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Classic Interview Questions and Answers

How quickly can you adapt to a new work environment?

Alternative and related questions:

How long does it generally take you to settle into a new environment?
How long do you feel it will take you to make an impact in your new job?

The meaning behind the question:

Whenever someone takes up a new role it will inevitably take them some time to settle in. If you’ve been in your previous job for a number of years then it can be quite a shock to the system starting a new job – and you’d be surprised how many employees walk out within their first week! The interviewer isn’t necessarily asking you for a precise timescale as to how long you’ll take to settle in. What they really want from you is evidence that you understand the upheaval involved in changing jobs and that you are prepared for this and will consequently adapt to your new situation as quickly as possible.

Your answer:

Above all, you must convey to the interviewer that you are able to adapt quickly to new circumstances. However, more than that, you should attempt to convey why you will be able to adapt quickly to new circumstances. It’s all very well to say that you will adapt quickly but it doesn’t mean very much unless you can back up your statement with some convincing evidence.

The best way to handle this is to refer to your current or previous job and how quickly you were able to settle in there.

If this is your first job then you could instead refer to how you handled the start of your degree course – or how you settled into your last school.


I believe I’m very good at adapting to changes in my circumstances. While every organisation is different and no two jobs I’ve had have ever been the same, the core requirements of my role don’t change. I appreciate that there will inevitably be new procedures that I need to absorb and adhere to – and it also takes time to forge positive working relationships with new colleagues. However, I don’t anticipate it taking very long at all before I’m fully up to speed and making a major contribution. When I took up my current role, I’d been with my previous employers for more than five years. It was clearly a major change for me. I nevertheless settled in very quickly, got to know my colleagues and to understand the way the organisation worked – and I already felt quite at home before the end of my first month.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

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More classic interview questions and answers


How would you describe yourself? / How would your boss/colleagues/team/family/friends describe you?

In what ways are you a team player?

Do you work well on your own initiative?

What techniques do you use to get things done?

What motivates you?

Are you proactive?

Are you creative?

Are you a risk-taker?

How do you handle pressure and stress?

Can you tell me about a time when you have failed to achieve a goal?

What's the worst mistake you've made at work and how did you deal with it?

How would you handle the following situation?

Can you tell me about a major project you have successfully completed?

Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you've had to deal with?

We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?

What do you do when you disagree with your line manager?

How would you describe yourself as a manager?

Can you give me an example of when you have successfully coached a member of your team?

What is your customer service philosophy?

How did you get your last job?

What does your current job involve on a day-to-day basis?

What contribution do you make to the department in which you work?

What changes have you made to your current job role since you started?

What have you learned in your last job?

Can you tell me about your last appraisal?

How would you describe your current boss?

Why did you leave that job?

Which of your jobs was the best?

Why is there a gap in your resume/CV?

What do you know about us as an organisation?

What do you know about our products/services?

What do you think are our organisation's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

What do you know about the vacancy for which you are applying?

How do your skills and experience match the job description/person specification?

What appeals to you most about this vacancy?

Why have you chosen this line of work?

Are there any other organisations to which you are applying?

How does this job compare to others for which you are applying?

Can you describe your ideal employer to me?

What sort of person would you most like to work for?

In what ways is your degree relevant to the work you are now doing?

What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?

What sports are you/have you been involved in?

Do you know what the current headline news is?

How quickly can you adapt to a new work environment?

Would it be a problem if we asked you to work overtime/evenings/weekends?

What is your current salary package?

What salary package are you expecting for this role?

When would you be available to start?

Do you mind if we contact your current employer for a reference?