Interview Coaching
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Competency 3. Decision Making

Lesson 5

Decision-making is important in every role but ​the quality of the decisions you make will inform the panel about your ability.

​If decision making is a component in the job you are ​applying for, you will want to prepare answers ​​that showcase your effectiveness in decision making. 

Decision-Making Interview Questions

Think about a time when you had a number of different ​options ​for a project or to solve a problem​. Walk us through the process you followed in order to make your decision about the most appropriate direction to choose​. This is a​n opportunity to reveal your thinking in certain circumstances and how you weigh up options and align priorities.

Think about an occasion when you needed to choose between two or three equally viable paths to accomplish a goal. How did you make your decision about the path to follow?

Think about a time when you had several options from which to choose, but none of them were sufficient to meet your goal. How did you decide which option to follow then? Or what was the alternative you cam up with?

Faced with a choice between qualified candidates for a promotion, a lateral mover, a project leader, or a new hire, describe how you made your choice.

Describe the process you followed to pick the college you attended.

How will you decide whether or not to accept a job offer should an employer offer you a job that you think is a good match for your skills and preferred workplace?

Do you have a process or a methodology that you use when you are making decisions?

Decision-Making Job Interview Question Answers

Use these tips about how to assess a candidate’s answers to interview questions ​on decision-making skills.

You want to hire an employee who demonstrates that he or she can logically make sound decisions. During the interview, listen for evidence of a systematic approach to weighing up options. Look for evidence of effective decision making in the past. Ask the candidate how each of his or her decisions described in the answers to the above questions, worked out in the end.

Ask your candidate also about what he or she would do differently if faced with the above decisions again. You are looking for evidence that your candidate is willing to continue to learn and grow. Whether you agree with the decision the candidate made is less important than noting the decision-making process followed. If the decisions really seem illogical, like unsupported leaps of faith, be wary.

​The one caveat with these guidelines is that you want to hire people who are creative, innovative, and willing to step outside of the box. ​So take care when you assess a creative, innovative approach to decision making. Although unorthodox, it may be just what your organisation needs.

You need right brain employees just much as you need left brain ​employees. Their roles might be different within your organisation, but you do need both. And, a candidate who is able to demonstrate creativity while making logical decisions, is potentially a great hire.

​Past successes speak more loudly in the interview setting than the applicant's projections about what he or she "thinks" that he or she would do when making a decision in the future.

You want an employee who has demonstrated the skills needed in the past or an employee who is interested and capable of learning how to make well-thought out decisions.

The Decision-Making Process

1. Defining the problem, challenge, or opportunity
2. Generating an array of possible solutions or responses
3. Evaluating the costs and benefits, or pros and cons, associated with each option
4. Selecting a solution or response
5. Implementing the option chosen
6. Assessing the impact of the decision and modifying the course of action as needed

You will not always find yourself going through all six steps in an obvious way.

You might be responsible for one aspect of the process but not the others, or several steps might be merged together. But someone should still go through each step in some way or other. Skipping ​where they are required can lead to poor outcomes. 

Remember to develop strategies to ensure that you have not overlooked important information or misunderstood the situation, and be sure to uncover and correct ​any biases you may have.

Examples of Decision Making in the Workplace

Even if you do not yet have management experience, you probably have made decisions in a professional setting. But because decision-making is not always a cut-and-dried process, you might not recognize what you were doing.

Review the following list of examples to help get a sense of what activities from your own work history you can share with potential employers to demonstrate your own decision-making skills. Be sure to keep your sharing as relevant to the job requirements for the position as possible.

• Identifying a faulty machine as the source of disruptions in the production process.
• Facilitating a brainstorming session to generate possible names for a new product.
• Polling staff to gauge the impact of extending retail hours.
• Evaluating the impact of several possible cost-cutting measures.
• Brainstorming possible themes for a fundraising campaign.

If you, or the teams you are a part of, consistently achieving good results, then you are making decisions well and that is evidence you can present to the interview panel.

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