9 Examples of Responsibility Interview Questions and Answers
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 3 December 2022
Published 7 May 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Responsibility is an important aspect of your work life, and hiring managers may want you to demonstrate it during an interview. Employers may prefer candidates who can handle significant responsibilities while producing quality results. Understanding interview questions that focus on responsibility can help you convince an interviewer that you're the right fit for the position. In this article, we explore examples of responsibility-based interview questions, which you can use when preparing for an interview.
9 examples of responsibility interview questions with sample answers
Here are nine examples of responsibility interview questions with sample answers:
1. Can you tell me about your past leadership roles?
Employers may ask you about leadership to discover whether you've assumed leading roles before and how you handled your position. When preparing your answer, review the job description to know which leadership qualities the role you're applying for requires. Your answer can include responsibilities from your previous jobs or leadership roles that you assumed in school.
Example: 'When I was in my last year at university, I became the chairperson of the Robotics Club. Membership for the club had fallen over the previous two years, leaving just 25% of the original members. I convinced the school administration to increase our budget. We used the extra funds to hold a robotics fair, which we used as a recruitment opportunity.
We registered new members until more than doubled the previous number. With the increased number, we were eligible to compete in regional and national robotics tournaments. That year, we came second in the national robotics competition and won a robotics room renovation.'
2. If your manager assigns you a sick colleague's tasks, how do you handle your tasks and theirs?
Employers often desire employees who can handle their duties acceptably. This question helps interviewers evaluate whether you can take on additional responsibilities. Showing that you can manage your responsibilities and those of a colleague comfortably can impress hiring managers, improving your chances of success. In your answer, mention specific actions you might take in the situation.
Example: 'In my previous job, a team member took maternity leave, and my supervisor assigned me and one other team member her tasks. We divided them up based on expertise and our availability, but I took on more responsibility. I started by reviewing her upcoming deadlines and handling them. Then, I created a schedule where I alternated between her tasks and mine on each working day. I always checked my upcoming deadlines and submitted my work early.
Whenever the responsibilities overwhelmed me, I asked for help from my team, and we split the tasks. When my colleague returned to work, she found that I had organised all her accounts, and she thanked me for my help. After seeing that I could work well under pressure and cooperate with my team members to achieve a common goal, my manager promoted me to team leader.'
3. What is your professional decision-making process?
Hiring managers ask this question to find out if you follow a procedure when making decisions at work. It helps them to understand your thought process and how you implement it. Try to be specific in your answer and give an example of a previous situation where you successfully used your process.
Example: 'When making a work decision, I start by gathering all the facts I can regarding the situation. Then, I analyse the different factors affecting the situation and how I can influence them. I consider strategies that I can implement to achieve the desired outcome and costs. Finally, I decide based on the desired results, influencing factors, finances and suitability. For example, my editor at a previous job assigned me an article regarding my opinion on digital magazines. I felt confused because I preferred print-form media, but the company had just launched a digital platform.
I didn't know whether to base my article on my perspective or to write in the company's favour, so I made a pros and cons list to help me decide. I wrote a nostalgic introduction, appreciating the impact of print-form magazines, then dedicated the middle and end of the article to speculating on the promising future that digital magazines offer. My editor was pleased with the work.'
4. Have you been in a situation where others depended on you?
Interviewers may ask this question to discover if you can lead other employees at work. It also allows them to see how you handle pressure. You can use your answer to highlight your leadership qualities, especially those relevant to the role. You could refer to a past situation where you used your leadership skills to help others.
Example: ‘I was one of the first employees at my last workplace, while it was still a small start-up. Because the company had been active for only a few months, I was the only member of the IT department. I created the company's system, developed its firewalls and handled daily IT tasks. My employer and colleagues depended on me to fix IT issues and update systems. I maintained my position for a year before the company expanded. My employer then made me the head of the IT department.'
5. How would you handle a situation where your supervisor assigns a task without providing complete instructions?
Following instructions when handling assigned tasks is an important skill, which employers look for in potential employees. An interviewer may ask you this question to ascertain if you value direction and if you can communicate problems clearly with supervisors. In your answer, show that you appreciate instructions and sharing problems respectfully with a manager.
Example: 'In this situation, I would ask my supervisor if there were any instructions other than what they may have provided. If not, I would explain why I required more to complete the assignment. At my previous job, my manager gave me a project without a clear timeline or objectives. After reviewing the details carefully, I went to her office and asked if there was any more information. She told me that the client was still deciding what they wanted and may send more instructions later. I thanked her and waited for the client's specifications.'
6. Do you prefer supervision or independence at work?
Employers may look for employees who can either work in a team or independently. The interviewer may ask this question to determine if you fit into their company culture. Reviewing the job description and company values can help you decide how to answer.
Example: 'I prefer to work independently but can still work well in a team when it's necessary. My previous role required me to handle tasks alone as I was the only specialist in the company. After they employed more people, I collaborated with others to complete projects. I believe in combining my independent efforts with teamwork to produce quality work.'
7. How do you handle projects with varying deadlines and importance?
Managing several tasks with different priorities is a skill employers may search for in potential employees. This question helps interviewers to learn about your organisation and time-management skills. You could respond by explaining a method you use to manage your workload when handling multiple projects.
Example: 'My last job as a personal assistant required exceptional time-management skills. I organised my manager's daily schedules and planned all his meetings. He was very busy, so I bought a planner during my first week of work and used it to record my errands and his schedule. I set reminders on my phone and confirmed his schedule every morning when he came into work. After a few months, he praised my work and recommended me for a higher-paying position at the company.'
8. Have you ever asked for additional responsibility at work?
Employers may search for candidates who can become productive employees. This question can help a hiring manager evaluate whether you're eager to grow in your career. In your answer, show your enthusiasm for your work and that you can accommodate extra tasks.
Example: 'While working at my last job, I had little work for a time because my team finished a project early. I didn't want to stay idle at work, so I spoke with my manager and asked if there were any extra tasks. She gave me a project that I had no experience in and asked me to perform basic research. I exceeded her expectations after completing the project with my team members. She awarded each of us a bonus at the end of that year.'
9. What is the most challenging task you've faced at work?
An interviewer may ask you this question to determine how you handle challenging situations at work. Companies may want employees who can solve problems professionally. In your answer, you can describe a scenario where you faced a challenge while highlighting qualities that make you suitable for the role.
Example: 'In my last job, there was an incident when hackers disabled the company's firewall and stole important data. We tried to track them, but they used false IP addresses. I recalled an application we had installed into the company's system a year before that copies itself onto any server that interacts with the system. We used the application to find their location and reported the incident to the police.'
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