As an employee in any field, it is expected that you will be able to evaluate information available to you and come to the best possible decision you can.
This can become challenging when you are faced with multiple proposals and ideas, where there may be many people involved, or where all the ideas have some degree of merit. How do you analyze the best solution to the task at hand?
Behavioral Interview Question: Tell me about a time when you have to analyze several proposals or ideas and then make a recommendation. What steps did you take? What factors were most important?
All proposals and ideas have some degree of merit. In an ideal world, you would take at least some piece of each idea so that everyone felt like they were able to contribute. But of course we rarely live in an ideal world. What employers are looking for with this type of question is:
- Proof you put real thought into each decision.
- Strong priorities and logic.
- Fairness in the steps you used.
By definition, someone took the time and effort to fill out a proposal. So to prove you’re a good evaluator, you have to prove you took the time and effort to analyze each idea.
“I had to analyze several proposals just recently actually. A recommended had been put forward to change our scoring model so that it provided a better focus on certain group of applicants. So our internal workgroup created 4 different models and then I looked at a lot of data to model out what the results would end up looking like. I looked at all the differences between each models, and, interestingly, my team and I went through simulations and decided that none of them would work fairly. We then came up with two more models that were designed to get the results we wanted. The 2 new models integrated some of the ideas from the previous models, but were altered to better meet our needs.
We ran simulations and found that both provided data that confirmed they would be beneficial to the student groups. This was the most important first step. However, the data was only one part, as the results would have a direct effect on a specific subgroup and we needed to make sure that their feedback was included in the decision.
After it was over, I consulted with an external work group made up of stakeholders and the people that our models would directly impact, and they strongly favored the one most favored by the data, which made that one the obvious choice.
There are lots of opportunities to talk about situations where you were faced with multiple ideas and proposals from which to show you can make good analytical decisions. Often these are also great answers to other types of questions about problem solving as well, so make sure you have a few of these on hand in case your employer asks.