“How Do You Make Decisions?” – Interview Question And Answers

"how do you make decisions?" (interview question)

You could hear this question in any interview: “How do you make decisions?”

But it’s especially common when you’re applying for jobs that require you to make tough choices or work independently. It’s also common in interviews for entry-level jobs.

You need to be able to clearly describe how you make decisions. Managers want people they can trust and don’t have to keep an eye on every second. So this question is your chance to put their mind at ease.

How To Answer “How Do You Make Decisions?”

1. Show You Have A Decision-Making System (And Describe It)

The goal here is to sound like you have a system or a process you follow. It doesn’t have to be an exact science, but you want to sound like you approach decisions the same way, rather than doing something completely different each time or trusting your gut (don’t reply by saying “I just trust my gut”).

A good start to your answer answer will sound like this:

“I like to gather as much information as possible to aid in my decision, but I also consider how much time is available to me. Sometimes a decision needs to be made quickly, even if all the information can’t be gathered, so I weigh time versus information. Then I look at possible outcomes and the likely results of my decisions, and make the best choice for my team and my organization with the facts available.”

2. Give An Example

This is good advice for pretty much all of the interview questions you face… don’t just say how you’d do something, give examples.

So when they ask how you make decisions, you’d give an answer like what I shared above and then go on to say something like this:

“…For example in my last job, I was presented with a tough decision while my boss was absent. I had to decide between fixing a piece of software we had already created, or starting over. It turned out that starting over would only take a few hours longer than applying a fix to what we had, and through some discussion with colleagues I also determined that fixing what we currently had might still leave us open to a risk of future problems and issues. So I decided we should start over, spend the extra time now and avoid any future complications, and my boss completely agreed with the decision when he returned to the office.”

3. Remember- Logic Is King!

Your answer might sound a little different than the example above. Whatever you do, just remember that in almost all cases, it’s best to seem logical when you describe how you make decisions. Show that you rely on facts, that you look to gather information before deciding, etc. Don’t sound like you act on emotion or hunches.

That’s my best advice here.

If a hiring manager asks “how do you make decisions?”… they want to see someone who consistently follows a plan to come to the right choice.

Sample Answers For “How Do You Make Decisions”

Let’s put everything together. Here’s the full answer combining the pieces above…

Sample Answer Combining Everything Above:

“I like to gather as much information as possible to aid in my decision, but I also consider how much time is available to me. Sometimes a decision needs to be made quickly, even if all the information can’t be gathered, so I weigh time versus information. Then I look at possible outcomes and the likely results of my decisions, and make the best choice for my team and my organization with the facts available. For example in my last job, I was presented with a tough decision while my boss was absent. I had to decide between fixing a piece of software we had already created, or starting over. It turned out that starting over would only take a few hours longer than applying a fix to what we had, and through some discussion with colleagues I also determined that fixing what we currently had might still leave us open to a risk of future problems and issues. So I decided we should start over, spend the extra time now and avoid any future complications, and my boss completely agreed with the decision when he returned to the office.”

Another Sample Answer For “How Do You Make Decisions?”:

(This answer is from my Complete Guide to Job Interview Answers… it contains more than 130 others as well)

“The first thing I look at is the timeframe. If I have a week to make a decision, my approach is going to be different than if I have one hour. Once I’ve determined the time frame, I gather the key pieces of information that will help me make an informed decision. It‟s not always possible to know the outcome 100%, but I try to gather as much information as possible to make an educated guess at what will give us the best result. Another technique I like to use a lot is risk analysis. Looking at the worst case scenario and what can possibly go wrong with each decision is a good way to understand the pros and cons of different choices. It gives you a much clearer picture than if you only look at the best possible outcome of each choice.”

If you follow the steps above you’ll have a convincing, impressive answer that completely puts the hiring manager’s mind at ease. You don’t want to leave them with any concern about how you make decisions, and this is how to do it!

Additional resources:

 

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