8 Adaptability Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

During an interview, the hiring manager may ask you a series of questions about your competency and soft skills. One soft skill that they may be especially interested in is your ability to be adaptable in the workplace. Studying examples of adaptability questions that employers may ask can help you prepare for your interviews. In this article, we share eight adaptability interview questions and sample answers.

Related: 7 Personality Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

8 adaptability interview questions

Below are examples of adaptability interview questions and sample answers:

1. Are you someone who can adapt to different work environments?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you're comfortable working in different environments, especially if you're interviewing for a freelance position, a position at a start-up firm or a role that requires travel. When answering this question, show the interviewer that you thrive in dynamic environments. Consider sharing the different work environments that you've worked at before and how you managed to adapt to them.

Example: "I would definitely say I'm someone who can easily adapt to different work environments. In one of my previous positions, I worked in a very dynamic environment along with the CEO and other members of the team.

At my other position, I travelled quite frequently between Hong Kong and China to liaise with different factories. I enjoyed the exposure I had with different people and languages. I found that by making an effort to connect with the staff at each place, I could more easily adjust to each new environment. Getting to know the culture and processes of each work environment was also an important part of adapting."

2. Have you introduced new procedures at your previous jobs or have you encouraged your team members to adopt new practices?

An interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to develop new ideas and to see if you can not only adapt to changes but also lead others to adopt new innovations. There are two parts to this question and make sure that you address each part in your answer.

Example: "At my previous post, I developed a customer management system (CMS) that helped the business communicate with their customers more conveniently using a single software. I noticed that the company was losing out on prospective customers because they couldn't find their enquiry messages easily or because they didn't have enough manpower to respond to every message. I proposed a detailed plan for the CMS that I had in mind and got approval from the CEO and COO to put it in place. Now, because of this new system, the conversion rate from enquiries to customers raised by 15%.

After developing the CMS, I hosted about six training sessions in three weeks to train all the staff in the company on how to use the system. By the end of the sessions, the staff reported being more confident in using the system."

3. What are some challenges you experience when starting a new job?

This is an adaptability competency question. Interviewers may ask this question to understand how quickly a candidate can adapt to a new position and a new work culture. They want to see that you can welcome new challenges and find ways to overcome them. In your answer, list one or two specific areas that you find challenging when you start a new job. Then, explain how you adjust to them, emphasising your positive attitude.

Example: "When starting a new job, I find that the most challenging part is to gauge the management's expectations in the quality and quantity of work from me. I put my best in everything that I do and I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I find myself thinking about whether the work that I do can meet or exceed the expectations of my immediate supervisor and top management. I try to overcome this challenge by communicating about goals and expectations openly and honestly with my supervisor before starting on a project."

Related: 13 Competency-Based Interview Questions and How to Prepare

4. What do you do when you face an obstacle that keeps you from accomplishing your goals?

This is a question that employers may ask to understand how flexible a candidate is in dealing with problems. To answer this question, first, give a brief outline of the obstacle you faced in your previous work experience. Then, provide the details of the approach that you took to overcome the obstacle.

Example: "When I was working as a sales executive in my previous company, one of my team members resigned unexpectedly at a time that our sales manager assigned us an ambitious sales target. My other teammate and I had to take up the list of sales calls from the person to meet the target.

Previously, we used to spend about an hour and 30 minutes on average on a sales call. But now we wanted to fit more sales calls in our schedules to make up for the person who had resigned. My teammate and I worked on optimising our sales pitches to make them short, succinct and persuasive. This allowed us to minimise the time we spent on sales meetings by 30 minutes and allowed us to reach more customers. Ultimately, we hit pretty close to the sales target."

Related: 4 Situational Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

5. How do you cope with any changing processes and circumstances at work?

This is an interview question that employers may ask to discover how well you can keep your productivity and motivation during times of change. In your answer, make sure to highlight your resilient and positive attitude towards change.

Example: "When it comes to changes in work processes, I try to make sure I understand the intent behind the change, the goal of the change and the details of the changes that have taken place. I feel that I am able to respond more positively to changes when I understand the root of the change and how I can best use the changes to make sure I meet my goals and complete my projects."

6. Tell me about a time you had to learn a new task at work. What did you do to speed up the learning process?

This question gives interviewers more insight into your learning capabilities. They want to see that you have the ability to catch onto things quickly. When explaining your example, use the STAR method. This means that you describe a situation that occurred, the tasks that needed to be done, the actions you took and the results you achieved.

Example: "In my previous role, the IT department switched us to a new content management system. While some of the writers were apprehensive about this change, I was eager to learn a new system, especially if it's going to make our workflow more efficient.

Since I knew the sooner I learned this system, the sooner I could get to work, I took it upon myself to ask the IT department to host a training session. They agreed, and many of the writers were thankful for this idea. By paying attention to the session and looking through supplementary materials, I had a working knowledge of the system within one workday."

7. How do you adjust your working style in different settings?

This adaptability interview question helps employers gauge your ability to work well independently and with others. In your answer, make sure to explain in which situations you work well independently and how you adapt your working style to fit a group setting.

Example: "I would say I'm quite flexible in adapting my working style to be effective in different settings. When working by myself, I find that I am quite logical and detail-oriented. When working with others, I try to be more mindful of people's emotions and the bigger picture. Since I understand that everyone has different working styles, I find it important to be able to adjust my working style when I'm collaborating with others. I find that doing so helps me achieve the company's goals better."

8. How did you deal with a situation where someone asked you to do something outside of your job description?

Employers may ask this question when they want to understand how open and flexible you are in learning new things and taking up opportunities. It's common for employers to ask you to help in areas that are outside of your official job description, especially if you work in a start-up firm. In this case, it's a good idea to share a real-life example using the STAR method. Choose an example that shows you're willing to be flexible in order to help your team.

Example: "My previous company experienced rapid growth this past summer and my manager asked if I would be willing to help her onboard two new employees. While I had never trained employees before, I saw this as a great opportunity to help my team. I made these new employees extensive training documents and answered any questions that they had. My manager was quite happy with how quickly they adapted to the company culture, telling me this was the most successful training programme she had ever seen."

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