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CASPer Collaboration & Communication Questions and Answers

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CASPer Collaboration and Communication Questions

You are asked to make a presentation, working alongside two students from freshman year (you are a junior). Both of the freshman students seem apathetic with regard to the task. They offer little input and expect you to complete it. You are aware that other juniors in your position have simply reported the freshman and done the task themselves. How would you address the juniors here?

I would ask to speak to both of the freshmen together, in person, and raise my concerns. I’d explain the situation clearly; that they don’t seem to be engaged, and that they haven’t given enough input. I’d explain that I felt I was handling the task alone. I’d ask if there was something I could do to engage them more, or something that was holding them back from engaging; I’d understand that I needed to work with them and empathise with them in order to bring them on-side. It’s understandable that freshmen might not be as concentrated as more senior years. 

You’re working in a customer care role for a health tech company. A man calls and explains that the equipment he recently bought doesn’t work properly. However, it is out of its 6 month guarantee period. He becomes distressed and explains he can’t afford to buy a new version. What would you say to the man?

I would listen carefully and empathetically to the man, and ensure that I showed that I understood his position. I would express that I was sorry for him being in this situation. I would do my best to work with him on the problem, so that we could come to a sensible solution together. I would ask him necessary questions that may have been provided for such a situation – e.g. how far out of warranty it is, what the circumstances of the machine breaking are, etc. I would explain to him that I will do my best, within the limits of my role, to find a way of helping him. If needed I could explain that I would speak to a senior and see what could be done for him.

Can you provide an example of a time when you’ve had to handle a complaint from a customer?

Whilst working at a large supermarket, customers would often attempt to return items. Certain customers would become angry when they found out about the store refund policy. One customer in particular complained repeatedly to me, after trying to return some clothes that he had taken the label off of, and became angry and verbally abusive. I therefore endeavoured to speak politely to him, to show empathy, and to calm him down. Through this I realised that he had bought the clothes for a family member, and was embarrassed to be unable to afford a replacement, having got the wrong size. I directed him to a manager, who gave him a discount for his next purchase.

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Communication is the lifeline of a relationship. What do you think that this quote means?

I believe that this quote means that a relationship cannot succeed, or will eventually fail, if the two parties involved do not communicate. For different relationships, ‘communication’ could be something very different; for two friends, they might speak occasionally and not feel the need for more, whereas for a couple this might be very different. I believe the quote also implies something more – which is that ‘communication’ is about honest and true communication – in other words, making how we feel clear, so that a relationship can be strong.

What steps could you take to improve communication with someone if you felt that your relationship was in difficulty?

You could sit down together to address the issue, and try to do so in a setting and manner that felt neutral and didn’t put either party at a particular advantage. You could then work together, and agree to be open, and talk through what both of you were feeling, and what was holding you back in the relationship – and in terms of its communication. It would be vital that you were honest with one another, that you listened to each other with respect, showed empathy, and avoided becoming irritated or angry if parts of what were said were difficult to hear. You would need to keep in mind that the goal of the conversation was a stronger and healthier relationship. 

You are working an evening shift. However, your colleague who is due to replace you for the night shift is late; you know that it will take half an hour to hand over a summary of the day for them. If you don’t leave on time, you will miss an important social engagement. What would you do in this situation?

I’d need to weigh up my role, and the responsibilities that I had. Assuming I had no truly vital responsibility, I could work to find a solution that would allow my colleague to work effectively, and me to attend my social engagement. This could involve leaving a detailed set of notes with instructions on what needed to be done and key pieces of information from the day, structured as I would structure a handover, with instructions to call me if needed. Before I made a decision like this, I would call them and check when they were to arrive, if there was any chance I could do a brief handover when they arrived, and whether they were happy with a written handover. If I had to, I would stay late; however, I would sooner find a compromise. 

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One of your seniors tells you that he is a ‘brilliant leader.’ However, he has very little idea as to who most of his team are, and they don’t enjoy his management style. What attribute would you find him to be lacking in?

He seems to lack self awareness. In the context of our professional dealings, and the way in which we interact with others in a work-setting, self-awareness is being aware of how we interact with others, and how this might affect them, or lead to us being perceived. In this instance, the manager ought to be aware that he is disconnected from his team, and that they don’t see his style of leadership in the same way that he does. If he had more self-awareness, he could make this connection, and improve the situation. 

‘If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself’ What does this quote from Henry T Ford mean to you?

This quote illustrates that if you work together as a team, then success will naturally follow. If a team is cohesive, well organised, and able to communicate well within itself, then it will do well. If it has honed these abilities over time, and they now come naturally, then it will no longer need to focus on the minutiae of working as a team – instead, it will begin to push forward easily, meaning that success will come much more easily. I would however argue that it may not ‘take care of itself’ – instead I would claim that success must still be focused on – the team must still take care to set goals, and set processes that direct it towards its eventual aim. If it does this, then success will follow. 

How can you promote togetherness within a team?

Togetherness in a team will come from shared experiences, and the team having enjoyed those experiences together. It will come from good communication within the team – both between team members and the team leader to the rest of the team. Integrity and honesty – meaning that each team member can trust the others – will also add to a feeling of togetherness. Empathy will have a real impact too – if team members feel understood, they will feel more together. Lastly, loyalty to each other, and being there for each other when you are needed, will create a sense of togetherness. 

One of your colleagues in a group project at university, Chelsea, claims to have been ill for the past 10 days, missing most of the work. However, one of your friends sees a photo of her on social media, at a party abroad. What do you do in this situation?

 I would speak to my friend to ensure that I understand the situation correctly. I would check that the photo was recent – it could have been an old photo. I would be careful of accusing Chelsea of misbehaviour before it was confirmed. If it appeared to be a new photo, I would call or message Chelsea and ask her to speak to me at a time that made sense for both of us. I would then explain that I had seen a photo of her partying abroad whilst she was supposedly ill, and ask her to explain this. I would then listen to her response politely, in order to best understand what to do. If she was honest and admitted her mistake, and appeared genuinely sorry for her actions, I would explain that she had fallen behind on work and let the group down, and that she would have to help out additionally when she returned. If she was rude or clearly lying, I would explain that unless she apologised to the group and agreed to help out further on her return, I would have to discuss – with the rest of the group – as to whether to report her behaviour.

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