Decision making interview questions are about proof. Employers are not looking for people that make the fastest, easiest, sometimes even laziest decision that they can. They are looking for people who make the tight decision using a process. They want to know that when faced with tough decisions, you can be counted on to make the right choice.
Behavioral Interview Question: Tell me about a time you had a number of viable alternatives to choose from when making a decision. What decision making process did you use to make your final choice?
This question can be tough to answer for some, easy to answer for others. It all has to do with the industry that you work in, and the tasks you completed while there. With difficult behavioral interview questions like this, the trick is to:
- Make sure that you find that specific example
- Detail how and why they were all viable alternatives (be specific)
- Show a real decision making process of some kind that the employer can relate to.
How to Answer:
“I can think of severe examples, but the one that I think is most relevant was when I provided recruitment for our R&D staff. We had over 12 applicants that all met the criteria we mapped out. They interviewed well and would be within our target budget, and yet we only had one space open. I wanted to use an intuitive approach, but I also wanted to make sure the decision was not based on any biases.
To figure out who to hire, I sent an email with two final questions for each candidate. One was a wild card question. I asked them: “Is a hot dog a sandwich? Discuss.” The second was a work related question. We were integrating a new tool into the workplace. I asked them whether or not they had any experience with the tool, and, if so, what they thought its greatest flaws were.
We had a friendly, passionate workplace, where people could get into 20 minute long discussions on the proper pronunciation of “.gif”. I felt as though the best candidates are the ones that would engage in that type of hot dog and sandwich debate in a fun but wordy way, because those are the ones that will fit in personally.
Then, given that candidates were basically equal in skill, I felt that the ones that had experience with this tool would provide a more immediate benefit to the workplace that the other candidates – while equally qualified – would not be able to provide. We had 3 amazing answers to the hot dog and sandwich debate, and 1 of those candidates had experience with the tool. They were the one we ultimately hired, and they did a great job.”
It is the level of detail and relatable decision making process in this type of example that will make it a strength, and something that is worth trying to integrate into your own answers.