It takes serious bravery to make an unpopular decision, especially if you know the decision is unpopular BEFORE you make it. There is a natural human instinct to want to go along with the crowd. But those that are willing to make unpopular decisions show incredible courage. If your employer asks you about an unpopular decision, a great answer could be the key to finding employment with their company.
Behavioral Interview Question: Describe a recent unpopular decision you made. How was it received? How did you handle it?
This is a very difficult question to model for you, because you’ll probably have to think very carefully about what goes into this answer. Have a look at our post on the 5 Key Steps for Difficult Decision Making to make sure your argument follows a logical path.
When you develop your answer , pay attention to these 3 factors:
- Decisions should always be unpopular before and popular after.
- You shouldn’t disparage anyone’s opinion. If possible compliment them.
- Be a leader. Show what you did to rally support.
Not everyone has these experiences. Even with management jobs you may not have made a decision that was truly unpopular that turned out okay. But if you have, consider the following type of answer:
“I was working for COMPANY X and noticed that we spent $5,000 a month on Google Adwords. Almost all of it went to KEYWORD, and there was no evidence over 2 years that KEYWORD led to any sales. That was $120,000 essentially wasted, but the company insisted that their competitors were using the same keyword and were convinced that this was the best way to market online.
I gathered the team in for a meeting. Against objections, I asked them to trust me, and dedicate the next 3 months of Adwords budget to content marketing instead. They weren’t fond of the idea but struggled to come up with objections. After the three months were over, conversions had only increased slightly, but hits had increased 35%, which were more than the company gained through Adwords. That result encouraged them to let me go for 3 more months. By the end of 6 months, sales had increased by 140%.”
Do you have that specific an answer? Maybe not. Try and think of examples of ideas you have come up with that may not have been warmly received at first. Try and show that you are a great communicator and that you get results.
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