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Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed.

This question has been answered 7 times by professional recruiters and hiring managers. View their answers below.

Advice
The interviewer wants to hear more about your decision making and critical thinking skills. Keeping your answer career based and discuss a decision you made where you may not have had all of the pertinent information. The interviewer would like to see that you are able to use logic to make a sound decision. Show the interviewer that you are capable and confident when it comes independent thinking and decision making. Be sure to include the success you saw in your sound decision making.

Admin answer example
"As an executive assistant, ambiguity is a large part of my daily reality. I always do the best with the information I have to keep things moving. I often find myself making decisions wishing I had just a little bit more data. In these cases, I look at everything I have, create what-if scenarios for several variables and select the best possible option."
Basic answer example
"In my current role, I am responsible for creating the weekly schedule for 56 staff members. When I first took on the responsibility of scheduling, I did not have any data regarding our busiest times of the week and day. I had to guesstimate our customer traffic while remaining under the staffing budget and, at the same time, not understaffing. I used my logic and critical thinking skills to fill in the blanks for the data that I did not have. It worked out quite well for me. Now I fully understand our customer traffic flow which has made staff scheduling a breeze."
Manager answer example
"Before my company had an HR department, I had to make executive decisions related to hiring and terminating. The information I was often missing were some of the questions a candidate would ask, such as details on benefits, for example. I was able to connect with an account representative of the benefits company, and they agreed to be the first point of contact for any questions by those being onboarded."
Marketing answer example
"Often, our clients are vague on their needs because they don't fully know themselves what they seek. I have had to fill in the blanks many times. I always know my clients well so I am comfortable making executive decisions when they cannot."
Retail answer example
"Often when a customer dispute arises, I only have a piece of the puzzle to go off of, whether because they haven't given the full story, or I'm pulled in by the associate who heard the full story. In either case, it's something I'm accustomed to and deal with daily. I assess quickly what category the problem seems to fall in, and go from there. Nine times out of ten, my first assessment was right. I solve the issue from there."
Sales answer example
"Once, I had a customer looking for a particular piece of inventory, and it was hard to source. Nationwide, there were only two products that met the criteria and both were seemingly identical, but I had to choose which was better to purchase on his behalf. With a price tag of $50k+, it was a hefty decision to make, since we would have to absorb the difference if there were damages or issues with the unit. I was able to use my industry knowledge, and understanding of the different types of sellers, as well as my instinct on how my buyer would have thought through the situation to choose the piece of inventory. By using context and prior knowledge, as well as a bit of inference, I was able to make the purchase that resulted in a pleased customer."
Teacher answer example
"For years the department didn't have any way to quantify if our teaching methods were effective. Two years ago, I proposed that we set up four tests throughout the year to test cumulative knowledge. That summer, we sat down and wrote those tests and have been using them since. Now we shape all of our curriculum decisions off of actual data instead of having to disagree or simply follow a gut feeling."

More Interview Questions

View user-submitted Answers

Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed.
1.
As a Marketing Manager I had to convince upper management to give me advertising dollars based on gut feeling sometimes when a new publication would begin. At Wrights, I saw an opportunity to commit to a year's worth of advertising in a new quilting publication which was outside our 'usual' presentation schedule. I felt it would reach a larger audience and lay groundwork for some new types of product I wanted to bring in. I did convince them to give me a portion of the money I had asked for and it paid off. The magazine was a huge success and did not even take the standard time to build readership. I followed up by publishing the success in a company newsletter to support management's decision and give them a comfort level with my judgement for the next time I came to them with an opportunity.
2.
Team leader so that point of time to lead the group.
3.
Try to best understand the situations. And come up with the best soulution.
4.
Last summer, working at Hollister, on my first day of work I was told to dress the mannequins based on the sheet that came with the outfit for that mannequin. All my boss told me was how to take off and put on the pants and handed me pins and a stapler and told me to make it look exactly like the sheet. I was slightly confused, but I knew that he didn't have time to bother with my small questions so I just tried to use the pins and stapler that he gave me to my best ability. He ended up having a few corrections for me, but said that overall I had done a good job.
5.
Make a research, ask someone who can help you to enable you to make a good decision. Experience can also help you to decide on things.
6.
If I think it is in the interest of the organisation, both financially and reputation of the company one shoud make decision withut having full informations. Eg row materials at low price from the suppliers with short time limits.
7.
I would like to present the example when last year year we had to make our projects and had to submit its name beforehand so, we glanced at further aspects of the project and finally decided to make one where we didnt had all the technical information of the platform we would be using for the coding and its challenges.
8.
In general, I have found that many times you can't possess all information regarding decisions. However, it has been my policy to investigate all avenues available to me prior to decision making, including professional, legal, personal, and electronic information to come to the best decision I can in the circumstances surrounding the situation.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
9.
No answer that I can think of here.
10.
My kids going somewhere that I did not know who was going<br />
11.
I am a scientist if I don`t have the information I look for it. In a way you could be called to make something similar when you are about to write \n abstract for a congress partiscipation, and you have to outline the direction your research is about to go to, without knowing the actual results yet.
12.
I havent made any decision with all the information but would love to get the opportunity to do so.
13.
I would often encounter these type of situations at work. I would typically make phone calls to vendors that we would purchase parts from. I would then order various sampes, test them, and then either make a decision or suggestion with regard to my opinions to my team.
14.
When customer brought back product for refund without receipt.
15.
There was a small chemicla spill in our lab. No one would say what happened but continued to work. I made the decision to evacuate the building and dealt with the spill.
16.
No I didn't got an opportunity to handle such a case.
17.
I have not encountered this situatio. However, if I had to make a decision without all for the information; I would base my decision on the information at that time. When the remainder of the information was available I would review the previous decision and make any changes necessary.
18.
When I had to submit a college project on java... And I didnt know a bit of it... I managed to get and scored gud but still was nt satisfied.
19.
Doing projection for the period.
20.
Working on the annual report with not enough information or direction in the beginning and going to every director of depts. Of the city gathering information then going to the City Administrator with a recommendation.
21.
The cx asked for some gui which is not mentioned specifically and but he gave some bench mark websites. So I have to choose the background from them where I need to make a decision on this high severeness situation.
22.
The head of the organization was unable to stay in egypt as long as I could so I was often left to handle any issues by myself.
23.
Res atcking nad make provision, buffer of 10% and make assumptions.
24.
During the registration process at a recent event I had a gentlemen come up to get his registration package and we could not find any information on him. He insisted that he had registered. We asked him if he had his registration confirmation letter with him and he replied that he did have it however not with him at the moment. In that split second I made the decision to go ahead and give him a temporary registration tag for the 1st day only and he needed to bring the confirmation letter with him inorder to collect the full package.
25.
I faced a situation where we used to work on two sub-processes. So there was an update for one process with which the other was getting affected. So I took the decision of stooping the process for the time being informing the client as we had enough time for that particular task(TAT).
26.
Many times, but the one I remember most is deciding to join my 2nd organization, without much know how about the industry. Still remeber this as one of my best decisions, it taught me to stick to things that are close to my own personal values. This has now become a major criteria when it comes to life choices.
27.
Made with experience, or with possible solutions, else ask suggestions about this with others.
28.
In my prior career, I had to make a lot of decisions on the types of policies to issue without all the correct information or participation of the customer. I would have to do my own search and investigation on the properties to get a little more information before issuing policies.
29.
I reveiwed the information I had and weighed my options and made the best decision I could with the information I had.
30.
I had to decide whether or not to go in for an interview with the program director for the radiation therapy program. At the time I didn't really know what radiation therapy meant but was very eager to learn about it.
31.
Whether or not to do overtime in an area that I had never covered before and didn't know my way around.
32.
Yes at the time of incident in mine that is under my control. Compressor hose pipe fired at that time I had taken a spot decission and I had controllled it.
33.
It was a horrible mess. I spent R20000 when I only had R2000 to spend.
34.
I used all the information that was available to me and gathered the additional information that I did not know from collegues.
35.
No notes and if thew patient needed follow up.
36.
As HD when people got in trouble for drinking they would claim they weren't drinking. I couldn't say that I saw them drinking, but I still needed to discipline them. Therefore I would say that there is a rule where if there is any alcohol in the room it is assumed that all occupants are consuming the alcohol.
37.
I had worked on mesco power station circuit breaker, an old one for 8 years. The breaker was faulty and I had budgeted for it and obtained contractor site visit for replacement. In the meantime, during a failure after servicing, I had to get consent from my supervisors to run generator using the unreliable breaker, I needed them to inform me further whether this was the way to go to avail 0.38MW or shut down the station until after the contractor was done. 3 of them informed me to normalize and run the generator because the problem was known, and my reports on breakers at a similar old station indicated troublesome breaker operation, but operations were going-on. I decided to lower protection settings for relays and normalize the one generator power station. However, during a susutained fault, the old relay also failed, the breaker failed and we lost the generator, thereby losing the stsion to date.
38.
Yes every one knows the time is the most one .Even the time can be spend more surely I will inform all of them.This is more precious for time , every time it will any decision every one that can be inform other .I sure about that situation.
39.
40.
When it is really urgent and the time kills.
41.
I need to get simulation results from silicon designers on DDR memory speed before I could confirm that there are no issues. I did not get that but need to move ahead wih memory test. So I placed a caveat in the presentation that if we face any speed issues in actual memory HW interface we need to look into this issue as a potential silicon limitation.
42.
It is quite difficult to take the decision without compete information. but there was an incident where I have to take the decission whether to proceed or not. I checked if I would proceed with it then it should adversly effect my companies image.
43.
Give me an example of a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed.
44.
Sometimes it has happended that we dont have all the documentation or information that we need to provide the best services. In a certain circumstances, I will ask the approval from my supervisor or superior approval prior to making any decisions.
45.
I had to make a decision to leave my job to help my parents.
46.
I had to make a decison on leaving my job to help at home with my parents.
47.
Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult colleague.
48.
After carefully researching, I made the best avaliable decision that was in the best interest of everyone.
49.
I was doing a presentation about a topic which has not been implemented yet so I couldn't get much information on the topic but I was able to convince my professor that it might work one day.
50.
Grant foundation sometimes do this to you. To see what enititive you are willing or able to apply to see if you will make and adhere to future deadlines. They don't tell you the entire story at first and you must apply intuition and fact finding effort to get through the first set of cuts.
51.
I don`t take decisions if I don`t have informations about it. Before I ask and after I act.
52.
Return on expensive designer dress with receipt not knowing that Marlee had just denied it due to it being Previously Returned.

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