How to Answer: Tell Me About a Time You Overcame a Challenge

As a flight attendant applicant, you know that the airline industry is competitive. One of the questions you may encounter during job interviews is: “Tell me about a challenge at work you faced and overcame recently.” This may seem like a tough question, but it’s actually an opportunity for you to showcase your problem-solving skills and highlight your resilience.

The interviewer is asking you to share an example of a difficult situation in the workplace that you overcame. This can be a task, project, or problem that required perseverance and hard work from you to complete successfully. It’s important to think about a problem that was relatively recent so it’s still fresh in your mind for the interview. Your response should include how you identified and defined the issue, how you addressed it, and what the outcome was.

We’ll guide you through step-by-step how to answer this question effectively. We’ll also provide tips and sample answers to help you feel confident and prepared for your upcoming job interview.

Tell Me About a Challenge at Work You Faced and Overcame

Why Do Airline Companies Ask This Question?

Airline companies ask this question to gain insight into how applicants handle difficult situations. The pressures of working in the airline industry can be demanding both physically and mentally, so recruiters want to know how potential candidates cope with unexpected events and gain strength from the experience.

This is a behavioral type of job interview question, which means the interviewer is looking for you to provide a real-life example of how you have handled a challenging situation in the past. This type of question helps assess how well you navigate stress, problem-solve and think on your feet.

This is a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability to think on your feet and remain calm under pressure. By showing that you can overcome challenges, recruiters will get a better understanding of what kind of employee you would be.

Other Variations of This Question

This question may be phrased differently but the intent is the same. For example, you may be asked:

  • Tell me about a difficult problem you faced at work recently.
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with a stressful situation at work.
  • Tell me about a problem at work that you had to resolve quickly.
  • Can you provide an example of a challenging experience you had and how you resolved it?
  • Describe a time when you had to think fast and come up with an innovative solution.

The key takeaway from these variations is that recruiters want to know how you handle adversity and difficult situations in the workplace.

Step-by-Step Guide to Answering the Question

Here’s a step-by-step guide on you can prepare your answer to this question:

Step 1: Choose a Relevant Example

Choose an example of a challenge you faced that is relevant to the position you’re applying for. Ideally, the example should be recent and show how you handled a difficult or stressful situation.

Step 2: Explain the Challenge

Describe the challenge you faced, being as specific as possible. Provide details about the situation and the impact it had on your work.

Step 3: Describe How You Overcame the Challenge

Explain how you dealt with the challenge. What did you do to address the problem? What actions did you take? Be sure to describe your thought process and why you selected that particular course of action.

Step 4: Highlight the Outcome

Describe the outcome of the challenge. What did you achieve as a result of your actions? How did your actions benefit the company or team?

S-T-A-R Method

It is good to use the S-T-A-R method when describing how you faced and overcame a difficult situation at work. This stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

The S-T-A-R procedure is an effective way to provide detailed responses without rambling on too much. It also helps the interviewer assess your problem-solving capability and communication skills.

Also Read: How to Answer: Tell Me About a Time You Misjudged Someone

Sample Answers to Overcoming a Challenge Job Interview Question

Here are some sample answers to the question so you can have a better idea about how to frame your response.

  • “At my previous job, I was assigned to lead a difficult project with a tight deadline. I had to coordinate with multiple teams and ensure that everyone was meeting their deliverables. I created a schedule and a checklist for each team, which helped us to stay on track and meet the deadline. The project was a success, and the client was very satisfied with the outcome.”
  • “I had to deal with a customer who was dissatisfied with our service. I listened to their concerns and addressed them promptly. I provided options for resolution and followed up to ensure that they were satisfied with the result. As a result, the customer left our establishment happy, and we received positive feedback.”
  • “As a flight attendant, we often encounter unexpected situations, such as flight delays or cancellations. In one instance, I had to help a group of passengers find alternative flights and accommodations due to a severe weather conditions. I remained calm, provided empathy, and did my best to make them feel comfortable. We were able to resolve the situation without any hassles, and I received positive feedback from the passengers.”
  • “Our team was understaffed due to unexpected leaves of absence. I took the initiative to cross-train my colleagues in different roles to ensure that everyone could cover for each other. This helped us to be more efficient and productive, despite being understaffed.”
  • “In my previous role as a flight attendant, we had a last-minute cancellation of a crew member, and I had to step in to help with their duties. It was a challenging situation because I had to familiarize myself with their responsibilities quickly. However, I was able to adapt and work effectively with the rest of the team, and we were able to deliver excellent service to our passengers.”
  • “When I was working as a flight attendant, we had a passenger who was behaving aggressively and disrupting the flight. I handled the situation by remaining calm, speaking calmly with the passenger, and involving other team members to de-escalate the situation. We were able to resolve the problem without any disruption to the flight.”
  • “I was asked to make a technical presentation to a group of executives. Although I had experience doing technical presentations, I was still nervous about presenting to such a high-level group. To overcome my nerves, I practiced the presentation multiple times and sought feedback from colleagues. During the presentation, I focused on being clear and concise with my explanations and taking breaks to check in with the audience. The presentation was well received, and I received positive feedback from the executives.”

Tips for Answering the Question

Here are some practical tips to keep in mind to guide you when answering the question:

  • Choose an example that is relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  • Be specific about the challenge you faced and the impact it had on your work.
  • Describe your thought process and the actions you took to overcome the challenge.
  • Highlight the outcome and the positive impact it had on the company or team.
  • Emphasize what you learned from the experience.
  • Use a problem-action-result approach when framing your response.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Answer the Question

Here are some questions to ask yourself so you can prepare an effective answer to the question:

  • How did I approach the challenge and what actions did I take?
  • What were the outcome and results of my actions?
  • What did I learn from this experience?
  • What was the impact of this challenge on my work and the team/company?
  • How has this experience made me a better employee?

Examples of Bad Answers

Here are some examples of bad answers that you should avoid when responding to the question:

  • “I recently faced a challenge at work and was able to overcome it easily.”
  • “I had to deal with an angry customer, but eventually, they calmed down.”
  • “I didn’t face any challenges at my previous job.”
  • “I just had to deal with some difficult coworkers.”
  • “I can’t think of a specific challenge I faced.”
  • “I just did what I had to do to get through the day.”

These answers do not provide any real examples of overcoming a challenge and do not show problem-solving skills or resilience.

Video: Tell Me About a Time You Had to Overcome a Challenging Problem

Check this video on YouTube by CareerVidz as they discuss how to answer this type of behavioral question in detail and provide examples:


During a flight attendant job interview, you may be asked about conflicts and challenges you’ve faced and how you overcame them. This question is an opportunity to showcase your qualities and problem-solving skills and resilience in the workplace.

By choosing a relevant example, describing the challenge, explaining how you overcame it, and highlighting the positive outcome, you can give a comprehensive and engaging answer to this question.

Remember to emphasize what you learned from the experience and how it has made you a better employee.