What is adaptability?

Adaptability is the skill of anticipating and responding to changing circumstances and coping effectively with the transition. Being adaptable requires you to fit into a new environment quickly and easily.

Application form and interview questions

Some examples of application form and interview questions which are designed to test adaptability:

  • What challenges did you face during your first two weeks at university?
  • Describe a time when you have had to adapt to new environment. How did you cope with this change?
  • Describe a situation when you had to change the way you worked because of changing circumstances. How did you adapt?

If you are unsure how to structure an answer for either application or interview questions, visit the application and interviews section of our website and find out about the CAR (context, action, result) and STAR (situation, task, action, result) models. Our recommendations are based on feedback from employers.

Assessment centres

At assessment centres, business case studies can often be constructed to test your powers of adaptability. You may be asked to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously, and the boundaries of a project may change during the activity necessitating you to change your approach.

Activities where you could develop your adaptability

The following activities, which may be undertaken as part of or alongside your studies, can be good ways to develop your adaptability:

  • PASS Leader Voluntary role facilitating groups of lower year students on specific study related topics and strategies.
  • Peer Mentoring Learn to become more adaptable while supporting others through their studies and wider university life.
  • Volunteering Gives you the chance to develop a range of skills while giving something back to the community.
  • Work experience Develop a range of skills and build up your experience while at university.
  • Work shadowing Short-term activity, a day or two, to gain an insight into a particular role or industry.