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How to Answer a Job Interview Question About Making Difficult Decisions

Interviewers often ask this question to see how you handle pressure, solve problems, and make decisions. It’s an opportunity to show them your critical thinking skills and your ability to think on your feet.

What is the hiring manager looking for?

Hiring managers are looking for candidates who can:
* Use problem-solving abilities to help the company
* Overcome challenges with innovative solutions
* Think fast on their feet and use common sense
* Use good judgment and decision-making skills
* Handle pressure, stress, and make decisions under difficult circumstances

How to structure your answer

To answer this question, you can use the SAR (Situation, Action, Result) framework:
1. Situation: Describe the situation you were in when you had to make the difficult decision. Set the scene and provide enough details so that the interviewer can understand the context.
2. Action: Explain the steps you took to make the decision. Be specific about the actions you took and the thought process behind them.
3. Result: Describe the outcome of your decision. What were the positive and negative consequences? What did you learn from the experience?

Tips to answer this interview question

* Be honest and authentic. Don’t try to make yourself sound like someone you’re not.
* Be concise. Get to the point and don’t ramble on.
* Use specific examples. Don’t just talk about your decision-making skills in general. Give the interviewer a specific example of a time when you had to make a difficult decision.
* Be positive. Even if the outcome of your decision wasn’t ideal, focus on what you learned from the experience.

Things to avoid:
* Don’t lie. The interviewer will be able to tell if you’re not being honest.
* Don’t ramble on. Keep your answer concise and to the point.
* Don’t talk about a decision that you made that was illegal or unethical.
* Don’t focus on the negative. Even if the outcome of your decision wasn’t ideal, focus on what you learned from the experience.

Example interview answers to this question

Strong Sample Answers:
1. “I was once faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to lay off a member of my team. The company was going through a tough financial period, and we had to reduce our workforce. I knew that laying off any employee would be a difficult decision, but I also knew that it was necessary for the company to survive. I met with the employee in person and explained the situation to them. We discussed their options and eventually came to an agreement about their layoff. It was a difficult decision, but it was the right one for the company. It allowed us to survive the financial crisis and eventually come out stronger.”

What makes this answer strong:

* The candidate clearly explains the difficult decision they had to make.
* They provide a clear explanation of the steps they took to make the decision.
* They describe the positive and negative consequences of the decision.
* They explain what they learned from the experience.

2. “I was once faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to launch a new product. The product was still in development, and there was no guarantee that it would be successful. However, I believed in the product and its potential. I also knew that if we didn’t launch it, we would miss out on a valuable opportunity. After careful consideration, I decided to launch the product. The product was a success, and it helped the company to grow significantly.”

What makes this answer strong:

* The candidate describes a clear dilemma.
* They explain the risks and potential rewards of both options.
* They demonstrate a willingness to take risks.
* They show that they are able to make decisions under pressure.

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