Tell Me About a Time When You Dealt With a Serious Staffing Problem

Senior professionals are often asked different questions than their staff is and with good reason. Different issues are involved and thus, organizations want to get a sense of what their history might be and they’re addressing some of these concerns. So, this is a question that a senior person might be asked.

Why did these issues occur? Well, the answer is very simple. Often, different people have a different perspective and there’s a lack of clarity about what’s being assessed for and how it should be assessed for.

If you’re asked this question, one of the easiest ways to tackle it is, number one, remember, there’s a little bit of theater involved with interviewing. So, you always want to give the impression that you’re thinking about something. So, you might just simply say, “Hmm. I remember there was a time a while back . . . ” Pause for a second to give the illusion that you are thinking and that you remembered something and went right into it.

“Hmm. I remember there was a time a while back where we had an issue like this and I brought the different groups together and sat them down to understand what the problem was because we had several positions open. We needed to get them filled or we were going to wind up being delayed delivering service to people internally.

“So, what I found out pretty quickly is different people had a different perspective on what was needed and thus, there was no clarity on how we were going to evaluate and assess people. As a result, people were operating across purposes. So, I brought them together first. We identified the issue and then, from there, we worked on getting consensus and then consistency when interviewing so that everyone had come to agree on what was needed, why and how it was going to be assessed for.

“Once we did, we identified someone who could screen for all this because we knew we were behind the eight ball and had a streamline the process. So, we got someone who could do the screening for everyone, that everyone could buy into and then they’d shoot potential hires up to me for final approval. Doing this helped us move the ball very quickly. But, again, (and then you pause for a second, and say), we were able to get the people on board that we needed in short order once we identified this problem. So, this is a way to tackle it and for you as a senior professional, I remind you there’s theater involved with interviewing.

You’re putting on a small performance. You’re an actor or actress on the stage and have to deliver your lines in a way that’s memorable. So, you begin with, “hmm,” and then you go into your lines, put a smile on your face and as you answer, with a twinkle in your eyes so that they get it.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020 


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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