Behavioral interview questions like this are popular because your answers can illustrate what kind of colleague you’ll be and what your approach to the situations really is. Your temptation might be to give a generic answer, like, “Well, on our last big challenge, we really pulled together as a team and got a difficult task completed on time and under budget,” but that’s not really what they’re asking. They want to know what you did and what the situation was. Your answer doesn’t always have to be a happy outcome, either. You might, for example, tell a story about a time you made a mistake at work, with your conclusion being about what you learned from the situation. For example, “At my first job, I was a cashier, and on a particularly busy day, I mistook a $20 for a $50 so my drawer was short. I was really embarrassed when I saw my mistake, so I called my manager over immediately and told her. I apologized and offered to make up the difference but she said that wasn’t necessary and she appreciated my honesty and ownership of the mistake. I learned that, even in stressful situations like that, I need to slow down a little so I avoid careless mistakes. What I do now when I’m under pressure is I take a deep breath before every interaction to remind myself to be present and focused.”
And don’t forget to tell the end of your story! My grandfather used to record movies off the television and he somehow had his settings so that the end of the movie was always cut off, to which he’d say, “Oh, you can figure it out!” He was almost always wrong. Don’t be my grandfather.