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Sample Behavioral Interview Questions : Initiative


Initiative is an essential quality that companies look for while hiring candidates. The interviewer is wise and experienced enough to make sense of your answers, so be prepared for these questions, so that you can emphasize that you are a self-starter and you look for challenges where you can put new ideas to work. Please note that these questions are different from sample behavioral interview questions on flexibility and sample behavioral interview questions on interpersonal skills asked during the interview.

  1. What actions of yours prove that you take initiative at work?

    Ans: It is very important to have answers for these types of questions as any interviewer will like an applicant who takes initiatives. Never answer, “I have done many that indicate initiative at work, so I can't think of specific answers". It indicates that you are not prepared.

    Think about steps you must have taken to save time or an idea that saved money, or led to increase in sales or output. Prove that you are a self-starter, a go-getter, someone ready for responsibility.

    Your answer should have examples like, you with a suggestion in a certain aspect and how you came up with a plan, by guidance from your superiors, within stipulated time and how it changed into a new tracking method for something. It shows that your initiative as well as the positive outcome.

  2. How have you kept up with professional development over the last three years?

    Ans: This is an ideal opportunity to exhibit that you are a doer. Never give answers like you don't have time to go for specialized trainings for some reason, but are still good at the job at hand. It shows lack of initiative to keep improving by attending professional training or giving lack of time as an excuse.

    You can reveal that you are someone who likes to keep updated to the latest technology and keep on improving your skills. You can also state the trainings you have attended or measures you have taken to improve your skills.

  3. Describe a recent experience/project that you found enjoyable and demanding?

    Ans: Enjoying tough situations is a quality that proves you are an enterprising person, something any organization looks for. It is another chance to show that you like taking things head-on.

    Many applicants have difficulty in enlisting their achievements. If you cannot answer this type of question with zeal, it shows that you are monotonous and it does not go down well with the interviewer. It is important not to give a generic answer; give specific examples. Have a thoughtful answer ready by noting down various aspects of the job that you enjoy despite challenges.

    An ideal answer would be where you volunteered to do a demanding task and how you accomplished it. It should affirm your ability to communicate with the various departments concerned and how you got them involved in a plan. It should end with the overall outcome of your actions yielded over a predetermined period of time.

  4. You are asked to step in your boss' shoes for a couple of months as he is under the weather, how would you go about it?

    Ans: Don't show off any sarcastic humor while answering these types of questions. Humor is something all perceive differently, so keep it out of the interview. It may be a big turn-off for some interviewers even if all you are trying is to be witty and unusual.

    Make sure that you do not sing your own praises. State that the supervisor being sick is not the best reason to step in his shoes; it shows that you are caring. Think carefully and respond.

    Say that you will call the team for a meeting and draw up a plan for the period of the manager's absence. Check out the responsibilities others have and how you will motivate them to pitch in and make sure all targets are met in the superior's absence. It exhibits your sense of responsibility and the drive you have to get things done.

  5. Was there a time, when you went that ‘extra mile' and beat all expectations?

    Ans: Every organization expects employees to be on their toes and perform better with limited resources.

    Give an instance when you took over a task which needed the expertise you possessed in a certain area ant it proved to be critically important to the overall result. Explain how everyone understood and cooperated and things that you set out to achieve were completed smoothly.

  6. Did you ever adopt a process which eventually enhanced the existing methods?

    Ans: It is a basic expectancy that all job seekers should be able to improvise the existing methods to get the job done in a better way. Everyone should be able to comprehend the areas that need to be/can be improved for a netter output. An applicant must have the confidence and the dexterity to implement new processes and bring about positive changes.

Given above are some sample questions and answers on initiative. These questions are generally asked during the initiative test of interviews. You can also refer sample behavioral interview questions on decision-making for more help.

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