I've been doing answers to tough interview questions for a while. And this is a fun one. To understand the idea behind the question, you have to know that, if you're in a leadership role, organizations start to think in terms of crisis management. How do you handle conflict? What do you do when everyone else is losing their head? How do you maintain yours?
So the full question is, "(whatever the name of your city is), a large earthquake hits and you're in charge of safely evacuating the city you're in. What's your first step?"
Great question, isn't it? So if your first reaction is to make a face in front of them, you've lost
I think the first reaction really is to put a smile on your face and to say something effect of "You know, I've been training for something like this my entire life."
That's because, whether it's our city or in our workplace, crises happen. Conflicts occur and people freak out. "My role is to really pull everyone together. So we're all swimming in the same direction with one another. So, that's really the key to the answer. This question is how you set up the next steps by saying that piece and putting the smile on your face that demonstrates confidence in myself."
I say, "I take one deep breath because that's probably the last deep breath I'll have for the next two weeks." But, the notion becomes, "the first thing I'd be trying to do is see what communications are available right now. What response can I get? What support can I get from outlying communities and then start working toward helping people who are in danger getting people out of the city, so we can evacuate . . . Stuff along those lines.
But, the first thing is about you and talking about how you've been preparing your entire life for crisis situations, that you've been in roles like this before, none of this scale of we've got a 9.0 earthquake in our city but ones where organizations have problems and, when people are losing their heads, your idea is to focus immediately. The line about how I'd take one deep breath because that's probably the last deep breath I'll be able to have for the next two weeks I think will go a long way toward connected with the right