. Careful listening and effective communication go hand in hand. Tell me about a specific time when your ability to listen helped you communicate better.  Determine if the candidate could sort out the critical elements of the problem by OBJECTIVE LISTENING.  Was there evidence that a reaction to conflict limited listening effectiveness: were ACTIVE LISTENING skills used?
  3. Tell me about a time when your language and speaking skills really worked for you on the job. Feel free to use either a supervisory or non-supervisory example.   Evaluate the candidates’ ability to use clear speech and good language skills to influence others.  Did the example reflect an articulate method of communication which showed good judgment and sensitivity to others interests.


Able to maturely express one's feelings and opinions in spite of disagreement: accurately communicate to others regardless of their status or position.

  1. Tell me about a time when your job required you to say, maturely, how you REALLY felt about a situation.   What did you say and how did you say it?   Observe whether the candidate showed social maturity and an ability to deal with feelings maturely and constructively.  Notice if there was a tendency to feel intimidation, be too ‘nice’ or too ‘pushy’.
  2. Some situations require us to express ideas/opinions in a very tactful and careful way.  Tell me about a time when you were successful with this particular skill.  Listen for the ability to build COMMUNICATION STRATEGY that is sensitive to others likes and dislikes.  Was this skill shown in communicating DIRECTLY while preserving the others feelings? Was it an HONEST communication?
  3. Sometimes it is important to disagree with others, particularly your boss, in order to keep a mistake from being made.  Tell me about a time when you were willing to disagree with another person in order to build a positive outcome.   Notice the ability to express opinions to persons in positions of authority.  Discover if there was a fear of self expression, or was there a willingness to speak up in a mature way?


Able to create positive energy (motivation) in both individuals and groups.

  1. Tell me about a specific time when your ability to reward and encourage others created positive motivation.  Observe whether the candidate achieved the motivation through charisma, skillful use of rewards or coaching skills.  Determine if the candidate understands how different rewards apply to different people.
  2. What kinds of experiences have you had in using prizes, contests or financial rewards to motivate others?   How do you evaluate the success of these techniques in general?  How successful were you in a specific case?  Observe if the individual was careful in creating incentives that matched the needs of persons to be motivated.  Determine whether the candidate earned rewards.
  3. Pick any event from the last five years of your life in which you were an example of high motivation for other people to follow.   Being specific, tell me about the event.   Notice if the example of motivation was a short term burst of energy or more of a long term behavior pattern.   Was the individual truly motivational because of his/her actions or only exhibiting enthusiasm without motivating others?

Policies and Procedures

Able to relate to routine operations in a manner that is consistent with existing solutions to problems: conform to established policies and procedures; log work activities.

  1. We all recognize that regulations may vary in terms of their meaningfulness.  Select a strict and meaningful regulation you had to conform to in your last position.  Tell me about the regulation and how you were able to work under it.   Notice if the candidate drifts into discussions only of meaningless regulations.  Observe if there is awareness of the true value of policy and procedures, whether he/she committed to them and questioned them when necessary.
  2. On some jobs it is sometimes necessary to act strictly in accordance with policy.  Give me an example out of your background when you were expected to act in accordance with policy even when it was not convenient.  What did you do?  Observe if the example shows whether the candidate did, in fact, conform with policy when it was not convenient.  Did the candidate demonstrate maturity and willingness to conform in the example?
  3. Select a job you have had, and describe the paperwork you were required to complete.  What specific things did you do to ensure your accuracy?  Evaluate the candidate’s actual experience in completing paperwork.  To what extent does the completion reflect conformity to policy and procedures?


Able to be attentive to all aspects of the environment while working to monitor environment during routine activity. 

  1. Tell me about a specific experience you have had in which it was necessary for you to react quickly because of a change in the physical environment. Notice the extent to which the individual’s actions reflect alertness. Did any part of the answer suggest a tendency to be distracted or daydream?
  2. Select an experience from your past, which illustrates your ability to be watchful and alert when monitoring displays, instruments or processes.  Tell me, in detail, what happened.  Does the answer reflect an ability to pay close attention, despite boredom or a distracting environment? Did the individual recognize and fight against a tendency to daydream?
  3. Tell me about your experience in dealing with routine work.  What kinds of problems did you have to overcome in order to concentrate on the details of the job?   Was the candidate able to explain the degree to which concentration was important?   What techniques were used to fight daydreaming, ignore distraction and enhance alertness?

Analytical Problem Solving

  1. Able to use a systematic approach in solving problems through analysis of problem and evaluation of alternate solutions: use logic. mathematics, or other problem solving tools in data analysis or in generating solutions.  Observe if the candidate can differentiate between logic and common-sense decision making.  To what extent are words such as computers or mathematics used as an aid in problem solving?
  2. What was your greatest success in using the principles of logic to solve technical problems at work?  Be specific.  Determine if the individual defined more than one solution for the problem.   Were the solutions evaluated against predefined criteria?  Did the selection of a solution reflect a systematic, analytical approach which anticipated problems?
  3. Solving a problem often necessitates evaluation of alternate solutions.  Give me an example of a time when you actively defined several solutions to a single problem.  Did you use any tools such as research, brainstorming, or mathematics?   Observe if the individual can define analytical techniques and tools in terms of computer skills, mathematical skills, use of logic, laboratory techniques, or any methodology associated with the candidate’s profession.

Goal Setting

Able to define realistic specific goals and objectives: to prioritize objectives.

  1. Tell me what you do in order to ensure that you have enough time set aside for goal setting – then review for me the specific times in which you have initiated your own goal setting over the last few years.   What happened?   Notice of the individual has a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual time for setting goals.   Be sure to note if there is an inability to mention a specific day or time allocation for goal setting, including long range goals.
  2. Tell me about the system that you use for goal setting.  To what extent does it involve using written objectives, paper work or forms?  Describe a specific instance in which you defined your goals and objectives in writing.  Observe if the importance of a systematic process is appreciated by the candidate.  Does he/she believe in written goals, irrespective of other opinions?
  3. What have been your experiences in defining long range goals?  Tell me what specific goal was set, how it was set and how successful you were in its achievement.   Observe if an individual defines long-term as being more than one year.  Give extra value to the answer if the candidate can describe specific long-range goals in a 5 or 10 year time frame.  To what extent were the goals achieved?

Written Communication

Able to write clearly and effectively, present ideas and to document activities: to read and interpret written information.

  1. In some jobs it is necessary to document work thoroughly, in writing.  For example, documentation might be necessary to prove you did your job correctly or to train another person to do it.  Give me an example of your experiences in this area.   Observe if the candidate showed true understanding of the importance of documentation for maintaining work records.  Did the example provide evidence for more than an average amount of thoroughness in these duties?
  2. In some positions it is necessary to be a thorough meticulous reader and in other situations, it is important for one to be able to scan through large amounts of information quickly. Describe your most significant scanning experience.  Did the candidate provide specific references to numbers of magazines, newspapers, journals, etc., which are read on a regular basis?  Was the individual able to cite specific documents scanned in the last few days. 
  3. How much reading of new information is required in your current job?  How often do you have to expose yourself to new written communications?  When did these skills cause you to be a superior performer? Observe if the individual can provide evidence for superior reading skills. Did the type of material read suggest that the individual has good reading comprehension, or was the material read simply forms, memos, etc.?

Commitment To Task

Able to start and persist with specific courses of action while exhibiting high motivation and a sense of urgency: willing to commit to long hours of work and make personal sacrifice in order to reach goals.

  1. Give me an example of any specific time in which you found it necessary to give long hours to the job.  For example, tell me about the period when it was necessary to take work home or work on weekends.  Is the candidate proud of the commitment to get the job done, or did he/she complain about the personal sacrifice?  Did it appear that extra hours were required because of poor delegation or because of a dedication to excellence?
  2. Some individuals have a strong sense of urgency about getting short term results – others are more ‘laid back’ and less driven in their approach to work.  Give me an example of a time when you were either more ‘laid back’ or more ‘urgent.’   Distinguish whether the individual is a TYPE A – STRESSED OUT person who is simply energetic or whether the person is energetic toward attainment of an objective.  Notice if the candidate is using a CALM APPROACH to excuse LAZINESS.
  3. Tell me about a time at work when someone commented on your high or ‘superior’ level of task orientation.  Feel free to brag on yourself.   Evaluate the degree to which the answer reflects a major accomplishment.  One the one hand, the hard work might have taken MONTHS or YEARS to carry out; on the other hand, less importance is attached to a FEW HOURS or extraordinary work.


Able to commUnicate with others in a warm and helpful manner while simultaneously building credibility and rapport.

  1. Building rapport is sometimes a very challenging thing to do.  Give an example of a time when you were able to build rapport with someone at work, even when the situation was a difficult one, and the odds were against you.   Did the candidate’s response show a genuine concern for the relationship with the other person, or was it simply a means to an end.  Did the candidate respond to rapport building questions in the interview and otherwise seem amiable?
  2. It is all too easy to ignore the feelings of others because of a preoccupation with our own needs.   Tell me about a time when you made a special effort to treat another person in a way which showed your respect for other’s feelings.  To what extent did the candidate REALLY make a special effort to demonstrate respect in terms of ACTIONS as well as words?  Did the candidate devote extra time and effort to show concern for the other’s feelings?
  3. Sometimes showing concern for another person is a foundation for building a good long-term relationship.   Tell me about a time when your concern for a particular individual was reflected in an interview, coaching or counseling.  To what extent did the interviewing, coaching, or counseling techniques lead to a rapport and a productive outcome?  Was the concern productive?


Able to interpret verbal and non-verbal behavior: to develop accurate perception and understanding of others' feelings, needs, values and opinions: to be sensitive to and aware of personality differences and conflicts.

  1. In communicating, people’s gestures or verbal cues can give us better understanding of what is meant.   Give me an example of how your interpretations of verbal and non-verbal behavior have helped you in communications.  Take your time.  Was the candidate able to name clues such as eye contact, leaning forward, tone of voice, etc.? Observe if the candidate looked for congruence between verbal and non-verbal speech.
  2. There are many work situations in which it is important to be skillful in reading hidden interests and personality conflicts.  Tell mea bout a time which shows your ‘savvy’ in ‘reading’ another person.  Observe the detail given in the candidate’s description of the situation.  Was objectivity and analytical ability shown?  If the candidate was a part of the conflict was objectivity shown in reading the situation?
  3. The correct understanding of differences in personality can impact on work decisions such as work assignments, employee motivation and conflict management.  Tell how your knowledge of personality differences benefited your effectiveness.  Notice if the candidate has a knowledge of personality differences based on WORDS like ‘compulsive’ or ‘aggressive’.  Was there a precise description which suggests thorough understanding of an individual?

Organization and Planning

Able to organize or schedule people or tasks: :to develop realistic action plans while being sensitive to time constraints and resource availability.

  1. Planning is often more than thinking, it is also doing.  Tell me what you have done with such tools as flow charts, production schedules, and filing systems (or anything else) to help you plan.   Did the tools help the candidate be systematic and organized?  Were the tools seen as actually useful to the candidate or was he/she simply complying with another’s system?
  2. Give me an example of a time in which you feel that you were effective in doing away with the ‘constant emergencies’ and ‘surprises’ in your work climate.  How did your planning help you deal with the unexpected?   Discover if the candidate can use planning to prevent emergencies.  Did the plans consist of more than simple ‘to do lists’ or was there active use of STRATEGY and TACTICS in preventing or solving the problem?
  3. TIME MANAGEMENT has become a necessary factor in personal productivity.  Give me an example of any Time Management skill you have learned and applied at work. What resulted from use of the skill?   Did the individual’s time management idea consist of a simple ‘to do list’ or use a calendar – OR – was the individual using time logs, timing devices, time studies, goals, values clarification or delegation?


Able to develop unique and novel solutions to problems: use intuition and a new way of thinking to give birth to new ideas: to present information in an attention-getting and interesting manner.

  1. Just about anybody can give a routine, standard answer to common problems; however, the payoff is often in the development of unique solutions to common problems.  Give me an example of one of your unique and novel problem solutions.   Did the result of the unique solution lead to recognition or special notice? Did the process of creating the solution seem to reflect effective use of intuition and uniqueness?  Was the solution a practical, effective, and useful one?
  2. Creative persons seem to offer fresh insights frequently and regularly.  Give me an example of a time when one of your insights or innovations was particularly well received by others.   Be sure to focus attention on both the creativity and the practical acceptance of the idea with this probe.   Notice if the candidate gave an idea which was not practical, or did the candidate get acceptance of an unimportant idea?
  3. Creativity often means stepping back from regimented ways of thinking.  When have you been able to break out of a structured mind set and intuitively play with concepts and ideas?   Did the candidate understand how different ways of thinking (structured versus intuitive) can impact on creativity? Notice if there was a description of how to shift from one mode to another.  Was there a creative result?


Able to modify one's own behavioral style to respond to the needs of others while maintaining one's own objectives and sense of dignity.

  1. Sooner or later we all have to deal with arrogant, dogmatic people.  Tell me about a time when you were able to be flexible with this type of person.   Notice if the candidate was able to give more than a very simple way in which flexibility was demonstrated.  Did the action require a reasonable amount of effort in order to adapt to the other person?
  2. In the work situation, we must all compromise to make things happen.  Tell me about a time when you felt it necessary to compromise your own immediate interests in order to be socially flexible and tolerant of another person’s needs.   Look for evidence that the candidate achieved an important, valuable, benefit to the work situation through deferral of self interests. Did the candidate seem overly accommodating or immature?
  3. At times, we are all required to deal with difficult people.  An even more demanding factor is to be of service to a difficult person.  When have you been successful with this type of situation at work?  Look for both the versatility and the service attitude with a difficult individual.  Did the candidate show tolerance and maturity?  Was the situation positively resolved?

Reading The System

Able to recognize and use information about organizational climate and key individuals to accomplish legitimate organizational goals: be aware of the importance of timing, politics and group processes in managing change.

  1. Many times, getting results necessitates development of a full understanding of the informal climate which dictates how things get done.  Give me an example of a time when you were able to manipulate the power/influence system to get results.   First discover if the candidate understands the question.  Many individuals who are not astute in organizational dynamics do not understand the difference in formal and informal systems.  Was a desirable objective reached?
  2. Different people have different ‘hot buttons’.  When have you been successful in discovering the KEY person’s ‘hot button’ and USE that knowledge to bring about an important change?  Be specific.   Notice if the candidate is astute enough not to say embarrassing things about a previous manager or co-worker.  Was the understanding of another person’s needs used effectively to achieve POSITIVE change without manipulation?
  3. The term ‘shrewd’ suggests an ability to understand what REALLY needs to be done to reach organizational objectives.  Tell me how you read the system SHREWDLY to reach a goal. Observe if the individual used common sense in understanding the ‘how’ of getting results.  Did the candidate describe a meaningful strategy which led to a positive outcome, or was self-protection or revenge the goal?

Team Building

Able to worK with people In such a manner as to build high morale and group commitments to goals and objectives.

  1. We cannot do everything ourselves.  Give me an example of a time when you dealt with this reality by creating a special ‘team effort’ at work.  Highlight the special aspects of the situation which best demonstrate your skill in this area.   Did the candidate refer to a single discussion with one individual, or was there mention of a plan/method for dealing with the team as a group? Was there emphasis on special incentives or using confrontation to build a team?
  2. It has been said that one of the best ways to manage people is to teach them how to manage themselves.  Tell me about a time when you contributed to a working group’s ability to direct itself by building group standards for performance.   Did the individual use words such as NORM, STANDARD, and COMMITMENT in formulating the response?  Was there evidence that the candidate did, in fact, contribute to the work group standard as either the manager or a group member?
  3. It’s sometimes important to confront a negative attitude to block demotivators at work.  Give me an example of a time when you confronted a negative attitude successfully with the result of building teamwork and morale.  Notice if the candidate was systematic and positive in handling the negative attitude.  Was there evidence of overreaction and hostility disguised as an attempt to remove negative forces at work?  Was there scapegoating?

Decision Making And Problem-Solving

Able to influence the actions and opinions of others in a desired direction: to exhibit judgment in leading others to worthwhile objectives.

  1. When we get emotionally involved in a problem situation, it is often very difficult to be objective.  Tell me about a time when you were proud of your ability to be objective even though you were emotional about a problem situation.   Evaluate the extent to which emotions were REALLY involved in the situation, and then observe the individual’s ability to manage feelings in a problem solving situation.  Was the solution practical and reflective of good judgment?
  2. In many problem situations, it is often tempting to jump to a conclusion to build a solution quickly.  Tell me about a time when you resisted this temptation and THOROUGHLY obtained all facts associated with the problem before coming to a decision.   Did the candidate reflect impulsiveness in describing the temptation to jump to a conclusion?  Was there clear evidence of the ability to withhold the tendency to take action?  Did the individual use a sound approach in getting facts?
  3. Often, extensive job training and experience is required to get the best results in decision making.   Describe, in detail, a situation in which you used your training and experience in making a decision which required sound judgment.   Notice the extent to which the individual provided detail on the practical impact of training/experience.  Will this training/experience generalize to the job in question?  Did the decision work?


Able to take action in solving problems while exhibiting judgment and a realistic understanding of issues; able to use reason, even when dealing with emotional topics.

  1. Even though the use of authority in a leadership role is not popular, it IS necessary in some situations. Give me an example of some situation when you used your AUTHORITY to influence another individual.  Be specific.  Observe if the candidate felt CONFIDENT in using authority.  Was there evidence of OVER-USE or UNDER-USE of authority?  Did the individual seem to be ‘locked in’ to a DEMOCRATIC or PARTICIPATIVE leadership style?
  2. Organizations are built on the principle of DELEGATION.  Give me an example of the GREATEST SUCCESS you ever had in the use of DELEGATION.  Take time to think of the BEST EXAMPLE you can, and be specific in describing it.   Notice if the individual had a tendency to OVER or UNDER DELEGATE.  Was there sensitivity to whether the delegation would be APPROPRIATE IN A CRISIS?  Was there sensitivity to the ability of subordinates to carry out the work?
  3. INSTEAD of simply using AUTHORITY to influence another individual, it is sometimes desirable to lead other persons by setting a POSITIVE EXAMPLE for them to follow.  Describe a work situation when YOUR EXAMPLE served as a MODEL for others.  Did the candidate seem comfortable in modeling for another person?  Was there accidental mention of a time in which the influence of ROLE MODEL was NEGATIVE?  Was there evidence of ability to CHANGE STYLE?  What where the RESULTS?