Interview Questions for the Responsibility of Ownership

by Mary Jane ; Updated September 26, 2017

Interview questions that focus on responsibility and ownership often have the purpose of testing how well a person handles his responsibility of ownership of a given project or task. While some people tend to give up easily without trying alternative options, others dive right in to find a solution for a potential problem. It is common that an interviewer will ask questions pertaining to responsibility and ownership, as he wants to find a reliable and self-starting employee.

Projects and Challenges

A common interview question for testing a candidate’s responsibility of ownership is to ask how he handles tasks or projects that are obvious challenges based on his lack of knowledge or skills within the area of work. The interviewer may ask the applicant to provide an example of a task where the applicant met a challenge in a particular project. The answer provides the interviewer with information about the dedication and motivation of the applicant in stressful and sometimes hopeless situations in the workplace.

Taking Initiative

Strong employees and workers with a sense of leadership are an asset to a company. To test the applicant’s leadership abilities along with the responsibility of ownership that comes with taking the lead on a project, the interviewer may ask her to provide an example of a time when she took the lead. In addition, the interviewer can ask how she felt in the leadership role, how she handled problems in the project and how confident she is to take on new projects. The experience may have unsettled her enough to make her step back and avoid taking leadership roles.

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Getting Fed Up

While some people can remain professional in a stressful environment, others will become fed up and leave the office. The applicant should provide examples of how well he handled a stressful work environment -- whether the stress came from his task or his fellow employees. The interviewer is testing to see if the applicant can handle himself gracefully, capable of accepting his mistakes and able to avoid getting his emotions or personal feelings involved. In addition, the candidate needs to provide a theory as to why that particular situation created stress. Knowing the reason why will help his work efforts in future projects.

Impossible Tasks

A manager will often delegate tasks or projects to employees working in his department. At times, a project may be delegated to a worker who does not have the proper skills to complete the job in the given time frame. Rather than giving up and refusing to take ownership of the project, the applicant should explain the steps she would take to complete the task with additional resources. The answer will provide the interviewer with a sense of how well the applicant handles difficult tasks in terms of responsibility of ownership.

About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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