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Human Capital Services

Competency Interview Questions

Effective interviewing helps ensure that search committees can accurately evaluate appropriate candidate qualifications.  One interview tool available to search committees is the K-State Competency Library.  Competencies are observable and measurable skills and behaviors that contribute to workplace effectiveness and career success. 

Search committees and hiring managers may wish to review the position description to identify relevant competencies (knowledge, skills, and abilities) for success in this role.  Those competencies may then be used to select interview questions that will effectively evaluate the best candidate for the position.

This page contains the list of competencies, their definitions, and related interview questions for faculty and staff positions.  Interview questions may be adjusted to reflect terminology and/or appropriate stakeholders for the position.

Example: As "customer" is commonly referenced in the competency library, units may prefer to substitute a more specific descriptor such as "student", "faculty member", or "donor".

When evaluating candidate responses, it may be helpful to reference the K-State Competency Library page for examples of competency proficiency at various levels including: less-skilled, skilled, talented, or overused.

Action Oriented

Taking on new opportunities and tough challenges with a sense of urgency, high energy, and enthusiasm.

  • Tell me about a time you had to take over someone else's challenging project.
  • Explain what you did when faced with a difficult and urgent problem.
  • Tell me about a time when you acted too hastily and had to deal with the consequences.
  • Give me an example of how you identified a new opportunity worth pursuing.
  • Describe a project or issue you were eager to address, yet first needed others buy-in.
  • Tell me about a situation that required an enormous amount of energy and effort.
  • Describe a tough situation when you demonstrated a can-do attitude.
  • Tell me about a time you were the first person to take action on something.
  • Tell me about a time you had to decide between more planning or taking immediate action.
  • Describe a time when you seized an opportunity and moved forward with it yourself.

 

Attracts Top Talent

Attracting and selecting the best talent to meet current and future business needs.

  • Describe a time when you assessed an applicant one way and others saw the applicant differently.
  • Tell me about a time you were responsible for picking team members.
  • Tell me about the most difficult position you have had to fill.
  • Tell me about a time you had to decide what kind of talent needed to be brought into the team.
  • Tell me about a time when your first impression was incorrect, and you changed your mind after you got to know the person.
  • Tell me about a time when you hired someone from outside the organization when others thought an internal candidate should have been given the job.
  • Describe a time when you assessed someone one way and others saw the person differently.
  • Describe a time you had to choose between someone who wasn't a great fit but had long-term potential and someone who was a good fit for the current job only.
  • Tell me about a time you had to choose between two individuals you thought were equally qualified.
  • Talk about a time you significantly misjudged or misread someone you hired from outside the organization.
  • Tell me about a time when your ability to read people worked really well when hiring or selecting someone.

 

Balance Stakeholders

Anticipating and balancing the needs of multiple stakeholders.

  • Tell me about a time you had to change a process or procedure to make it fair for everyone.
  • Describe a time when you could have worked with external stakeholders better.
  • Tell me about a time when multiple stakeholders disagreed on a course of action and you had to find a middle ground.
  • Tell me about the most difficult stakeholder you have had to manage.
  • Describe a time when you had to factor competing stakeholder perspectives into a decision.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with external stakeholders to get organization results.
  • Tell me about a time you did not gather enough input from all the stakeholders during a project.
  • Give me an example of when you needed to manage the expectations of stakeholders whose views were different from your own.
  • Describe a time when you had to make a high-stakes decision that took into account different stakeholder needs.
  • Tell me about a time when you anticipated stakeholder needs and concerns.
  • International efforts, presently, are spread across campus rather than centralized. What are your views on this model?

 

Being Resilient

Rebounding from setbacks and adversity when facing difficult situations.

  • Tell me about a time when someone or something caught you by surprise and caused your goals to be blocked.
  • Describe a crisis you had to handle.
  • Tell me about a time you were under pressure to back down but stood firm.
  • Tell me about a time when you became defensive or irritated and were able to successfully regain your focus.
  • Tell me about a time when you absolutely knew you were right but someone in power overruled you.
  • Describe how you dealt with a hardship assignment or situation (for example, layoffs, legal/regulatory battles, labor disputes).
  • Tell me about a time when a project or initiative seemed like it was going to fail.
  • Give an example of how you rebounded from a negative work experience.
  • Give me an example of how you handled an emergency situation.
  • Tell me about a time when you felt under extreme pressure but managed to carry on.

 

Builds Effective Teams

Building strong-identity teams that apply their diverse skills and perspectives to achieve common goals.

  • Tell me about a time you worked with a high-performing group or team.
  • Tell me about a time you were in charge of a team that didn't have the talent to get the job done.
  • Tell me about a time you were in charge of a team and needed to get them focused around common goals.
  • Tell me about a time you encountered a team member who was dragging down the effectiveness of the team
  • Describe a team experience when the members didn't work well together.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to revitalize a stagnant team.
  • Give me an example of when your team accomplished something exceptional and it was up to you to reward the group.
  • Describe a time you led a cross-functional team.
  • Tell me about a time you had to prioritize the team’s goals over your own personal goals.
  • Describe a time you had to put together a team from scratch to accomplish an organizational goal.

 

Builds Network

Effectively building formal and informal relationship networks inside and outside the organization.

  • Tell me about a time you used your network to gain knowledge for one of your projects.
  • Tell me about a time when you built strong relationships that stemmed from a difficult situation.
  • Describe a time when you used your network to exchange ideas, resources, and know-how.
  • Give me an example of a time when having a strong network inside the organization worked well for you.
  • Tell me about a situation when you used your connections to shape an initiative.
  • Describe a time you were able to prevent a problem or conflict by reaching out to your network.
  • Tell me about a time you needed to connect people in order to accomplish a goal.
  • Tell me about a time you removed barriers to get others to build relationships across organizational boundaries.
  • Tell me about a time when you benefited from a partnership with someone outside the organization.
  • Give me an example of connecting two people who previously didn't know each other.

 

Business Insight

Applying knowledge of business and the marketplace to advance the organization’s goals.

  • Describe how your knowledge of business has been developed.
  • Tell me about a failing business or organization and why you think it is struggling.
  • Tell me about the most successful business or university you have worked for and why it was a success.
  • Tell me about a successful business or university and why you think it is successful.
  • Tell me about a time your knowledge of marketplace trends influenced a decision you made.
  • Describe how you keep current on products and services that are provided by your organization’s competitors.
  • What are three trends in your current industry?
  • Tell me about three advantages that your most recent organizations competitors have.
  • Explain how you keep yourself current on best practices and trends.
  • Describe a time you made a decision that had a positive impact on the organization as a whole.

 

Collaborates

Building partnerships and working collaboratively with others to meet shared objectives.

  • Describe a time when a person or group did not get their share of credit.
  • Describe a time when the only way to achieve your individual goals was to ask for help from others.
  • Tell me about a time you succeeded in an initiative by collaborating with others.
  • Tell me about a time when you built strong relationships where none previously existed.
  • Describe a time when you were praised individually when others also contributed.
  • Describe a time you had to build partnerships to achieve a shared objective.
  • Tell me about a challenging situation when you worked to earn trust and credibility within your team.
  • Describe a time you worked with multiple groups or people who had different interests.
  • Tell me about a successful experience you've had implementing something across organizational boundaries.
  • Describe a time when you ensured that a system or process enabled teamwork across organizational boundaries.

 

Communicates Effectively

Developing and delivering multi-mode communications that convey a clear understanding of the unique needs of different audiences.

  • Tell me about a time you had to shut off a person in the audience or during a meeting who was talking too much or asking too many questions.
  • Tell me about a time when others were missing the key points in a discussion and you helped get things back on track.
  • Describe a time you had to convey the same message through different methods of communication (for example, e-mail and presentation, or an in-person meeting and a phone call).
  • Tell me about a time when you had to communicate something important to someone who did not understand your industry or functions language very well.
  • Tell me about a time when someone said you weren't listening but you thought you were.
  • Tell me about a time you were involved in a task that required you to communicate clearly and quickly.
  • Describe the best presentation you've ever given.
  • Describe a time you were comfortable with what you communicated and felt you connected with your audience.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to communicate the same information to different audiences and had to vary your style for each.
  • Describe a situation when you were leading a group who didn't know much about the task.

 

Courage

Stepping up to address difficult issues, saying what needs to be said.

  • Tell me about a time when you stepped in to defend someone (other than a direct report) whom you felt was being unfairly treated.
  • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with someone more senior, and offered a solution that actually worked better.
  • Describe an example of when you volunteered for a risky or challenging task that nobody else wanted to do.
  • Tell me about a time when you criticized the status quo despite some risks.
  • Tell me about a time when you challenged someone on an ethical or performance issue.
  • Tell me about a time you held back on something you later wished you had said.
  • Describe a time when you challenged someone in a position of authority.
  • Tell me about a time when you were investigating something and had to report back negative news to higher management.
  • Describe a time when you challenged an idea or approach.
  • Tell me about a time you accepted an assignment where the odds of success were against you.

 

Cultivates Innovation

Creating new and better ways for the organization to be successful.

  • Tell me about a time when you identified an opportunity to innovate during the early stages of a project or process.
  • Tell me about a time when you brought another person’s or group’s idea to successful completion.
  • Tell me about the most unusual idea you've had that worked.
  • Describe a time when you facilitated idea generating or brainstorming with others.
  • Tell me about a time you took a risk on a new product or solution and it paid off.
  • Tell me about a time when you managed something from the idea stage to market or application.
  • Tell me about a time when you came up with some new ideas to solve an old problem.
  • Describe your most creative contribution to the organization.
  • Describe a time when you sized up an idea for its value in the market or organization.
  • Tell me about a time when you participated in a failed attempt to innovate.

  

Customer Focus

Building strong customer relationships and delivering customer-centric solutions.

  • Describe a time you obtained up-to-date information from a customer, and what you did with it.
  • Tell me about a time when you almost lost a customer and had to turn the situation around.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with what you thought were unreasonable customer requests.
  • Describe a time when you found a customer problem especially difficult to deal with.
  • Tell me about a time you created a new service, process, or product based on customer feedback.
  • Tell me about a time when you went the extra mile for a challenging customer.
  • Tell me about a time when you changed your approach to customers based on their input.
  • Tell me about a time you were confronted with an internal or external customer problem.
  • Describe a situation where new insights about a customer paid off.
  • Tell me about a time when you exceeded a customer’s expectations.

 

Decision Quality

Making good and timely decisions that keep the organization moving forward.

  • Tell me about a hasty decision you made and later regretted.
  • Give me an example of a difficult problem you worked on and walk me through your decision-making process.
  • Tell me about a time when you irritated people with your speed of making decisions.
  • Describe a time you received useful feedback on a decision you made.
  • Tell me about a time when you turned out to be right and others were wrong.
  • Describe a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you wanted or needed.
  • Describe a time you had to make a quick decision and gather a lot of information in a short time frame.
  • Tell me about a time when you made a significant decision but doubted yourself afterward.
  • Describe a time when you made a major decision and were really pleased with the outcome.
  • Tell me about a quick decision you made that turned out to be a good one.
  • Give an example of when you last made a quick and definitive decision.
  • When making a decision in conjunction with others, how have you sought their opinions? Give an example of a recent group-based decision process.
  • Give an example of a decision that you made and how you communicated it.
  • What was the last professional decision you faced? How long did it take for you to make your decision about what to do?
  • What methods have you used to ensure that a decision you have made was an effective decision? Give a recent example of using those methods to ensure a quality decision.
  • On which decision did you deliberate the longest? Tell me about it?
  • When making a decision that affects others either inside or outside your work group, what methods do you use to communicate that decision to others?

 

Demonstrates Self-Awareness

Using a combination of feedback and reflection to gain productive insight into personal strengths and weaknesses.

  • Tell me about sharing one of your weaknesses with someone else.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to admit to your boss that you weren't very good at something.
  • Tell me about a time you made a change after receiving positive feedback.
  • Tell me about a time when your understanding of your strengths or weaknesses was helpful to you.
  • Describe when or where you learned the most about your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Tell me about a time a performance review did not go as well for you as you had expected.
  • Talk about a time you received significant negative feedback.
  • Describe a time you were given positive feedback.
  • Tell me about a time you asked someone to give you feedback.
  • Tell me about a time when you were surprised or confused about how someone viewed you.

 

Develops Talent

Developing people to meet both their career goals and the organization’s goals.

  • Describe a time when you coached or mentored people younger and less experienced than you were.
  • Give me an example of how you determine the most appropriate development path for someone.
  • Describe a time when your efforts in developing someone worked out positively.
  • Tell me about a time you created a development process to align with organizational goals and priorities.
  • Tell me about a time when your efforts in developing someone didn't work out as you had expected.
  • Describe a situation when you knew you should be developing others but didn't have the time.
  • Tell me about a person you helped do something they didn't think they were capable of.
  • Tell me about a time when you were involved in what you think was a good development process.
  • Tell me about a significant challenge you provided for someone else.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked with an inexperienced person and started them down a road of accelerated development.

 

Directs Work

Providing direction, delegating, and removing obstacles to get work done.

  • Tell me about a time your team wasn't successful because of an obstacle preventing progress.
  • Give me an example of how you divided up elements of a project or assignment for others to work on.
  • When you were in a leadership position, tell me how you organized the work load, set objectives, and checked in with people.
  • Describe a time when you delegated too much and it got you in trouble.
  • Describe a time when you delegated a task that only you had worked on or knew how to do.
  • Tell me about a time when you resisted the temptation to get involved in something you had asked someone else to do.
  • Describe a time when you restored focus to a group that was confused or going in different directions.
  • Tell me about a time when you involved others in a goal-setting process.
  • Describe a time when you had to remove a barrier in order for a team to continue work.
  • Give me an example of how you keep things on track in your group when everyone is very busy and facing a tight deadline.

 

Drives Results

Consistently achieving results, even under tough circumstances.

  • Talk about a time you were assigned to a fix-it or turnaround assignment.
  • Tell me about a time you stepped in during a project to help the team achieve its goals.
  • Tell me about a time when you got results that far exceeded others expectations.
  • Describe a time when you drove yourself harder than you were driving your people.
  • Tell me about a time when you got results when others tried and failed.
  • Tell me about a time when you just had to give up and move on to something else.
  • Tell me about a time you got results that far exceeded your own expectations.
  • Describe a time you championed a cause that others had abandoned.
  • Tell me about a time you got results even though some major factor changed, such as a budget cut, competitor move, or market shift.
  • Describe a time when you pushed harder for results than others around you.

 

Drives Engagement

Creating a climate where people are motivated to do their best to help the organization achieve its objective

  • Tell me about a time you were on a dispirited team and helped to raise spirits.
  • Give me an example of how you created an environment where others could offer input.
  • Give me an example of motivating a team who felt detached from the larger organization.
  • Describe a specific time when you empowered others.
  • Tell me about a time your team should have felt empowered but didn't.
  • Give me an example of when knowing what made someone tick was critical.
  • Explain how you've been able to get people to feel their work matters.
  • Tell me about a time you had to make a decision between taking quick action and inviting others for input.
  • Give me an example that illustrates how you appeal to very different people when managing a work project.
  • Tell me about a time you had to energize a group of disengaged people.

 

Drives Vision and Purpose

Painting a compelling picture of the vision and strategy that motivates others to action.

  • Tell me about an occasion when you gained buy-in for your vision.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to champion an organization's vision that you didn't fully agree with.
  • Tell me about a time you managed a group/unit that was headed one way and you felt they should be going another.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to figure out how to get your vision across to remote locations without going there.
  • Tell me about a time you communicated a new direction for a group or business.
  • Tell me about a time when you made changes to your workgroup's purpose or direction to fit the organization's vision.
  • Tell me about a time when you inspired people to stay with the team or organization by sharing your sense of purpose or vision.
  • Tell me about a situation when you were leading an unenthusiastic group and needed to energize them.
  • Tell me about a time when a vision message you delivered was rejected.
  • Describe a time when you worked with a group to develop its mission and vision.
  • How do you keep yourself current on best practices? What skills do you possess that would enable you to effectively lead, and communicate with, such a diverse organization?
  • Please comment on your leadership and management styles as it relates to this position.

 

Ensures Accountability

Holding self and others accountable to meet commitments.

  • Describe a time you tried to improve the effectiveness of a team or workgroup.
  • Describe a time when a member of a team you were leading made a mistake.
  • Tell me about a time you had to communicate and manage new responsibilities when there was a significant shift in goals midway through a project.
  • Tell me about a time when you and your team struggled because you were not clear about who was responsible for a task or project.
  • Describe a time you had to set stretch goals and articulate how success would be measured.
  • Give me an example of how you explained to a direct report or team member what it was you wanted.
  • Tell me about a time when you monitored and managed others work on a complex task.
  • Describe your approach to monitoring the progress of team members and holding them accountable.
  • Recall a time you made a mistake while working with others and had to make it right.
  • Give me an example of a time you were unable to follow through on a commitment.

 

Funding

 

  • Have you participated in any sponsored research?
  • What are your plans for securing funding to support your research?
  • Describe any experiences you might have had related to grant writing as a faculty member.
  • How would you convince a funding body that they should fund your research rather than one of the other hundreds of proposals they receive?
  • How does your work align with contemporary trends or funding priorities?
  • If your funding applications are unsuccessful, what alternatives do you have in mind?

 

Financial Acumen

Interpreting and applying understanding of key financial indicators to make better business decisions.

  • Give me an example of when you made a decision informed by patterns you saw in financial data.
  • Tell me about a time you changed your mind about a direction after reviewing financial reports.
  • Tell me about a time you used financial analysis to evaluate a new strategy or business direction.
  • Tell me about a time you made a decision based on findings from financial data.
  • Describe a time you received feedback on a financial decision you made.
  • Give me an example of the financial impact of one of your decisions.
  • Tell me about a time you had to weigh the short- and long-term financial consequences of a new initiative.
  • Tell me about a time your knowledge of key financial indicators resulted in a good decision.
  • Tell me about a lesson you learned from working with financial data.
  • Tell me about a time you used your financial acumen to make the case for a new idea or strategy.
  • Given the current budgetary climate, what specific ideas do you have for seeking external funding for OIP?
  • Given budgetary constraints, what collaboration between existing programs can you see to address some of the budget and staffing issues in OIP?
  • In this time of considerable financial strain on KSU, how do you see supporting the efforts of _______?

 

Global Perspective

Taking a broad view when approaching issues using a global lens.

  • Tell me about an opportunity you seized to localize a global product or service.
  • Tell me about a global trend that will impact how your university or industry conducts business.
  • Tell me about a time when a tactic you used wasn't appropriate in a given country or culture.
  • Tell me about a time you took a broad, global view of a business challenge.
  • Tell me about a time when the local approach to business proved more effective than the university typical approach.
  • Describe a time you had to do something different, unusual, or out of the ordinary for an international customer.
  • Tell me about a time you anticipated the impact of a global trend.
  • Describe a time you were able to build cooperation between two parties in an international setting.
  • Tell me about a surprising success you had because of your ability to work well with someone or some people from another country.
  • Describe a time when your organization's existing way of doing business wasn't going to work for a new region.
  • How will you be an advocate for internationalization on campus?

 

Instills Trust

Gaining the confidence and trust of others through honesty, integrity, and authenticity.

  • What conflicts of interest have you experienced or could you experience in your present role? How have you/would you resolve these?
  • When have you taken a stand against a group on what you felt to be a matter of principle?
  • Describe a time someone told you something in confidence, but you felt you needed to tell someone else.
  • Describe a time when you decided to give someone the benefit of the doubt.
  • Tell me about a time when you publicly admitted a mistake or failure.
  • Give me an example of how you gained others; confidence when you worked with them for the first time.
  • Give an example of when you chose to be true to your own values rather than do what was told or expected.
  • Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something you thought was unethical.
  • Describe how you handled a situation where you were unable to follow through on a commitment.
  • Describe a time when it was challenging for you to practice what you preached.
  • Tell me about a time you were asked to disclose something that someone asked you to keep secret.
  • Describe a time you started up and ran with an idea/project, no matter what got in your way.

 

Interpersonal Savvy

Relating openly and comfortably with diverse groups of people.

  • Tell me about a time when you built strong relationships where none previously existed.
  • Tell me about a time when you got to know a new coworker (or classmate*).
  • Tell me about a time you changed your approach in a group situation, such as a meeting, presentation, or debate, based on the interpersonal dynamics in the room.
  • Give me an example of how you built rapport when you met a new contact.
  • Describe a situation where you facilitated or encouraged a climate of trust and respect between coworkers.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked with someone who was difficult to get along with.
  • Describe a situation that illustrates how you made yourself approachable and friendly to people who were more junior in the organization.
  • Tell me about a time when you changed your interpersonal style midstream because something wasn't working.
  • Describe a time when you used your diverse professional network to help you meet the responsibilities of your job.
  • Describe a time you needed to use diplomacy and tact to maintain relationships in a tension-filled situation.

 

Manages Ambiguity

Operating effectively, even when things are not certain or the way forward is not clear.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision and the information available was inadequate.
  • Give me an example of how your work habits changed when you didn't know exactly what to do.
  • Tell me about a time when you had a problem and you didn't know what to do.
  • Give an example of when you entered a job or situation and had to make decisions immediately, without time to get your bearings.
  • Tell me about a time when a crisis made what you had been doing obsolete or ineffective.
  • Tell me about a time when it was difficult to make sense of the situation or need.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to act on something important before you had time to come up with a clear answer or solution.
  • Describe a project/assignment where the outcome or process was unclear.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to change something significant in your work environment.
  • Tell me about a time when someone asked you to try something completely new to you.

  

Manages Complexity

Making sense of complex, high quantity, and sometimes contradictory information to effectively solve problems.

  • Describe a time you faced conflicting data about a problem and you weren't sure how to approach it.
  • Tell me about a time you found a work problem to be significantly more complex than you initially thought.
  • Tell me about a time when your chosen solution didn't work, and you had to rethink the problem from scratch.
  • Tell me about how you analyzed information and options to solve a persistent problem.
  • Tell me about a time you came up with a process or procedure to solve a problem.
  • Give me an example of your typical problem-solving approach.
  • Describe a time you were faced with a complex problem and had to get to the essence in a short time period.
  • Tell me about a time when you selected a solution that worked in the past, but it didn't work this time.
  • Tell me about a time you had to solve a problem twice, when the first solution wasn't right.
  • Tell me about a time when you didn't spend as much time as you should have examining the data and root causes of a problem.

 

Manages Conflict

Handling conflict situations effectively, with a minimum of noise.

  • Tell me about a time when you handled a disagreement or conflict well.
  • Tell me about a situation where you had to push for an unpopular change.
  • Tell me about a time you had to tell somebody something they didn't like or didn't want to hear
  • Tell me about a time you saw a conflict coming and were able to avoid unnecessary disruption or interference
  • Tell me about a time someone made you uncomfortable or irritated and it resulted in a disagreement.
  • Tell me about a time when you restored harmony with someone you disagreed with and had distanced yourself from
  • Tell me about a time you had difficulty getting two people or groups to agree.
  • Describe a time you mediated a high-tension situation
  • Tell me about a time when you avoided a conflict.
  • Tell me about a time when something went from a harmonious to a conflict-ridden situation.
  • How do you resolve conflict? Could you give specific examples of how you have dealt with colleagues and subordinates when there are divergent viewpoints?

 

Nimble Learning

Actively learning through experimentation when tackling new problems, using both successes and failures as learning fodder.

  • Tell me about a time you did something in a different way following reflection on a previous experience.
  • Tell me about a time when you took a risk and quickly applied what you learned
  • Describe an experimental approach you took to solve a problem.
  • Tell me about a time you analyzed a failure in order to promote team learning.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to learn something new very quickly.
  • Describe a time when you convinced colleagues to keep experimenting until a viable solution was found.
  • Tell me about a time when you were energized to find the ideal solution.
  • Tell me about a time you learned from your success.
  • Describe a time when you had to try multiple times in order to find the right solution.
  • Describe a time when a mistake or failure directly led to a successful solution.

 

Optimizes Work Processes

Knowing the most effective and efficient processes to get things done, with a focus on continuous improvement.

  • Tell me about a time you were faced with processes, systems, or workgroups that were delivering poor quality.
  • Tell me about a time when you modified a process someone else designed.
  • Give me an example of a work process or procedure that you implemented across geographical locations.
  • Tell me about a time when you re-engineered a process you originally designed.
  • Describe a time when you found yourself caught in an inefficient process and had to figure out a better way.
  • Tell me about a time you were part of a major quality improvement effort.
  • Tell me about a time when your attempt at improving quality worked out really well.
  • Describe the impact of a work or process improvement you made.
  • Tell me about a time you critiqued other people’s workflow processes and found a better way.
  • Describe a time you revised a process for virtual employees.
  • What interests you in this position? What can you contribute during the interim assignment?

 

Organizational Savvy

Maneuvering comfortably through complex policy, process, and people-related organizational dynamics.

  • Tell me about a time you worked with multiple groups or people who had different ways of operating.
  • Tell me about a time when people more senior than you didn't agree on what you should be doing.
  • Tell me about a time when your knowledge of how to maneuver through an organization worked really well for you.
  • Tell me about a time when you gained approval for something by being politically sensitive.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with policies you felt were unnecessary.
  • Tell me about a time when you helped mediate a power struggle between two people or two groups.
  • Tell me about a time you got something approved that impacted a larger part of the organization.
  • Describe a time you had to deliver bad news to a group or management.
  • Describe a time you helped someone new to the organization understand the way things really work around there.
  • Tell me about a successful experience you've had implementing something across organization boundaries.

 

Persuades

Using compelling arguments to gain the support and commitment of others.

  • Tell me about a time when you brought two reluctant groups or individuals together.
  • Tell me about a time when you served as a mediator either formally or informally.
  • Describe a situation you were in where you had to be diplomatic and forceful, but not make many concessions.
  • Describe a time you changed your mind after hearing the other side of an argument.
  • Describe a time you had to consider another person’s feelings without backing down on your own view.
  • Describe a time you were involved in settling a disagreement and successfully maintained relationships.
  • Tell me about a time you got approval for a new or revised policy/practice/procedure.
  • Describe a time when you needed to share a compelling argument to get others to agree to an idea or proposal.
  • Tell me about a time you had to reach agreement with other parties when there was little trust.
  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with someone and brought them around to your way of thinking.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were unable to persuade someone to your point of view.
  • Describe your most satisfying (or disappointing) experience in presenting to and gaining the support of top management for an idea or proposal.
  • Tell me about a time when you needed to persuade others to commit to a course of action.

 

Plans and Aligns

Planning and prioritizing work to meet commitments aligned with organizational goals.

  • Describe a time you established objectives and a plan that aligned with organizational priorities.
  • Give me an example of a project you managed where setting milestones and measuring progress was critical.
  • Tell me about a time you had to change plans during a project/task you were doing to prioritize something unexpected.
  • Describe a time you were setting goals and needed to plan for uncertainties or problems.
  • Describe a time when a project plan was so high level or general that it was difficult to execute.
  • Tell me about a time when you divided a plan into phases and detailed tasks to organize and accomplish the objectives.
  • Tell me about a time when you stumbled because you didn't anticipate a roadblock/obstacle.
  • Tell me about a time when you planned and organized a complex task or project from start to finish.
  • Tell me about a time when your lack of planning got you in trouble.
  • Tell me about a time when you ran out of time and had to choose what to finish.

 

Research

 

  • What has been your greatest frustration or disappointment in your research, and why do you feel this way?
  • In your academic career, what subjects have challenged you the most and why?
  • What are your plans for securing funding to support your research?
  • What do you think are the most important characteristics and abilities a person must have to become a successful faculty member?
  • What pedagogical trends or changes do you see on the horizon in your discipline?
  • How do you see your research fitting in with the departments?
  • Who are the major scholars in your field, and how does your work compare to theirs?
  • To what degree do you see integrating undergraduate and graduate students into your research program?
  • What specific research agenda will you pursue if you are selected?
  • What is your research plan for the next three years?
  • What are the limitations of your research? Use this as an opportunity to discuss where your research may be headed.
  • How would you describe the value of your research to a layperson?
  • What journals best suit your work?
  • Tell us about an unsuccessful research project you have been involved in

 

Resourcefulness

Securing and deploying resources effectively and efficiently.

  • Tell me about a time you had to project funding and resources to accomplish a set of goals.
  • Tell me about a time you were prevented from doing something because you couldn't get others to share their resources with you.
  • Tell me about a time you obtained fewer resources than you had planned or hoped for.
  • Describe a time when understanding the organization's culture aided in securing or deploying needed resources.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were faced with a challenge due to a change in resource requirements.
  • Tell me about a time when organization politics prevented you from securing the resources you needed.
  • Describe the most complex allocation of resources problem you have ever faced.
  • Tell me about a time when you were given a project you'd never done before.
  • Tell me about a time you had to start something from scratch.
  • Describe a time someone asked you for help to figure out resources for a project.

 

Self-Development

Actively seeking new ways to grow and be challenged using both formal and informal development channels.

  • Tell me how you identified and were able to work around a personal weakness.
  • When seeking to develop a specific skill in the past, what tactics or action steps did you include in your development plan?
  • Give me an example of what you are currently working on for personal or professional improvement.
  • Describe something you've learned or developed from other people (a boss, peer, and colleague).
  • Describe the most developmental work experience you've had.
  • Describe what you have done to improve your career options.
  • Describe a situation where a prior strength actually turned out to be a weakness in another setting and how you addressed this.
  • Tell me about a time you took a job or assignment that required new or different skills.
  • Give me an example of when you compensated for one of your weaknesses with other skills you have.
  • Describe the actions you took that contributed to your personal or professional development.

 

Situational Adaptability

Adapting approach and demeanor in real time to match the shifting demands of different situations.

  • Tell me about a time when you were a newcomer to a group or organization and how were you successful in your collaborations with colleagues?
  • Describe a time when you watched people closely to see how they were reacting to you.
  • Give me an example of a situation where you had to adjust your style to get something done. 
  • Tell me about a time when you were not sure why people were acting a certain way toward you.
  • Tell me about a time your role in a group wasn't effective, so you changed the way you worked with them.
  • Describe a time when you adapted your styles due to the people around you.
  • Tell me about a time when you realized a style you had used in the past wasn't working anymore.
  • Tell me about a time when you changed your style and approach midstream and went a different direction to get something done.
  • Describe a time when you changed your approach based on feedback.
  • Tell me about a time when you were advised to adapt your style in certain situations.

 

Strategic Mindset

Seeing ahead to future possibilities and translating them into breakthrough strategies.

  • Tell me about a time when your strategic vision or big-picture thinking was an asset.
  • Give me an example of exploring various scenarios and possibilities when charting a course for the future.
  • Give me an example of working with a team in charge of creating a new vision and strategy.
  • Tell me about a time you were implementing a strategy and had to revise it or change direction due to changes in the competitive landscape.
  • Tell me about a time when it was difficult to anticipate issues that had an impact on your strategy.
  • Describe a time you had to develop a strategy that would create value for your organization or customers.
  • Tell me about a time when you developed a viable competitive strategy, but due to forces outside your control, the strategy could not be fully implemented as planned.
  • Describe some possibilities you imagine for the future of your industry or organization.
  • Describe a time when you were part of an organization or group and thought the strategy was lacking or inadequate.
  • Tell me about a time when anticipated future trends impacted your strategic plans and decisions.
  • What are some strategies for internationalizing KSU?
  • Tell me about a time when anticipated future trends impacted your recruitment strategy and decisions.

 

Student Engagement

Developing and delivering multi-mode communications that convey a clear understanding of the unique needs of different audiences.

  • How would you encourage students to major in __________________________________?
  • How would you motivate students?
  • How do you engage students to learn and explore even in an introductory or survey course for non-majors?
  • Starting with your last position, tell us about any of your student-related achievements that were recognized by your superiors, coworkers, students, or others.
  • What experiences have you had working with students outside the classroom [e.g., advising, tutoring, sponsoring student groups, etc.]?
  • Give us examples of your ability to work effectively with a variety of students.
  • How do you feel about mentoring, advising, and sponsoring student activities?
  • Do you believe you should build rapport with students? If so, how?
  • How would you respond to a student who is foundering?
  • Describe a successful experience in dealing with a diverse group of students and what you learned from it.
  • How do you help graduate students get started on a research project?
  • What is your experience with underprepared students?

 

Teaching

 

  • Describe your experience in creating an inclusive environment in the classroom.
  • Describe a successful experience in dealing with a diverse group of students and what you learned from it.
  • Describe a particular situation where you engaged students to learn and explore from an introductory or survey course for non-majors?
  • Give an example of a time when you incorporated campus-wide discussions into your courses that are not necessarily specific to your discipline [e.g., diversity, globalism, sustainability, etc.]?
  • Tell me about a time you motivated a student and what the results were.
  • Tell us how your research has influenced your teaching.
  • What textbook would you use in a particular course, and why this particular resource?
  • What are your views of assessment, and how do you incorporate assessment into your teaching plan?
  • How do you structure your course?
  • What specific applications of technology have you used in the classroom?
  • What do you think of interdisciplinary studies?
  • How do you define good teaching?
  • What do you think of service-learning, and have you ever used it in your classes?
  • Describe your philosophy about teaching and learning.
  • Why are you interested in teaching at Kansas State University?
  • In what ways have you been able to bring the insights of your research to your courses at the undergraduate level?
  • What has been your greatest frustration or disappointment in teaching, and why do you feel this way?
  • How do you incorporate campus-wide discussions into your courses that are not necessarily specific to your discipline [e.g., diversity, globalism, sustainability, etc.]?
  • What courses have you created or proposed in the past five years?
  • What experience have you had with team-teaching? What is your opinion of it?
  • What are the most important characteristics of a good instructor?
  • What courses would you prefer to teach if you were given complete latitude in designing them?
  • What are some of the things you have done particularly well in your teaching career or in which you have achieved the greatest success?
  • What elements do you incorporate into your teaching that address diverse learning styles?
  • What do you particularly enjoy about teaching?
  • Why do you feel your teaching style will work to best serve our student population?
  • How do you adjust your style to the less motivated or underprepared student versus the strongly motivated, well-prepared student?
  • Which professors have most influenced your teaching style, and why?
  • What are your greatest strengths as an instructor?

 

Tech Savvy

Anticipating and adopting innovations in business-building digital and technology applications.

  • Tell me about a time when you were an early adopter of a new technology.
  • Describe a time when you taught someone else a new technology.
  • Give me an example of a new technology you proposed that had a positive impact on the organization.
  • Give me an example of a new technology that caused major issues for customers.
  • Give me an example of how you enhanced your performance with a new technology.
  • Tell me about the biggest technological challenge you have ever had to overcome.
  • Describe a time when picking up a new technology worked really well for you.
  • Tell me about a time you resisted new technology.
  • Tell me about a time when you implemented a new technology.
  • Tell me about a time when not picking up a new technology caused difficulty for you.

  

Values Differences

Recognizing the value that different perspectives and cultures bring to an organization.

  • Tell me about a time when you overcame a stereotype you had formed.
  • Tell me about a time when you or someone else felt unwelcome or uncomfortable in a group.
  • Describe a situation when you worked with individuals from different cultures.
  • Describe a time when you needed to build a relationship with someone very different from you.
  • Tell me about a time when managing differences backfired and produced a worse outcome.
  • Tell me about a time you led a team that was diverse for one or more reasons; for example, culturally or generationally.
  • Tell me about a time when you were uncomfortable with someone else's culture or when someone else's culture was imposed upon you.
  • Tell me about a time when you were surrounded by people who were culturally diverse or different from you.
  • Tell me about a time when you managed a diverse group and the differences proved very challenging.
  • Tell me about a time when you fell into the trap of stereotyping someone.
  • How would you facilitate international opportunities for our students, faculty, and programs?
  • How would you enhance multicultural and global diversity at KSU?
  • Tell us about a time when you served as a university advocate championing diversity as a critical component of social, academic, and intellectual life on campus.
  • What have you done to further your knowledge/understanding about diversity in recruitment? How have you demonstrated your learning?

 

For additional questions, please contact your Talent Acquisition Strategic Partner.