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How to Answer "Tell Me About Something New You Learned at Work"

by Lisa McQuerrey, studioD

Some employers use a behavioral interviewing technique with jobseekers to learn more about past behaviors as a predictor for future actions. Questions often invite you to share examples of previous experiences that helped shape you into the professional you are today. In particular, you might be asked questions about how you learned different skills, developed traits or created effective coping mechanisms through hands-on work experience.


Hiring managers like to hear stories about how you learned new teamwork and collaboration skills through group work projects. Describe a time when you were up against difficult circumstances, like a tight deadline or limited budget, and brainstormed ideas with other team members about how to proceed with the project despite obstacles. Emphasize the value of collaboration and using individual skill sets for the greater good. If you took on a leadership role in this endeavor, expand on it, because it establishes you as someone who can take control and see a project through to completion.


An employer wants to know you have the ability to effectively evaluate a problem or situation and make a rational and educated determination about the best way to proceed. Share an example of a time you were faced with several options and had to weigh the pros and cons of each. Describe the thought process that went into making a final determination about the most prudent path to follow. Give details about the outcome and the positive impact it had on the business. Highlight what you learned in the process and how it helped you in subsequent professional situations.

Conflict Resolution

Regardless of the type of position you're applying for, conflict resolution skills are important, whether you're dealing with co-workers, employees or clients. Describe a time when you were at odds with someone else and how you approached the problem, looked for ways to compromise, and eventually resolved the dispute to everyone's satisfaction. Focus on how you’ve learned to be fair and equitable while maintaining your professionalism in the process.


Every role in a company uses compromise skills in daily work situations. Describe past examples of how you collaborated, compromised and worked in tandem with colleagues to achieve a positive outcome for your employer. Explain how you learned, through experience, to read personalities, accurately judge situations and make a determination of what you're willing to negotiate on, as well as what you refuse to compromise.

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

Photo Credits

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