Regardless of what kind of position you are applying for, decisions will have to be made, which is why interviewers will want to get a sense of how you will respond to these scenarios by asking, “What’s one of the hardest decisions you’ve ever had to make”
The purpose of asking this question is to see if an applicant has good judgment and excellent problem solving skills. Your response to this question should include an example of when you made a tough choice. You can go into the details of all the pros and cons that went into making it to show your decision-making process. You can also go into all the positive results that came from your ultimate decision.
Points to Emphasize
An effective response should emphasize certain things in order to show that you are capable of making tough calls.
- Give a recent example (preferably from your most recent place of employment)
- Discuss the process that went into making your decision
- If possible, discuss an interpersonal decision
- Show that you are able to exercise good judgment
Even people in entry-level positions need to make decisions, so you should be able to come up with at least one example that showcases your decision-making skills.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Answering this question well can show you are capable of handling the responsibilities of the position whereas answering it poorly can show you do not have what it takes to succeed.
- Avoid saying that you have never made a difficult decision
- Avoid coming across as uncaring or too analytical
- Don’t give an example from a long time ago
- Don’t be unprepared
If you have made poor decisions at past jobs, then the interviewer will be under pressure that you would do the same at this job.
Your response should be drawn from an example from your own life, but it should go something like this:
A few months ago, the company I work for now had to downsize. There were numerous factors to take into consideration, but ultimately, there was a position that was redundant, so I was tasked with letting that employee go. It was a tough call to make because I was friends with this employee, but it had to be done. To help ease the blow, I offered to help him look for a new job, and I wrote an excellent letter of recommendation for him, and he was able to find a new job in no time.
Sometimes decisions have to be made where both choices yield negative consequences, but when you are part of the work force, you need to know how to make them.