Tough Interview Question - Tell me about how you persuade people to accept your point of view

Tell me about how you persuade people to accept your point of view.

Similar interview questions:
What do you do to influence others?
Do you consider yourself to be a leader or a follower?
How do you get others to do what you want?
Do you consider yourself to be an influencer?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer is asking about your persuasion skills and how they are used. A good interviewer will drill down into specific times when you influenced others, including the circumstances of the situation, what you did specifically and the eventual outcome.

The best approach to answering this question:
You need to choose a time you influenced others on a decision which was clearly the right decision. Make it data driven, not opinion driven. If data is not available, use testing to gather the data. And recognize that you should not make it appear that you are inflexible in considering the views of others. Avoid any times where you attempted to influence others unsuccessfully or where you were attempting to influence others in questionable situations.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"In my current position, my department had been continuing to work with a specific vendor for many years simply due to inertia. It was easiest to simply renew the vendor’s contract each year, rather than consider other alternatives. While my manager initially objected to considering alternatives, I explained that I would like to take time to evaluate the top vendors in the field and present the alternatives. It would still be her final decision on who to work with over the long term. We considered a total of five vendors, including the incumbent. The end result was the selection of a new vendor with better features and functionality for our department at a cost savings of more than $30,000 per year…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"While working on my recent internship, I needed access to data from a different department to complete one segment of my project. The head of that department initially refused my request for access to the data on the basis of my being an intern. I went to my manager requesting assistance and she said it was a learning opportunity for me to work it out on my own. So I asked the department manager to meet in person. At that meeting, I walked him through the scope of my project, how the data would be used and how it would be kept secure. Once he understood the actual use of the data and its security, he authorized my access later that day…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"Wow, great question! Because that happens to me all the time! I spend a lot of time trying to get others to see my point of view, especially on political issues. It’s amazing how many ignorant people there are in this world. So I spend a lot of time posting to Internet sites where some of these ignorant people hang out. It takes time, but I am hoping that over time my comments will finally ring true with just one or two people. If I can convert even one or two people over to my point of view, well, then it’s all worth it…"

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these Fifty Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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