What Challenges Have You Overcome?: 11 Answers (2023)

How should you answer the interview question “what challenges have you overcome?”

To help you best respond to the interview question “what challenges have you overcome?,” we asked hiring managers and business leaders this question for their best insights. From using a professional and personal example to telling a story that focuses on a lesson you learned, there are several ways to bring your positive and problem-solving attributes to the fore in answering the interview question “what challenges have you overcome?”.

Here are 11 answers to the interview question “what challenges have you overcome?”:

  • Use a Professional and Personal Example
  • Provide Examples Where You Multitasked Effectively
  • Speak to How You Stayed Calm Under Pressure
  • Keep a Positive Tone as You Show Invaluable Lessons Learned From Your Challenges
  • Showcase Your Patience With Examples of How You Dealt With Difficult Customers
  • Tell a Personal Story to Keep Your Answer to The Point
  • Focus On Challenges that Are Unique to You
  • Be Authentic With One Example of How You Overcame a Challenge
  • Discuss a Specific Challenge Including Actions Taken and The Results
  • Relate The Challenge to The Job You’re Applying for
  • Tell a Story to Focus On a Lesson That You Learned

Use a Professional and Personal Example

This is a question to show you can overcome challenges. Most will go to a personal struggle they had to persevere through, but it is important to show the employer you can overcome challenges at work in the same manner. This is a pretty common interview question so be sure to prep these two examples to discuss when this interview question arises. That way you have covered this question from all angles and will alleviate any doubt that you can handle challenges in a professional context.

Mark Smith, University of Advancing Technology

Provide Examples Where You Multitasked Effectively

Provide examples of times when you had many deadlines to achieve in a short time frame (as well as how you pulled it off). When answering this question, you always want to present yourself in a positive light. Focusing on how you developed multitasking skills lets a potential employer know that you have the mental capacity to juggle multiple projects simultaneously, which is a trait many companies are looking for.

Jae Pak, Jae Pak MD Medical

Speak to How You Stayed Calm Under Pressure

The best way to answer any question your potential employer poses about overcoming challenges is to speak to your ability to stay calm under pressure. This answer shows you can take control of any situation. Employers need to know how a potential employee can handle a stressful situation. A challenge you overcame is the perfect place to emphasize this trait.

(Video) How to Answer: Describe A Challenge or Conflict You Overcame (+ Example Answers)

Phillip Akhzar, Arka

Keep a Positive Tone as You Show Invaluable Lessons Learned From Your Challenges

Make sure to maintain a positive tone when answering this question. Of course, we have all experienced difficult periods at work, but to show that you are a resilient person and that you would be a pleasant person to work with, you should show that you learned invaluable lessons through overcoming your challenges. If you come across as too much of a complainer or a victim when describing the challenges you have endured, this could be a turnoff to the interviewer.

Drew Sherman, Carvaygo

What Challenges Have You Overcome?: 11 Answers (1)

Showcase Your Patience With Examples of How You Dealt With Difficult Customers

“I’ve overcome working with difficult clients with my patience intact.” Patience is a coveted virtue. Those who lack said trait often lack self-control in dealing with others as well. Therefore, this answer can make you an attractive candidate but might also spark interest in specifics. Prepare prior to the interview by recalling a time you successfully dealt with tough customers or ornery clients. You should be able to think of at least one! Let your patience shine as nobody wants to work with jerks!

Erin Banta, Pepper

(Video) What Challenges Have You Faced and How Do You Overcome Them?

What Challenges Have You Overcome?: 11 Answers (2)

Tell a Personal Story to Keep Your Answer to The Point

To keep your interview answer clear and to the point when asked about a challenge you have overcome, I recommend using the CAR format (Cause, Action, Result) to respond through a personal story. First, set the context of your response, then demonstrate a specific example of the challenge and how you were able to overcome it. Within your answer, be sure to highlight skills and abilities that you demonstrated which also align with what the interviewer is looking for. The final piece of your response should be what you learned from that experience, and how you continue to apply these new insights in your work.

Marilyn Zubak, Snif

Focus On Challenges that Are Unique to You

When it comes to questions regarding difficulties you have faced in life, it is best to focus on challenges that are unique to you. You can think about this question as a way for you to separate yourself from the other applicants. By thinking of something outside the box, you are able to show the interviewer what makes you different. And remember: don’t hold back. No two people are alike, so it is important to share your challenges, even if you think they might be insignificant to others.

Gerald Lombardo, The Word Counter

Be Authentic With One Example of How You Overcame a Challenge

The best answer would depend on each person and their life. You should answer it with authenticity. Don’t overwhelm the interviewer with a lot of problems or challenges. Just pick one and tell how you overcame it. Be positive in your story. You aren’t trying to evoke pity but are trying to convey that you have mental endurance and a will to overcome any obstacle.


Steve Mascarin, Taunton Village Dental

Discuss a Specific Challenge Including Actions Taken and The Results

When interviewers ask this question, they want to see how you have handled difficult situations in the past. They want to know if you can overcome obstacles and persevere through tough times. To answer this question effectively, you should discuss a specific challenge you have faced and conquered. Describe the situation, what action you took, and what the results were. Be sure to focus on your positive qualities, such as determination, resilience, and perseverance.

For example, you might say: “I once had to take on a project alone when the team I was working on was disbanded. It was a lot of work, but I didn’t give up. Instead, I organized my time and worked diligently until the project was completed successfully.”

By sharing a story of a time when you overcame adversity, you can show the interviewer that you can handle challenges and come out victorious. This will give them confidence in your abilities and increase your chances of being hired for the job.

Lukasz Zelezny, SEO Consultant London

Relate The Challenge to The Job You’re Applying for

The best way to answer is to think of challenges that you were able to overcome and the trait that best relates to that outcome. Be sure to build on a trait that would be relevant to the position you’re applying for. For example, in a customer service position, patience is an important trait to have to provide excellent customer service. Briefly explain the situation and how, in this case being patient, was achieved and how this trait successfully impacted the experience for the customer.

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Lyudmyla Dobrynina, Optimeal

Use a Story to Focus On a Lesson That You Learned

Focus on a lesson you learned, tell the story, and be authentic; this keeps the interviewer engaged and builds trust. When this question arises, you may want to list a few general challenges, then take the interviewer through a short yet meaningful slice of one challenge you have faced. Be authentic about what you experienced amid this challenge. Touching on mental shifts through inner dialogue from the beginning, middle, and end of the situation displays your ability to reflect, be forward-thinking, and self-develop.

Ashlee Wakefield, MadeMan

What Challenges Have You Overcome?: 11 Answers (3)

Post Views: 722


What are the challenges to overcome? ›

Seven Challenges Smart People Overcome
  • Age.
  • What Other People Think.
  • Toxic People.
  • Fear.
  • Negativity.
  • The Past or the Future.
  • The State of the World.

What is the biggest challenge you would face in this role answer? ›

For example, you could say: “the biggest challenge will be getting to know the members of the team. I'm used to working with a large and diverse team and thrive on finding the best in my colleagues.” Or: “the biggest challenge in this job is keeping pace with technological change in this industry.

How do you overcome challenges at work? ›

How to overcome challenges in the workplace
  1. Quick navigation.
  2. Stay level-headed in the moment.
  3. Say “I can” when you think you can't.
  4. Don't dwell on the problem.
  5. Divide the challenge into smaller pieces.
  6. Create a positive self-perception.
  7. Don't be afraid to admit mistakes.
  8. Your manager has overloaded you with work.

What are the 5 challenges and ways to overcome? ›

10 Ways to Overcome Challenges in Life
  • 1. Make A Plan. While you don't know what is going to happen in the future, you can always plan ahead. ...
  • Know You're Not Alone. Every person in this world has their low points. ...
  • Ask For Help. ...
  • Feel Your Feelings. ...
  • Accept Support. ...
  • Help Others. ...
  • Think Big. ...
  • Positive Mindset.

What are the 5 challenges in life? ›

Success comes to those that can overcome these five tough challenges.
  • A Change in Relationships. Whether it is a love lost or falling out of touch with a friend, relationships change throughout your life. ...
  • The Opinions of Others. ...
  • Your chronological age. ...
  • The Emotion of Fear. ...
  • Failure.

What is your biggest challenge in life? ›

6 Life Challenges You Need to Grow Through
  1. Loss. Whether you lose your job, an opportunity, or a relationship – loss is an inevitable part of life. ...
  2. Failure. There is not a single person alive who hasn't experienced failure. ...
  3. Setbacks. ...
  4. Moral Compass. ...
  5. Mastering Your Mind. ...
  6. Overcoming Your Story.
Nov 18, 2022

What are some examples of challenges? ›

Top 10 Personal Challenges
  • Run a marathon. ...
  • Take on a charity challenge. ...
  • Exercise your brain. ...
  • Surprise yourself. ...
  • Volunteer yourself. ...
  • Get a new job/seek promotion. ...
  • Overcome a fear. ...
  • Climb a famous peak.

What are some difficult challenges? ›

Being prepared to face challenges is what it means to learn and grow.
10 Difficult Life Situations and How to Get Through It
  • Quarter-life, Midlife Crisis. ...
  • Breakups. ...
  • Changing Friendship. ...
  • Failures. ...
  • Divorce. ...
  • Losing a Job. ...
  • Getting Older. ...
  • Getting Injured, Falling Sick.
Nov 22, 2022

How do you overcome challenges to goal achievement? ›

How to Deal With Obstacles to Stay on Track Toward Your Goals
  1. Anticipate possible obstacles to be ready for them. ...
  2. Set accountable goals – and revise them as needed. ...
  3. Find an accountability partner. ...
  4. Journal your way through the problem. ...
  5. Reframe obstacles as learning opportunities.
Apr 26, 2017

What is the biggest challenge in work? ›

1. Problems with communication and relationships. Just as in any other aspect of life, strong working relationships really matter. Not only do they help overcome stress and improve mental health in the workplace, they also contribute to a professional workplace environment and underpin positive employee behaviour.

What was the biggest obstacle you have overcome? ›

8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful
  • Perfection. One of the most common obstacles we face is the need for perfection. ...
  • Fear. ...
  • Lack of Clarity. ...
  • Making Comparisons. ...
  • Untamed Inner Monologue. ...
  • Unclear Boundaries. ...
  • Unreasonable Expectations. ...
  • Unreasonable Definition of Success.
Feb 19, 2021

What are your top 3 challenges at work? ›

What are some common workplace challenges?
  • Lack of communication. ...
  • Performance issues. ...
  • Lack of employee recognition. ...
  • Lack of transparency in leadership. ...
  • Motivation and engagement levels. ...
  • Conflict management.
3 days ago

What are personal challenges? ›

A personal challenge is a challenge that's just for you; no other participants. It typically is geared around goals you set for yourself. Personal challenges can be easier to establish than group challenges because there's only one person to coordinate with.

What are the challenges in life as a student? ›

Common Issues
  • Social anxiety, general anxiety, test anxiety, or panic attacks.
  • Family expectations or problems.
  • Depression, lack of energy or motivation, hopelessness, being overwhelmed, low self-esteem, homesickness, loneliness.
  • Relationship difficulties (emotional and physical aspects of intimate relationships)

What five things can you do to successfully face daily challenges? ›

7 Strategies to Face Life's Challenges
  • Turn Toward Reality. ...
  • Embrace Your Life as It Is Rather Than as You Wish It to Be. ...
  • Take Your Time. ...
  • Practice Gratitude. ...
  • Stay Close to Your Feelings, Even the Painful Ones. ...
  • Accept Success and Failure as Part of Life's Journey. ...
  • Tend to Your Loving Relationships.
Dec 17, 2014

How do you overcome school challenges? ›

This article is about the challenges in school and tips for overcoming them.
  1. Be a good time manager.
  2. Make wise choices when choosing friends.
  3. Consider your constantly changing relationships.
  4. Report bullying and threats to someone.
  5. Eliminate distractions.
  6. Maintain a positive attitude.
  7. Be prepared.
  8. Be honest with your family.
Jul 28, 2022

What are examples of challenging experiences? ›

5 Challenging Experiences That Strengthen Your Leadership Skills
  • Illness. Coping with an illness not only gives you emotional drive, but also spiritual endurance. ...
  • Loss of a Someone You Love. ...
  • Failure. ...
  • Betrayal of a Friend. ...
  • Shattered Dreams.
Mar 14, 2017

What is the biggest challenge in your life during this pandemic? ›

Depression and anxiety run high”. Working from home environment: “Work is not work; home is not home”. Many people found time issues to be the biggest concern when trying to work from home.

Can you tell me about a time you overcame a difficult work situation? ›

Some examples of situations you can discuss include: A time when you dealt with a lot of customer complaints and how you rectified the issue. A time when you had to work long hours to meet a deadline. A time when you had to deal with a difficult colleague when working on a project.

What are the challenges you face as a student and how do you overcome them? ›

So, in this article, I have written about the students' challenges and some tips to overcome them.
  • Time Management. Time management for students is a universal problem. ...
  • Distance Relation with Parents. ...
  • Adjustment Problems. ...
  • Food Botheration. ...
  • Home Sickness. ...
  • Depression. ...
  • Distractions. ...
  • Some Effective Tips.
Jul 17, 2021


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