Tufts Competencies Expertise



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Behavioral Based Interview Questions by Tufts Competencies

Tufts Competencies

Expertise

Definition


  • Demonstrates essential skills for the position.

  • Shares expertise.

  • Supports others in learning and skill building.

  • Shows pride in work.

  • Commits to ongoing professional development.



Interview Questions:








  • Tell me about a time when you were effective in putting your skills experience and knowledge to use.




  • Give me an example of a time when you used or sought to learn a new skill.




  • Tell me about a situation when you had to learn something new in a short amount of time.




  • How has your background and experience prepared you to be effective in an environment that values diversity?




  • Describe a situation in which you shared your expertise.




  • Give an example of a situation when you had to keep up with changes specific to your field?




  • What do you anticipate to be the most challenging aspect of this job?




  • Describe a situation where your expertise made a significant impact.




  • Tell me about a significant accomplishment you made in a previous position.




  • Describe a contribution you made to a coworker’s skill development.

What to look for:








  • Applies knowledge / skills in accomplishing tasks.




  • Continually seeks to learn new skills and broaden experience within area of specialty.




  • Exhibits continuous commitment to developing skills and sharing knowledge with coworkers.




  • Demonstrates knowledge in required areas.






Interaction with Others

Definition


  • Demonstrates requisite communication skills.

  • Openness to different viewpoints.

  • Shows respect to others.

  • Collaborates on joint projects and decisions.

  • Gives and receives candid and helpful feedback.



Interview Questions:








  • Describe a time when you had to explain something to someone who had difficulty understanding the meaning of what you were saying.




  • Tell me about a time when you had a difference of opinion with a customer or co-worker.




  • Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a wide variety of people by accepting/understanding their perspectives.




  • Describe a project from your last position that required a group effort and what your responsibilities within the group were. What difficulties did you encounter?




  • Can you recall a time when you gave feedback to a co-worker who was unaccepting of others?




  • Describe a time when you were asked to comment or make suggestions on a project that was not meeting your expectations.




  • Can you recall a time when a person's cultural background affected your approach to a work situation?




  • Tell me about a meeting or discussion you led and what the most challenging aspect of it was.




  • Describe how you have handled situations in which you could not understand a customer's strong accent?




  • How have you gone about establishing working relationships with others?




  • Give me an example of time when you were able to open up lines of communication with someone at work?




  • Give examples of times when your values and beliefs impacted your relationships with your colleagues.




  • Tell me about a time when you incorporated another's ideas into a project.




  • Describe a work situation in which you wished you had behaved differently towards someone. What would you change about your behavior, if given the opportunity?






What to look for:








  • Asks questions to clarify issues that were not easily understood.




  • Takes time to listen and to ensure that others understand what is being communicated.




  • Takes other viewpoints into consideration.




  • Open to compromise.




  • Shows respect when communicating feedback to others, as well as when receiving feedback.




  • Contributes to work group discussions.






































Continuous Improvement

Definition:


  • Measurable improvement made in systems or processes.

  • Attention to and focus on customer satisfaction.

  • Systems efficiency.

  • Effective and appropriate relationships with customers.

  • Innovation and creativity.

  • Commitment to generating new solutions and ideas.

Interview Questions:








  • Tell me about a new idea you generated which was different from the standard.




  • Describe some ways in which you have integrated multicultural differences to address customers’ needs.




  • Tell me about a time that you evaluated your own beliefs or opinions around issues of difference.




  • What do you see as the most challenging aspects of an increasingly diverse academic community, and what steps have you taken in previous roles to meet such challenges?




  • Tell me about a workplace improvement you initiated that is now being used.




  • Describe an effort you made to improve a process.




  • What problems have you identified in a work situation that had previously not been addressed?

What to look for:








  • Recommends process changes.




  • Commitment to maintaining system efficiency.




  • Generates new ideas and solutions.




  • Innovation.








Customer Focus

Definition:


  • Pays attention to and focuses on customer satisfaction.

  • Develops effective and appropriate relationships with customers.

  • Anticipates and meets the needs of both internal and external customers.



Interview Questions:








  • Tell me about your most difficult customer.




  • How have you changed the way your customers perceive the services you provide?




  • Describe a situation where you had to confront a difficult issue with a customer and you were not happy with the way you handled it.




  • Give me an example in which you had to meet a difficult customer need.




  • Describe a time when you received negative feedback from a customer and turned it into something positive.




  • Tell me about a time you wished you would have handled an unhappy, angry, or irate customer a different way.

What to look for:








  • Inspires trust and confidence in customers.




  • Incorporates the customer’s perspective to meet and exceed expectations.














Resourcefulness and Results

Definition:


  • Works effectively in a variety of situations.

  • Demonstrates good work habits, flexibility, and initiative.

  • Uses multiple resources to achieve desired results.

  • Seeks input and assesses risks when making decisions.

  • Takes action and commits to getting things done.



Interview Questions:








  • Tell me about a time when you had to cope with strict deadlines.




  • Describe a situation in which you had many competing demands on your time.




  • Tell me about a time when you faced obstacles while trying to reach a work-related goal?




  • Describe a situation when you had minimal time to prepare.




  • Give me an example of a time when you were trying to accomplish something and did not have ready access to the necessary resources.




  • If you were given a task to complete and the information was conflicting, delayed or ambiguous, what would be your next step?




  • Describe a situation when you were able to deliver results under stress.




  • Tell me about a project or situation that didn’t turn out exactly as you had planned. What would you do differently?




  • Tell me about a time when you saw the need to change in order to achieve a desired goal.

What to look for:








  • Productive use of time across a variety of situations.




  • Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.




  • Attempts to anticipate unforeseen events and plans accordingly.




  • Adjusts to effectively accommodate shifting priorities.




  • Uses sound judgment to establish and achieve deadlines.




  • Utilizes existing resources and seeks out additional information before making decisions.




  • Evidence of being able to take multiple approaches to solving problems.




  • Eager to consider new ideas.




  • Delivers high-quality results in a variety of situations.


Leadership

Definition:


  • Models desired behaviors.

  • Acts as a catalyst for change through positive energy.

  • Articulates goals and objectives and their value.

Interview Questions:








  • Describe a situation when you inspired others to perform better.




  • Give me an example of a time when your positive attitude caused another to be motivated or energized.




  • What is your vision of diversity at an institution like Tufts University?




  • What does it mean for you to have a commitment to diversity? How have you demonstrated that commitment, and how would you see yourself demonstrating it here?




  • Describe a work situation when your example served as a model for others.




  • Describe the climate for diversity at your present position. What impact have you had on that climate?




  • Describe a time when you tried to change the attitude and behavior of someone else.




  • Describe a time you had to make an unpopular decision.




  • Tell me about a time when you received negative feedback about the work of your team.




  • Tell me about a goal you have set in the past and how you went about achieving it.




  • Describe a situation when goals you set have guided your performance.

What to look for:








  • Sets individual and/or team objectives.




  • Delegates responsibility effectively.




  • Positively motivates others to give their best.




  • Sets positive examples of desired work behaviors.




  • Accepts accountability.




  • Sets individual and/or team objectives.








Tufts Leadership Competencies

Communicates a Compelling Vision and Direction

Definition:


  • Develops, communicates, and aligns others around a vision and strategy for the future.

  • Creates plans and initiatives that ensure the understanding and commitment of others to achieve the vision.

Interview Questions:








  • Have you ever knowingly withheld information from your employees? Tell us about it.




  • Give me an example of a strategy you developed to achieve a long or short term business need, goal, or objective.




  • Tell me about a strategic initiative or opportunity you identified and pursued.




  • Give me an example of a time when you failed to align the strategic priorities of your department/team with the strategic priorities of the organization.




  • Tell me about a time where your ability to keep your eyes on the future proved to be a benefit to your organization/department/team.




  • Tell me about a time when your industry knowledge alerted you to an upcoming challenge or opportunity, and where you were able to develop a proactive strategy to deal with it. How did you communicate this vision to your team? Was it effective?




  • Give me an example of a time you had to be excellent at multidirectional communication in order to be successful.




  • Tell me about the most difficult or complex idea or process you have ever had to explain to someone. How did you explain it? Were you successful?




  • Tell me about a sensitive or volatile situation that required very careful communication.




  • Tell me about a time you failed to communicate effectively with your direct reports/client. How did you find out that you had failed to communicate effectively? What was the implication of this failure? What did you do about the situation? What did you learn from this?




  • Tell me about a time where your vision of the future was so inspiring that you were able to convert nay-sayers into followers.




  • Describe a time when you lost track of the vision/mission/purpose of your team/department/organization and it turned out to have repercussions.




  • Give me an example of a time of low morale where you were able to motivate another person or group to achieve something that they weren’t really motivated to do achieve.




  • Tell me about a time when you provided your direct reports or a team with the things they needed to motivate themselves to an extraordinary accomplishment.



What to look for:








  • Communicates a clear picture of where the university is going.




  • Inspires and motivates by setting a direction and allowing others to take the lead in achieving that vision.




  • Involves others in identifying and achieving common goals and priorities.








Creates an Environment of Trust and Integrity

Definition:


  • Models and maintains the values of candor, openness, and inclusiveness despite internal and external pressures.

  • Consistently acts in a way that is both trustworthy and trusting.

Interview Questions:








  • Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a difference of opinion with a coworker/client/boss. How do you feel you showed respect for that person?




  • Tell me about a time when you needed to give feedback to an employee with emotional or sensitive problems.




  • Give me an example of a time when you disagreed with the views of your direct reports.




  • Describe the way you handled a specific problem involving others with differing values, ideas, and beliefs in your current/previous job.




  • Give me an example of a time that you failed to walk-the-talk at work.




  • Tell me how you have developed trust and loyalty between you and your direct reports.




  • Trust requires personal accountability. Tell me about a time when you chose to trust someone.

What to look for:








  • Follows through on commitments.




  • Consults, listens, and provides others with information.




  • Interacts with others in a manner that is straightforward, respectful and inclusive.







  • Learns from mistakes, experiences, and feedback.








Drives Results

Definition:


  • Demonstrates the ability to act in a decisive, urgent and committed way to achieve results.

  • Remains focused on the goal and leverages resources to reach that goal.

Interview Questions:








  • Describe a time when your leadership made the difference between success and failure.




  • Have you ever had to lead a group of people over whom you had no direct authority? Tell me about it.




  • Tell us about a time when you had to make an unpopular decision.




  • Have you ever been in a situation when employees were not accepting your ideas? Please tell me about the circumstances.




  • Tell us about the toughest group you had to get cooperation from.




  • Tell us about the objectives you have for your current work group.

What to look for:








  • Demonstrates a willingness to move forward despite ambiguity.




  • Shares knowledge and responsibility.




  • Takes thoughtful risks knowing that taking a risk is often better than not acting at all.




  • Shares knowledge and responsibility.




  • Establishes high standards of performance.




  • Holds others accountable for results.




  • Encourages and rewards creativity, innovation and continuous improvement.




  • Balances short-term and long-term priorities.


Manages Change

Definition:


  • Recognizes when there is a need for change and effectively manages both the areas that remain stable and those that are changing.

  • Communicates frequently and candidly during times of change.

Interview Questions:








  • Give me an example of a change you saw coming and how you planned for that change.




  • Tell me about the most difficult change you have had to make in your professional career. How did you manage the change?




  • Give me an example of a time when you missed the early signs of employee resistance to an organizational change. How did you handle it?




  • Describe a time when you felt you that a planned change was inappropriate. What did you do? What were the results?




  • Tell me about a time when you led a change effort.




  • Describe a time when you were involved in a change effort that was not as successful as you or the organization would have liked. How could it have been handled differently?




  • Give me an example of a time you had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of the change on you? On your team? How did you support your team through it?




  • Give me an example of a time when you helped a direct report or other person in the organization accept change and make the necessary adjustments to move forward. What were the change/transitions skills that you used?




  • Describe a situation where you, at first, resisted a change at work and later accepted it. What specifically changed your mind?

What to look for:








  • Demonstrates tolerance and adaptability when dealing with ambiguous situations.




  • Anticipates and integrates emerging technologies into the organizational processes.




  • Initiates plans to accomplish organizational goals while meeting the challenges of a fast-changing environment.




  • Develops plans and strategies to effectively manage current and future challenges and opportunities.




  • Assesses the tolerance of self and others for change.




  • Communicates to those stakeholders affected by changes, and addresses their questions, concerns, and need for information.




  • Deals with setbacks by being resilient and flexible.




  • Creates a shared responsibility among team members by involving them in critical deliberations and decisions as appropriate.


Develops Relationships with a University Focus

Definition:


  • Demonstrates the ability to build alignment and commitment within and across functions to achieve common goals.

  • Maintains a broad set of solid relationships in the university and beyond.

  • Actively champions the needs and goals of the university.

Interview Questions:








  • Tell me about a time when you needed to accomplish something through an informal network.




  • Describe a time where your ability to understand an organization’s culture helped you develop the relationships and partnerships you needed to accomplish something that had to be done.




  • Describe for me a time you developed and maintained (or strengthened) a relationship with a person or group inside your organization. Why did you develop the relationship? How did you develop it? What did you do to maintain /strengthen it?




  • Most things we do have an impact on others – whether we realize it or not. Tell me about a time you realized that what you would be working on could have a far reaching impact, and you sought out relevant/appropriate people to gather their concerns and perspective before you proceed with the task.




  • Tell me about a time when you needed to gain the trust and support of one of your peers in order for something to be successful.




  • Describe a time you developed and maintained (or strengthened) a relationship with a person or group inside your organization. Why did you develop the relationship? How did you develop it? What did you do to maintain/strengthen it?




  • Describe a time you developed and maintained (or strengthened) a relationship with a person or group outside your organization. Why did you develop the relationship? How did you develop it? What did you do to maintain/strengthen it?




  • Tell me about a time you got involved in a cross-functional activity simply to develop a better working relationship with those involved in the activity.




  • Give me an example of a time when you wished you would have spent some time looking for common ground with stakeholders before you took a particular action.

What to look for:








  • Willingly makes difficult resource decisions in implementing university strategy.




  • Considers the impact of decisions on other parts of the university community.




  • Creates a free flow of information and seeks to understand others’ points of view.




  • Seeks to understand others’ points of view.




  • Has the courage to surface and resolve conflicts in a timely and constructive manner.




  • Uses influence positively and skillfully to initiate action, impact decisions, and obtain resources and approvals.




  • Balances the needs and input of all involved stakeholders while displaying a bias for action and personal ownership of the decision.




  • Develops and encourages all team members to work collaboratively within and across functions.




  • Continues to ensure strong academic and administrative partnering toward shared goals.


Develops self and others

Definition:


  • Values continuous learning by fostering a climate for the learning and development of self and others.



Interview Questions:








  • Actively plans for the development of all employees that will strengthen current and future capabilities and enable them to contribute fully.




  • Describe a time you were able to motivate your staff to accomplish a difficult objective.




  • Have you ever disciplined an employee? Tell me about it?




  • What behaviors do you show in order to lead by example? Please provide specific examples.




  • Describe a time when careful and persistent coaching allowed an employee of yours to perform well.




  • Tell us about a person who was promoted as a result of your coaching efforts.




  • Give us some examples of when you have trained your employees to assume more responsibilities.




  • Tell us about a time when you recognized a skill deficiency in an employee when others had missed it.




  • Some people are more difficult to work with than others. Give me an example of how you have worked with the most difficult direct report and how that differed from how you worked with the most accommodating direct report.




  • Give me an example of a time when you had to talk to a direct report about their performance and were able to turn that employee around.




  • Tell me about a time you needed to terminate an employee for performance problems. How long between determining there was a problem and termination?

What to look for:








  • Models the behaviors identified in the Organizational and Leadership Competency Models.




  • Takes responsibility for developing professional expertise that adds value to the university’s success.




  • Gives employees honest and clear feedback regarding strengths, weaknesses and areas for development. Provides regular coaching and guidance for employees so they can improve their performance.




  • Reflects on own successes and failures and identifies lessons learned for future application.




  • Encourages employees to reflect on their successes and failures and identify lessons.




  • Actively plans for the development of all employees that will strengthen current and future capabilities and enable them to contribute fully.



Interviewing Techniques for Effective Hiring

Tufts Human Resources: Training Learning & Development



Version Date: July 2015 Page


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