The only inevitable thing in life is change. And the same is true in business. New competitors enter the market, economy changes, company hires new people, and others leave. If you want to survive, and perhaps thrive as a business, you need to adapt. As an employee, you have to follow suit. You need to innovate yourself, again and again, in order to stay on the top of the game, and to do your job in a most efficient way.
That’s why when they ask you how well you adapt to something, you should say that you adapt well. But just like with any other interview question, it is not as simple… You should elaborate on your answer, either with a situation from the past, one which demonstrates your ability to adapt to new situations, or with a longer description of your attitude. They may also structure their question differently, using one of the following alternatives:
- Give an example of a time you have had to deal with change professionally or personally.
- Describe a situation where you were flexible and adaptable.
- Give an example of a time you have demonstrated adaptability in the workplace. How did you help others through the transition.
While there are slight differences in between the questions, the hiring managers are always looking for the same attitude. Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this interesting question. I hope you will find on our list at least one that fits your thoughts and level of experience, and you can use it in your interview.
7 sample answers to “How well do you adapt to new situations” interview question
- I would say that my past experience demonstrates that I adapt quite well to new situations. I worked in a company that grew extremely fast. We had 10 employees at the beginning of the year and 200 at the end of it, and I started as a programmer and ended as a CTO at the end of the year. Of course it was not always easy to adapt to changes in your working routine and to help your colleagues through the transition, and to learn new skills on the go. But I managed to do it, and can see no reason why I should struggle adapting to changes in my new job.
- This is my first job application, so it is hard for me to guess how I will adapt to new situations in the workplace. But I am a creative mind, and I believe that I actually need some changes, some impulses, to stay motivated and to thrive in my work. That’s actually one of the reasons why I applied for a job with your company. I see that you apply agile project management in your teams, and that most positions encompass a wide array of duties, which is a huge difference to entry level roles in big corporations. I believe that such a working environment matches well with my personality, but of course I’ll have to do the job for some time first to see how well I adapt.
- Honestly I believe that I am flexible and adaptable. Of course I am not the youngest guy anymore, and I have my routines. On the other hand, I am always open to a creative discussion, and I also understand how quickly everything changes in this business. I am ready to go with the flow and adapt to changes, as long as I see that they make sense for the company. In the current state of global economy, I cannot afford any other attitude–because I’d end up unemployable…
- I’d say that I can deal quite well with change professionally or personally. For example, now I am unemployed after having the same job for ten years. But instead of crying and complaining about the situation, I try to get the best of it. I spend more quality time with my family, and I also try to learn some new skills, to broaden my opportunities in the employment market. I think that everything is a question of attitude. It is foolish to think that everything will be the same in ten years from now. Either you adapt, or you will suffer. I am ready to adapt, that’s my choice.
* Do not forget to check: 15 most common interview questions and answers (entry level).
- The recent pandemic is a good demonstration of my ability to adapt to change and new situations. You see, everything changed for me. We had to close our store, and I had to change my daily routine quite drastically. I also always enjoyed sports, and suddenly they were banned. But I explored new hobbies and opportunities, things we were still allowed to do during the pandemic. I adapted, and I definitely did not suffer from depression or anything similar. This experience makes me believe that I have an ability to adapt to new situations, and will be able to do is in my new job as well.
- Well, I’d say it depends on the novelty of the situation. How big the change is, and how much it means to you. My husband died two years ago. I can assure you that I struggled a lot to adapt to living alone, all of a sudden. We had a great relationship, and did almost everything together. For the first few months I suffered terribly, and barely left the house. But then I understood that life goes on, it has to, and that my suffering won’t help anyone. And I joined a sports club, started to study again, and now I also want to get a job. I would say that I adapted quite well to this profound change, though it took me quite a lot of time to adapt to it mentally.
- I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life, up to this point. And in small business everything is about constant change, about trying to keep your head above the water, and avoid getting eaten by the sharks, the big players. Honestly, if anyone can adapt to new situations, it’s me. And now I experience another new situation. My business bankrupt because of the pandemic (just like all other small businesses in the area), and I am looking for a job. But as you can see I am enthusiastic about the proposition, and try to see the good things, instead of dwelling on the negatives. Maybe it will be nice to have a boss and regular working hours, after working for 90+ hours a week in my small business.
You can use the recent pandemic to demonstrate your ability to adapt to changes and help others through transition
I do not know a single person who wasn’t affected by the recent pandemic. Many people had to work from home, or they lost their jobs completely. Businesses had to close down, or transform. Students stopped going to school and had to do their exams distantly. Even most job interviews suddenly took place in the online world. And of course, we could not do the activities we enjoyed doing, because many of them were banned.
You can refer to this in your answer. Explain how you adapted to the new situation in the world, how you changed your routines. It clearly demonstrates that you shouldn’t have a problem with constant changes in your new job… See sample answers no. 5 and no. 7 for your inspiration.
May also interest you: How to dress for an interview? Learn how to pick the right clothes for the important meeting with the employer.
Most hiring managers like job candidates who are looking for challenges
You do not want to be a mediocre employee, an average guy. And you won’t enjoy doing the same tasks day after day. You shiver when you imagine that someone can work as a cashier for 20 years, sitting at the cash desk and scanning bar codes from 9 to 5, 6 days a week, for twenty years. The only possible reaction to that is a facepalm, or a shake of a head.
That’s just not you. You want to be intellectually challenged, you want to grow in the company. And that’s exactly the reason why you decided to apply for the job with them, because you understand that change is inevitable in their business. That’s the fitting environment for you, one in which you’ll thrive. Check sample answer no. 2 as a good illustration of this attitude.
* Special Tip: Speaking about challenges, this question won’t be the only difficult scenario-based question you will face while interviewing for a great job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will help you streamline your interview preparation, and eventually outclass your competitors and get the job. It can be the last part of the puzzle you are missing…
Referring to a personal tragedy can change the atmosphere in the interviews
Of course no change in work comes even close to some profound changes we experience in our personal life. When we lose someone we love, or get very sick, or even when we get married, or have a child–these are new situations we have to adapt to, some of them positive, and other negative–though it always depends on your perspective :).
Talking about something bad that happened to you (such as a loss of someone you loved) may seem like a strange idea in an interview. But you should realize that hiring managers are also human beings–and some of them perhaps experienced a similar loss in their life, and also struggled to adapt to their new life situation. If they did, and you opt for this interview answer, you can connect with them in a special way–not many things bring us as close as a shared suffering.
At the end of the day, personal preferences will always play a role in an interview. If you experienced something difficult in your life, and feel ready to talk about it with the strangers, it can be your best bet for a great answer to this tricky interview question…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Check also 7 sample answers to other interesting interview questions:
- What are your weaknesses?
- Why shouldn’t we hire you?
- If you saw a coworker stealing a small item, or giving food to someone without paying, what would you do?