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Interview question – How well do you adapt to new situations? (With Sample Answers)

Interview question – How well do you adapt to new situations? (With Sample Answers)

February 12, 2022

There are many standard questions asked at a interview, and this is one of them. When the interviewer queries, “How well do you adapt to new situations?” they are looking for a well thought out answer that shows the person is flexible and cooperative when it comes to coping with different circumstances.

Coping with change

Put yourself in their shoes and you will understand why this is so vital. Change happens frequently and nowhere more so than in the world of work. The company ideally wants to employ a workforce that not only copes well with change but also welcomes it. This bodes well for the organisation and ensures a healthy and productive culture. Competition in business is rife and the companies that have an adaptable team are the ones that survive. By providing an impressive answer to the question, “How well do you adapt to new situations”, you will be confirming that in the past you have had no trouble with adapting to change.

A behavioural query

This type of question, based upon ‘adaptability’ is classified as a behavioural query. The interviewer is trying to establish how you operate within a working environment, how flexible you are and how you adapt. Not only should you illustrate that you welcome change but that nothing fazes you, meaning that you keep calm.  If you are one of those people who actually thrives on change, welcoming a challenge and the chance to put your skills into action, then make sure you get this across. Don’t let this type of question put you off guard because you have not done your pre-interview homework. By preparing, you will not only be ready with a great answer but can actually use the situation to show just how suitable you are for the position.

Adaptability is key

From an employer’s perspective, adaptability is a key skill for all employees. They know that if there are major upheavals in the workplace, new environments or the introduction of different working methods, they are not going to have to cope with reluctance, lack of enthusiasm or unwillingness to do what is required. Your interviewer is looking for someone who will cope well with dynamic work environments, embracing all that is new and remaining unruffled.

When preparing your answer, be sure that you demonstrate that it is no problem for you to adapt your style of working.  Include the fact that you are willing to help steer co-workers through the process, fine-tuning your communication style to suit the circumstances. Where new deadlines exist, you will adjust to meet them, willing to give your all in order to achieve a good result. You will remain positive and embrace the change rather than shy away from it. Support your answer with an example of how you did this in the past.

What makes a good answer?

Storytelling is the name of the game these days, whether referring to job interview questions and answers or the text on a website or social media page. Businesses use storytelling to communicate and you should do the same. Describe the actions taken by you and the results. A good tip is to use the ‘STAR’ method:

S = Situation

T = Task

A = Action

R = Result

By framing your answers using the STAR technique, you will be sure to cover all angles. Illustrate how you adapted your approach to the new situation, being careful to match your skills to those required by the company and mentioned in the job description. Reply to the question, “Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a change in the workplace” (or a similar one), by being honest and professional. Remember that the interviewer may phrase the same type of question in a variety of ways, but the answer will be similar. Be honest and clear, avoiding exaggeration as this will only trip you up and make you look insincere. Prepare more than one answer so that you have a choice to select from, able to refer to them during the interview.

Example answers

Below you will find some examples on how to answer the question, “How well do you adapt to new situations?” or a query posed using similar words. We have shown the answers using the STAR format, but you should personalise this to suit your own situation. Include sufficient details to prove to the interviewer that you can handle change without a hitch, being the perfect person for the position.

“Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a change in the workplace”

  1. (S) In my current role, I have had to deal with a situation that necessitated me needing to adapt to change quickly.

(T) Our company was taken over. Most of the staff remained but a new management team was put in place. Many new systems came into play and we had to adjust quickly to using not only new software but a whole set of specific processes too.

(A) I made it my goal to learn how to use the new software quickly and accurately. I worked overtime to do this whilst remaining productive and up-to-date with my daily workload.

(R) Once I became acclimatised with the new system, I found that it boosted my productivity levels. I was also able to help other workmates who were struggling to find their way around. As a result, the transition went far more smoothly with output from our department increasing.

  1. (S) During my previous positon, a key member of staff left the department due to maternity leave.

(T) I was asked to step in and fill the gap.  I was already familiar with the role and knew the basics, although I had no specific training.

(A) I embraced the challenge, pulling the team together and advising them of the position we were in. I asked for their support in remaining productive.

(R) We managed to get through the period of maternity leave well, handling the workload and remaining on target. My supervisor was so impressed that I was promoted based on my performance.


This information should enable you to prepare your answer to the interview question well in advance. You will enter the room feeling confident and well able to cope with anything asked of you. Contact the team at CMD Recruitment if you require further advice or support. We are always ready to help you on your quest to secure a new position. You can also check out our downloads and blogs for further information.

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