Job Interview Question & Answer: Tell Me About a Time You Made a Suggestion to Improve Business
Why Interviewers Ask This Question
Employers want to hire candidates who have both ambition and problem-solving skills. When they ask, “Have you ever suggested an improvement to help business at a previous job?” they are looking for an answer that demonstrates your ability to take the initiative and make a positive impact on your workplace.
How to Respond to “Tell Me About a Suggestion You Made to Improve Business”
Your answer to this question should show that you are willing to go above and beyond your regular duties to make a difference at your job. Use the STAR method to describe a specific moment when you suggested a way to improve business.
- S = Situation: Set the scene by mentioning your former employer and job title.
- T = Task: Talk about the challenges and concerns that prompted your suggestion.
- A = Action: Explain how you addressed this concern with a manager or supervisor.
- R = Result: Discuss the positive changes that happened after your suggestion and how it improved operations around the job site.
Answers to Avoid
Avoid saying things like, “I have never made suggestions to improve business.” Statements like this make it seem like you lack ambition and could hurt your chances of being hired. Also, steer clear of vague answers with unquantifiable results. Make sure to be as specific as possible about what contributions you made and how they improved efficiency at work.
Example Responses for “When Have You Made a Suggestion to Improve Business?”
It can be tricky to come up with a specific answer to this question. However, the following samples can give you some ideas for responses that will impress your interviewer. Just be sure to use your own experiences to shape an honest answer.
Sample Job 1 – Department Store Manager
“When I started my first job at a clothing store, the company was trying to come up with a way to boost their declining sales rates. I had the idea to start a competition among the team where the person with the highest performance rating won a prize at the end of each week. The idea excited and motivated the staff so much that sales went up about 30% within the first month.”
Sample Job 2 – Restaurant Cook
“The last restaurant I worked for was a small family-owned business. Since the place was so popular, we would sometimes be too busy to stop and answer the phone for carry-out orders. I mentioned to the owners that putting an online ordering portal on their website could help manage the influx of orders a bit better, and they thought it was a good idea.”
“With the online system, we were able to get all of the orders that we had been missing out on before. The restaurant was able to bring in more money, and the customers were happier as well.”
Sample Job 3 – Tutor
“When I was in high school, I used to dread group assignments. I hated when one person refused to do their share of the work, and their actions would affect my grade. I talked to my teacher about having a system that allowed group members to rate each other’s contributions to the project. She liked the idea, so she added a review rubric to our group assignments.”
“Being able to rate your team members on their participation in projects added accountability for everybody in the group. It also prevented other students from losing points due to someone else’s lack of effort.”
Always Give a Truthful Answer
Honesty is key when an interviewer asks about a time when you solved a problem and improved business at a past job. Lying will most likely disqualify you from obtaining the position, so steer clear of making false claims. If you lack work experience, refer to a relevant situation from your personal life to show your ability to solve problems.