Tough Interview Question - What type of decisions are the most difficult for you to make?

What type of decisions are the most difficult for you to make?

Similar interview questions:
Have you been in a situation where you were unable to make a decision? Tell me about it.
What do you do when your only options for making a decision are less than optimal?
Tell me about a time when you struggled with making a decision.
How do you assess before making difficult decisions?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
This is a difficult interview question because it forces the candidate to the negative end of the spectrum. Because you are being asked for the most difficult decisions for you to make, it presses toward an area of potential weakness. The interviewer is probing for your ability to make difficult decisions in relation to the needs of the role.

The best approach to answering this question:
Decision making is a requirement of almost every professional role. So take a difficult decision you had to make which was positively resolved in the end. Walk the interviewer through the specific example about what made it a difficult decision and how it was eventually resolved. While you should choose a difficult decision example, you should select an example where your decision was correct in the end. If you are at a management level, you can usually answer about people decisions, since these are usually the most difficult to make and with the greatest number of unpredicted variables.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"I have difficulty making decisions when I have not been given all of the facts and details needed to make the right decision. As an example, we recently had a problem with one of our systems periodically failing where my manager asked me to take over and just get it fixed quickly. I did fix the system, but I also knew that without understanding why the system had failed, it would likely happen again in the future. So after I applied the temporary fix, I asked my manager if I could dig into the specific use case further to be able to make the right long-term decision on fixing it…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"I had a situation on my recent internship where it appeared to be a decision between two less than ideal choices. This bothered me, since neither proposed solution really addressed the underlying issues at the user level. So I asked if I could work extra hours to come up with some alternative decision option. I was able to come up with a proposed solution that my manager accepted and put into development. It is now up and running as part of the core product set…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"I really don’t like making decisions, so I guess every decision is a difficult one for me. That’s why I like having lots of direction and someone else making the decisions. I don’t want the personal responsibility for making a wrong decision…"

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 100 Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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