The interviewer wants to hear about a particular situation where you used good judgment to solve a work problem. Be sure to showcase your logic and reasoning abilities. Share a brief overview of the problem, discuss the pro/cons of each decision you could have made, and tell the interviewer why the solution you chose was the best.
"Just yesterday I had a customer who was really upset because our sales associate would not refund a garment that this customer had already worn. She was outside of the 14 days return policy as well. I am the assistant manager so I stepped in to alleviate the situation. By showing the customer that I could meet her in the middle, she was able to calm down and reason with me. I did not refund her the price of the garment; however, I offered her a $25 in store credit. I know this will cost my company mere dollars and, in the end, I had a happy customer again."
"We recently had a sales team that was not optimizing their accessory add on sales. The compensation structure was the best in class for its industry. In asking a few of the sales associates about the missed opportunity, I came to realize they did not understand what they were missing out on. I used my good judgement and common sense logic to change the way we communicate the plan. We were saying you can earn 3.5%. This percentage was not resonated with them. I changed the language to talk dollars. When they heard they could make $1200 - $3500 extra dollars, the sales in accessories spiked!"
"I once had to solve a space issue in our warehouse. I rearranged the shipping lanes to allow for smaller customers to be combined in one area and arranged by scheduled truck arrival, and large customers to have their own dedicated shipping area. This made locating shipments to load onto trucks much easier."
Sales answer example
"I had a customer who was unhappy with his purchase (the item in question cost over $20k). He then was unhappy with the way in which the arbitration process was heading and although my team all said to just let him be and have him work with our Director of Operations to resolve the issue, I knew that I could lose a several hundred thousand dollar customer over a one time issue so I was not about to let that happen.
By stepping in and mediating the call and assuring him that we would work together to not only solve the issue but address the arbitration process in the future, I was able to turn a disgruntled customer who threatened to never purchase again into a top buyer for me and the company."
Retail answer example
"In retail these days, you always have to be weighing the potential of being blasted or praised on social media, as ridiculous as that sounds. One example that comes to mind that I handled recently was the termination of an employee. It was clear that this person was simply not going to work out, despite my best efforts at coaching and mentoring. Over the course of three shifts, I worked with her, coached her, and gently allowed her to realize on her own that this position was a poor fit. By the end of the third shift of coaching out, she let me know that she was putting in her notice. By taking a different approach than involving HR, we avoided a disgruntled exit of an employee. She now comes into the store as a friendly customer, so it really did turn out well for all parties."
Teacher answer example
"My fourth grade classes were recently working on a project for our family unit, and one of the students was really quiet and unengaged in the middle of the lesson. He's usually bubbly and participates fully, so I found a moment when I could quietly sneak over to speak with him. He didn't now what to put for his mom's picture since she died when he was a baby. I was brokenhearted for him, but we had a moment to talk about how we can be sad but still remember our loved ones and how they're always a part of our family. By being in tune with my class and any aberration in its behavior, I was able to uncover and address an issue that resulted in a happy, smiling boy again."