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Answering Common Questions

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What is the hardest decision you have had to make recently?

Example #1
"The hardest decision I made recently was related to budget cuts. Tasked with eliminating non-core expenses in the sales department, narrowing down which ones to cut was more challenging than I initially thought. After a day of deliberation, I presented two options to my boss. He is currently weighing the options I brought to him. The experience taught me a great deal about cost analysis, and I even strengthened my knowledge in Excel spreadsheets, a skill that I know will be very important in this new role. "
Example #2
"Last quarter, I had to decide which temporary associate to choose for our Sales Administrators' vacation coverage. I carefully chose a temp associate who I knew would catch onto the job quickly, but also fit in well with our clients and staff. This responsibility strengthened my skills in reading resumes and performing better pre-screen interviews. I understand that this role requires some HR administrative responsibilities, and I am glad to have gained even more exposure to these tasks."
Example #3
"Just yesterday, I faced a very challenging situation. I terminated two of our lowest sales performers. These terminations came after I provided many coaching opportunities and performance plans with no marked improvement. It is never fun to let people go, but sometimes it needs to be done to keep productivity and to reach corporate goals. I read a book last month called 'How to Fire an Employee.' It sounds basic, but there were some useful scripts that I ended up utilizing as a guideline for these terminations. Now, I bring increased confidence in my ability to have valuable exit interviews."
Example #4
"My agency owner asked me to fire a client last month. It was a challenging situation because I do not enjoy conflict; however, it needed to happen. The client was not cooperating with the processes required to deliver our best product within their demanding timeline. I researched and learned how to have constructive conversations surrounding expectations. I discussed the broken communication and unrealistic demands while providing supporting examples. In the end, the client agreed, and we parted ways amicably. As tough as the situation was, I learned a lot about outlining expectations and leading difficult conversations."
Example #5
"The hardest decision I made recently was while creating the staff schedule for the next week. My manager usually does the team schedule, but I was put in charge of this task when she took a holiday. Building a balanced staff schedule is harder than it looks! I wanted to make everyone happy while also being aware of not stacking the schedule or giving someone too many prime shifts. I believe that I did an excellent job, and I gained confidence in my scheduling abilities - a skill that I can bring to your company!"
Example #6
"Due to an imbalance of client numbers, I had to swap around the territories of our team last month. There were a few sales reps who were not happy about the change, but they were also the ones who were underperforming. I explained the system and also reminded them that the premium client accounts belong to the top performers. I never find it easy to disappoint someone; however, I also will not shy away from making tough decisions that benefit my employer."
Example #7
"I recently recommended the suspension of a student with severe behavioral issues. It was not an easy choice; however, I had to evacuate the classroom a few times the past couple of months. This behavior is unfair to other students, and I needed to take action. I have completed training on de-escalation in the classroom, and this knowledge was beneficial in this particular situation."
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Our interview questions are created by writers, most of whom have a long history of recruiting and interviewing candidates. They do not necessarily have experience interviewing or working with the companies, careers or schools they may write for on We strive to match our experts' background and expertise with the appropriate question sets found on our website.