Job Interview Question & Answer: Describe A Situation Where You Had To Make A Quick Decision

Talking About Decisions

Regardless of the industry, employers tend to value workers with effective decision-making skills. Interviewers often check for decision-making abilities by asking behavioral questions, which require the applicant to come up with examples of using the sought-after skill on the job in the past. Easy to identify, behavioral interview questions start by asking candidates to describe a particular situation or talk about a specific experience from a former job. However, when interviewers ask about past situations involving the making of a quick decision, the prospective employer wants to know less about the actual decision and more about how the job seeker personally negotiated the decision-making process to arrive at a desired outcome.

What the Questions Reveal
Designed to assess the judgment, problem solving-skills, and reasoning abilities of job seekers, interview questions about making quick decisions reveal the process through which potential employees evaluate various options and draw conclusions about the given situation. Focusing on the steps taken to make the final decision therefore proves the most effective way of responding to interview requests like, “Describe a situation where you had to make a quick decision.” Interviewers use the question to determine whether applicants will examine an issue from every angle possible. The best responses typically demonstrate the abilities to analyze a situation objectively and learn from experience.

Employ the STAR Format
In addition to wanting to know the details of the decision-making process, interviewers typically take an interest in the result of the specific situation highlighted in the response of the applicant. Using the STAR method, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result, frequently helps interviewees respond to behavioral questions fully and effectively. Start by thinking of an applicable example of a time when quick decision-making proved necessary at work and describe the relevant details of the situation. Then, discuss the tasks and actions personally undertaken during the process of making the quick decision. Finally, summarize the outcome of the decision by highlighting quantifiable results whenever possible. Always provide an answer, no matter the length of time needed to formulate the response, as interviewers know every worker encounters decision-making situations at some point and generally react skeptically to job seekers who claim otherwise.

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