Interview questions about flexibility are incredibly common because they provide a lot of valuable information about who you are as an employee.
So you need to be ready to answer them effectively.
This list goes over the typical questions about flexibility that you’ll get asked in an interview, and the approach you should take with your answers.
1. How do you handle hurdles and challenges at work?
Unexpected hurdles can occur anytime, throwing you off your typical work pace and forcing you to think creatively for a resolution. Part of being flexible is being comfortable facing those challenges with confidence. Instead of crumbling, you must find workarounds that benefit the bottom line.
This interview question about flexibility gets asked because it offers great insight into how you respond to the unknowns of your job. It shows them how you react and what steps you take to overcome issues that could otherwise derail your productivity.
The best approach is to share a professional or educational challenge in your answer. Tell a story and focus on your adaptability. Go into detail about how you resolved the situation and the positive impact of your actions.
2. Are you able to operate outside of your preferred work style? Can you share an example?
Everyone has their preferred work style. However, how you work may not align with the company’s operations. Are you willing to adapt?
At its core, this question helps interviewers learn about your willingness to be flexible to ensure that they’re a good fit. Candidates who are stuck in their ways and too rigid to change may have issues if hired. Hiring managers want individuals who can go outside their comfort zone and adjust as needed.
Choose an experience from your past that illustrates your flexibility as it relates to your work style. It can be about a job requiring you to completely change your work style or a few one-off projects that force you to adapt. Whatever the case, emphasize your flexibility.
Talk about the steps you took and what you learned. The goal is to show that needing to adjust is not a deal-breaker.
3. Can you share a time when you had an important deadline change? How did you handle this?
Priorities can shift, no matter what job you have. If the position you’re interviewing for operates on strict deadlines, hiring managers may be keen on learning how you respond to situations where things change.
It’s common for project priorities to shift at the last minute, forcing you to recalibrate and focus on other tasks. They can move back, but they can also move forward, resulting in sudden pressure to get all your work done.
This interview question about flexibility is an excellent opportunity to display your time management skills. Interviewers want to hear about how you react and what steps you take to adjust your work schedule.
Choose a moment from your past and focus your answer on what you did to still meet your deadlines. Refrain from saying anything that implies stress or frustration. Aim to keep things positive and frame your response around your approach.
4. How do you stay up to date on current industry trends and developments?
It doesn’t matter whether you work in finance or tech. Industries evolve over time, and what was relevant a decade ago may not be now. All of your core skills and experience still apply, but interviewers want reassurance that you stay updated on changes as they come.
Lack of interest in industry-wide developments shows a bit of inflexibility. It also may indicate resistance to change. This will not only harm your success in the field, but it can also negatively impact your contributions to your company.
Think about how industry trends changed how you work. It could be new software that makes your life easier or new processes that are starkly different from what they were in the past. Discuss how you adapted, and reassure interviewers that you stay in the loop.
5. Have you gone through any training or certification programs outside of work?
Hiring managers love to hear about how job candidates continue to develop their skills. It’s not enough to have a degree and a few years of experience under your belt. Continued development shows that you have aspirations and aren’t afraid to invest in your future.
Someone who pursues additional training and certification shows a lot of promise to hiring managers. Those are the people they want to bring in because they know your ongoing career development can benefit the organization moving forward. You might bring in new skills the company can take advantage of.
If you don’t have any additional training and certification to speak of, it’s a good idea to get started. You don’t have to invest in full classes or degree programs. Even learning new software platforms or improving soft skills can help.
6. How do you deal with changes you can’t control?
The best way to answer this question about flexibility is to show confidence and adaptability when faced with these kinds of situations. While you might have a say in how you do things, other factors are out of your hands and the hands of your direct supervisors.
Interviewers want to know that you’re reasonable and adjustable.
It’s easy to get negative when answering this question, so you’ll need to choose your words wisely. Avoid bad-mouthing any former employers or implying that you resist changes you can’t control or don’t agree with.
The aim is to put your flexibility on full display. Let interviewers know that you will adjust, and provide examples to help them envision you in that scenario.
7. Are you able to work in a fast-paced work environment? Can you share an example of when you did this in the past?
Some jobs can feel chaotic. Fast-paced work environments force you to stay on your toes, adapt to changes, and find solutions quickly and efficiently.
This question aims to make sure that you don’t crack under pressure or get stuck in your comfort zone. You need to adjust quickly in these workplace scenarios, and interviewers want to know you have what it takes to succeed under pressure.
When delivering your response, talk about an experience that fits the mold of a fast-paced work environment. Focus on the skills you relied on to remain productive. Show them how you balance shifting priorities and succeed during chaotic times.
8. What’s the biggest change you’ve had to deal with at work?
With this question, interviewers don’t want to hear about minor changes like a new time-tracking procedure. They want to hear about major changes that force you to put your flexibility to the test.
You can talk about times when there was a substantial management shakeup, a change in organization ownership, or when you had to move to a brand-new city for your job.
These changes are extreme, and they’re big enough to make even the most flexible worker crack. Your goal is to illustrate that you can face any challenge and embrace new things.
Emphasize the importance of the change you experienced before going into the steps you took to mold yourself to fit the new norm.
9. Tell me about a time when you showed flexibility at work.
Here’s one of the most straightforward interview questions about flexibility that you can hear. The interviewer is telling you exactly what they want to hear. They’re inviting you to tell them about an experience where adaptability was key to your success.
You have many ways to answer this question. One option is to discuss a major change that requires you to adjust your work style or approach. Another option is to talk about one-off experiences that challenged you and forced you to change your outlook on the job.
Either way, address the necessary skills interviewers want to learn with this question. Highlight your flexibility, put your problem-solving skills on display, and make it known that you’re willing to adjust to any work environment.
10. How do you balance multiple projects and responsibilities?
Having multiple priorities in the workplace is common. You may have a core job, but other projects and responsibilities will have you juggling several things at once.
What do you do to ensure you complete all your work without losing your cool?
Finding the right balance to manage every responsibility isn’t easy. For some people, it causes constant stress, diminishing returns, and waning productivity.
When you answer this question, highlight your flexibility and time management skills. Share moments when you had to stay on top of several responsibilities and how you got it all done. Focus on those strategies to reassure hiring managers that you can handle your fair share of work with a calm demeanor.
11. How do you collaborate with coworkers who have a different work style than you?
One aspect of your career that will always challenge you is dealing with personalities and work styles that don’t align with your own. Collaboration is critical in many industries. As a result, you’ll encounter people you simply don’t mesh well with.
That’s alright. But what’s not is being too stuck in your ways that you can’t effectively work with others.
Interviewers ask this question about flexibility because they want to learn more about how you manage different work styles and personalities. They want reassurance that you can overcome those differences, adjust to the people you’re working with, and find success regardless of your differences.
Be sure your answer includes an example of a time you worked things out with a coworker. Walk through the steps you took to reach a mutual agreement and what you learned from that experience.
12. What are your weaknesses, and what are you doing to address them?
No employee is perfect. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are or how many years of experience you have. Everyone has weaknesses.
While no one likes to bring them up during a job interview, this isn’t a “gotcha” moment. Interviewers genuinely want to hear about your weaknesses because it highlights your self-awareness and confidence.
More importantly, they want to know that you aren’t complacent. Hiring managers prefer to bring people on who are willing to adapt to the things they aren’t great at and take steps to overcome the hurdles they encounter.
Talk about your weaknesses honestly and bring up what you’re doing to improve. It’s best to avoid talking about a weakness that is a key part of the role you are interviewing for. For example, don’t say your weakness is attention to detail if you are pursuing a job in accounting. And focus on what you are doing to overcome your weakness. That could be taking classes to enhance a core skill or exposing yourself to more opportunities on the job.
13. How do you get up to speed when starting a new job?
Starting a new job can be overwhelming. It takes time to adjust, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You need to get into the swing of things, learn how the new company operates, and understand how you fit into the big picture.
It requires flexibility!
Interviewers use this question to understand your thought process and see how well you adapt to a brand-new environment. Think about your first few weeks at your last job. What did you do to get up to speed?
The best approach for answering this question is to talk about being proactive. Discuss what you do to get familiar quickly and how you adjust to ramp up as soon as possible. You can even include a story of how you quickly came up to speed in your last role to back up your answer.
14. Have you ever been given a responsibility outside of your role at work? What did you do?
Throughout the course of your career, you may get asked to do something that’s outside the boundaries of your role. For example, you may have to work on projects you don’t normally contribute to or handle last-minute responsibilities that usually fall to someone else.
No employer expects you to be a master of something you’ve never done before, but they want you to take the initiative and adapt as best you can. That’s what this question about flexibility highlights.
Choose an experience that pushed you out of your comfort zone. Talk about your responsibilities and how the new challenge forced you to take a different approach. Then, discuss your steps to accomplish your goals and complete the duty.
15. Are you comfortable receiving criticism?
Criticism can come in many forms. In the workplace, it’s meant to be constructive. However, some people don’t take it well.
When responding to this question, your goal is to show you’re not one of those people. Interviewers want to know that you’re not just willing to accept criticism but also use it as an opportunity to grow.
The best employees use criticism to develop their skills further and make improvements that matter.
Choose an experience from your past where you took the criticism to heart. Discuss why that criticism was important, what you did to address it, and how it’s positively impacted your work performance since.
Being prepared to answer these interview questions about flexibility will give you a leg up on the competition. Being adaptable is an incredibly valuable skill to have in the workplace, so you want to demonstrate that as much as possible!
Read through these and practice your answers before your interview. You’ll be glad you did!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.