Job Interview Question & Answer: Provide an Example of a Time When You Had to Be Quick in Coming to a Decision
Why Interviewers Ask the Question
Almost every job requires employees to make a quick decision at some point. Job hopefuls who are able to talk about their judgement skills in a positive manner will impress hiring managers. When answering, remember to use the STAR method, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
How to Answer “Describe a Situation Where You Had to Make a Quick Decision”
Candidates should begin by stating the situation that led to their decision. Explain the problem that emerged and the action taken to solve it. Tie the story together with the result. By following this organized thought process, the sequence of events becomes easy to describe.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Those wanting to be successful in the job interview process should stay away from answers with negative results. Potential hires who focus on decisions that yielded positive outcomes speak better about their judgement, and show themselves to be stronger candidates.
While potential employees should always speak to their own abilities and experiences, these samples give them an idea of how to respond to difficult questions. Here are some ways to provide an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision.
Sample Answer 1 – Fast Food Worker
“At my previous job I had a customer argue with me about lunch specials. Our deals ended at 3 p.m., and he was trying to order at 4 p.m. He got upset when I told him the prices ended an hour ago, so I gave him the deal anyway. I realized it is more important to keep patrons happy than to charge an extra dollar.”
Sample Answer 2 – Administrative Assistant
“I found a wallet on the bus once when I was younger. I opened it up to see if I could find the person’s ID, and there was a $100 bill. I could have easily taken the money, but I decided to leave it and put the wallet in the man’s mailbox. I’m sure he appreciated that I didn’t take the cash.”
Sample Answer 3 – Retail Associate
“While at work one time, I noticed a customer acting strange in the dressing room. I decided to ask if she needed any help. I then saw clothes in her purse, so I had her follow me to the office. Turns out she was trying to steal dresses from the clearance rack. If I hadn’t approached her, she probably would have left with the clothes.”
Ideas to Keep in Mind
Think of a situation where you had to make a decision quickly. Remember to only use examples that turned out well. Take time to describe the circumstances. Using the STAR method to clearly run through events helps to show interviewers the logical steps taken to reach the choice.