Question forms part of
Civil Service Question Bank
Project Manager Question & Answer Sheet
Other interview questions that are similar
- Can you describe a situation where you had to change your approach to achieve a better outcome?
- Tell me about a time when you received feedback and adjusted your actions accordingly.
- Can you share an example of when you made a mistake and what you did to correct it in the future?
- Describe a situation where you had to revisit a decision you made earlier. How did you handle it?
- How have you improved a process or task after initially encountering difficulties?
- Tell me about a time when you had to adapt your strategy due to unforeseen circumstances.
- Can you provide an example of when you had to pivot or change direction in a project? How did you handle it?
- Describe a situation where you had to learn a new skill or technique to accomplish a task more effectively.
- How do you ensure continuous learning and improvement in your professional life?
- Tell me about a time when you found a more efficient way to complete a task or solve a problem.
What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
There are probably an infinite number of questions that the interviewer could ask you on the day. Some questions are incredibly common appearing in almost every interview you will have, while other questions you might hear once and never again regardless of how many jobs you apply for.
Fundamentally though all interview questions are really trying to find out one of 3 things:
1 – Can you do the job? (Do you have the skills/experience needed?)
2 – Will you do the job? (Do you have the drive/motivation to get the job done?)
3 – Will you fit in? (Does your personality match the workplace culture? Are you likeable?)
That’s it. Those are the 3 things that the interviewer is trying to ascertain. Every question that is asked of you will fundamentally be trying to resolve one (or more) of these 3 things.
So what’s this question trying to ascertain?
1 – Can you do the job? When they ask if you’ve done something differently the second time around, they’re trying to see if you can learn from your past and get better at your skills. So, share a cool example where you changed how you did things and it worked out well. It shows you’re the kind of person who can grow and adapt, which is just what they want for the job.
2 – Will you do the job? This question also helps them figure out if you’re motivated and care about doing a great job. Your answer should show that you’re always looking for ways to improve and are up for putting in the effort to get stuff done right. This will let them know that you’re the kind of person who takes their job seriously and wants to succeed.
3 – Will you fit in? Finally, this question gives them a peek into your personality and if you’ll get along with everyone else. When answering, focus on how you’re open to feedback, enjoy working with others, and are always looking for ways to get better at what you do. These things can help them see that not only are you a good fit for the job, but you’ll also be a great addition to the team.
By keeping these three key points in mind when answering a question like “Have you ever done something differently the second time around?”, you can show them you’ve got the skills, motivation, and personality they’re looking for.
How Best To Answer ‘Have you ever done something differently the second time around?’
Unless the question you are asked is a straight ‘up or down / yes or no’ style question, like “Are you ACCA qualified?”, you are going to need to learn to describe, expand, and elaborate on your answers. The best way of doing this is to follow the B-STAR technique for answering interview questions.
Answers using this method follow the below structure:
B – Belief – What are your thoughts and feelings with regard to the subject matter? For the given question, you can express your belief in the importance of learning from past experiences and adapting your approach to achieve better outcomes.
S – Situation – What was going on? Briefly explain the scenario that was taking place. In this case, describe a situation where you first attempted a task or project but faced challenges or did not achieve the desired outcome.
T – Task – What was your role in the action? Most of the time, it is best that you are taking an active rather than passive role in the encounter. For this question, explain your responsibility in the situation and your commitment to finding a solution or improving the results.
A – Activity (or action) – What did you do? Detail the steps you took and why you took them. For the given question, describe the changes you made the second time around, explaining why you decided to make those adjustments and how they helped you achieve a better outcome.
R – Result – How did everything end up? Try to use figures if possible (e.g., we cut costs by $3m, customer satisfaction scores increased 25%, failures reduced to zero, ice cream parties increased ten-fold, etc.). For this question, share the positive results you achieved after implementing the changes, emphasizing the improvements made compared to the first attempt.
Remember, though, that the B-STAR technique is descriptive, not prescriptive. You do not need to follow this flow strictly; go with what is best for your answers and that will allow you to put your point across and show your experience the best.
What You Should NOT Do When Answering Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked).
Do not downplay the situation.
Do not overhype the situation.
Do not say you have no experience with the subject matter.
Do not reject the premise of the question.
Do not have a passive role in the situation.
Do not give a one-sentence answer.
Do not overly describe the scenario and miss the action
Have you ever done something differently the second time around? – Example answer
Project Manager Example
I believe it’s crucial to learn from our experiences and adapt our approach when things don’t work out as expected. In my previous job, I was responsible for managing a marketing campaign to promote a new product. The initial launch didn’t generate the anticipated interest, and the sales numbers were lower than expected.
As the project lead, I knew it was my responsibility to find a solution and improve the results. I decided to gather feedback from the sales team and customers to identify the reasons for the poor performance. Based on the insights, I realized that our target audience wasn’t well-defined, and the message didn’t resonate with them.
So, I took the initiative to reevaluate the campaign strategy. I worked with the team to refine our target audience, update the marketing message, and create new visuals that were more engaging. We also decided to explore different marketing channels to increase our reach.
As a result of these changes, our second campaign was much more successful. We saw a 35% increase in sales, a significant boost in customer engagement, and a 20% growth in our social media following. This experience taught me the importance of being flexible and adapting our approach based on the feedback and results.
Software Developer Example
I think it’s important to learn from our experiences and adjust our methods when we encounter challenges or failures. In a previous software development project, I was tasked with optimizing the performance of an application that had slow loading times and caused user frustration.
As the lead developer, it was my responsibility to identify the root cause and improve the application’s performance. I initially focused on optimizing the code and reducing the overall application size. However, after implementing these changes, the improvements were still not significant enough to satisfy the users.
I realized I needed a different approach, so I decided to analyze the application’s architecture and data flow. I found that the primary issue was not the code itself, but rather the way data was being fetched and processed.
To address this, I introduced a more efficient data-fetching technique and implemented a caching mechanism to minimize the number of server requests. I also worked closely with the front-end team to streamline the user interface for a smoother user experience.
After these changes were made, the application’s performance improved significantly. Loading times were reduced by 60%, and user satisfaction scores increased by 25%. This experience reinforced the importance of being adaptable and looking at problems from different angles to find the most effective solutions.
Customer Service Role Example
Other Interview Question and Answers
79 Civil Service Interview Questions (And Example Answers)
94 Project Manager Interview Questions (And Example Answers)
Interview Question: Tell me about a time you went above and beyond – Answer Examples
Interview Question: tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss – Answer Examples
Interview Question: Tell me about a time you failed – Answer Examples