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.
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."