The example you use in this answer will help the interviewer to determine the level of responsibility you have in your current position. For instance, if your hardest decision is what to have for lunch, you likely aren't in a place to be the leader of 15 incumbents. Discuss some of the weightier responsibilities and decisions assigned to you, in your current or most recent role.
"The hardest decision I made recently was related to budget cuts. We had to eliminate some additional expenses but narrowing down which ones to cut was more challenging than I initially thought. I presented two options to my boss, and he is currently weighing the options I brought to him."
"I had to decide on which temporary associates to hire to cover the permanent employee vacation times this summer. I balanced between someone I knew would catch onto the job quickly but also fit in well with our clients and existing staff."
"The hardest decision I had to make recently was yesterday. I fired two of our lowest sales performers. These terminations came after some coaching opportunities were provided but not implemented. It is never fun to fire anyone, but this needs to be done at times to keep productivity and to reach corporate goals."
"I was recently asked by the owner of my agency to fire a client. It was a challenging situation because I do not like this type of conflict; however, it needed to happen. The client was not cooperating with the process needed to deliver our best product, and within their demanding timeline."
"The hardest decision I made recently was to create the employee schedule for the next week. My manager usually does the scheduling, but I was put in charge of this task while she is away on holidays. It's harder than I looks, but I believe I did an excellent job!"
"I had to swap around the client territory of our team last month. There were a few sales reps who were not happy about the change, but they were also the ones underperforming. I explained the system and also reminded them that the premium client accounts belong to the top performers."
"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 the other students."
The interviewer would like to see that you have put some thought into your action plan for when you start working for their company! Ways that you can make an impact right away could include getting a head start on your training, taking additional coursework, or making a 30, 60, 90-day sales plan. Whatever the job function for which you are interviewing, there is always room to wow the interviewer by showing them you have already put some thought into your success.
"In my first three months I plan to be the fastest trainee you have ever brought onboard! I will spend extra time learning the ropes. You'll be very impressed with my steep learning curve."
"You mentioned in our first interview that you need someone to come in and re-organize all of your digital and physical files from the past five years. This organizing is a task I know I can do well, and quickly. I would like my initial impact to be in that area if this suits you."
"For my first three months here I would like to get to know each of your staff members and become acquainted with their performance and numbers. From there, I can best make an action plan in regards to motivating and encouraging your team, especially the underperformers that you mentioned."
"I believe the first few months, while I train, the best thing I can do is study hard and take any additional training in digital marketing, that you see fit. You mentioned that you'd like to see stronger skills in Facebook marketing so I can certainly take some additional coursework in that area, to benefit both of us."
"I believe the best thing that I can deliver to you in my first three months, and long after that, is being a reliable and engaged employee who encourages customers to try new products. I plan to be well-versed in your product's features and benefits right out of the gates, making me a top performer."
"I have brought with me a 30,60, and 90-day plan. May I show you? This plan outlines how I will exceed my targets in the first three months while getting to know my new clients and learning the territory, and products. I am very excited to get started!"
"The first few months of my role will be to get to know my students. It's most important to me that I make a connection with them. This connection will allow me to reach them where they are; resulting in more effective classroom time."
This question is a tricky one because you do not want to foster an air of negativity during the interview. If you have heard negative things about the employer, you likely do not yet have the rapport to bring it up let alone help them make a move towards change. Keep your answer light and comfortable for the interviewer to address. The key here is to complete your response on a positive note.
"I read on Glassdoor.com that growth within your company can be slow. Could you comment on that for me? I am interested in joining an organization where growth is present when I prove myself to be a valuable team member. With that said, I have heard many more amazing things about your company, as opposed to negative."
"I cannot even remember where I heard it, but I did hear at one point that your hiring decisions can be a touch slow. Do you have a timeline in mind for filling this particular position? I am willing to be patient with your process, either way. It's an important decision, I realize."
"Negative does not always mean it's true - this is one lesson that I have learned after years of being in a leadership role. I have heard primarily great things about your company. Anything negative that I have heard, such as turnover or slow growth, are complaints that all enterprise-level organizations receive."
"I read a less than flattering review online from a disgruntled employee. I take those comments with a grain of salt, as there are always two sides to a story. When looking online, the positive far outweighed any negative comments."
"I have heard the usual comments that retail stores receive related to lack of training, unhappy customers, and high turnover. I asked around a bit before coming here today as I have a couple of friends who work here. Everyone I spoke to said it was a great environment, so I am going to lead with those positive thoughts instead!"
"One thing I have heard was that your sales targets are very challenging to achieve. Are you able to speak to that at all? I am a proven top performer who loves a challenge, but I certainly want to make sure that I am set up for success."
"Your school has a wonderful reputation. The only negative I have heard was in the district as a whole and was related to small budgets, and some additional cuts. I am happy to discuss this further if you are open to that."
The interviewer is curious and would like to know if you are visiting any of their close competitors to discuss similar roles. You are never under obligation to disclose who you are interviewing with, and you are usually best not to name any names. Be direct without giving away too much. Let the interviewer know that you are active in your search but are being very discerning regarding your applications, and final decision. You also do not want it to appear that you are putting all of your eggs into this one basket. Think of this as a first date question - you want to show your interest, but also keep some mystery!
"I have been interviewing for a couple of similar positions; however, I am furthest in the interview process with your organization. I am very pleased with the impressions your management and HR team members have left on me so far."
"I am interviewing with two other organizations for similar roles. One position, I am in the third interview stage, and the other was a pre-screen call with an in-person interview tomorrow. It is important to me that I find work soon; however, I will hold out for the right opportunity."
"I have been approached by Company ABC, and one other, to discuss similar management roles. I am most familiar with your company, and this is my preferred role. Do you have a timeline in mind for this decision?"
"The marketing world is a tight one so, for that reason, I am choosing to keep the details of my search confidential. Three other local marketing firms have approached me, and look forward to receiving an offer soon."
"There are many seasonal retail positions available right now. With that said, your position is of great interest because it is a full-time opportunity. Also, I shop here all the time and would love to be a permanent part of your organization."
"I am not in a position to disclose which of your competitors are engaging me at the moment but I can tell you that I am in early to mid-interview stages with two others. Your company is my first choice, and luckily we are furthest along in the interview process."
"Your school is my first choice due to the leadership team, and the location. I have applied to other schools in the district as well, but I certainly hope to be your first choice as well!"
The interviewer would like to see if you have any insight regarding opportunities in which they can become better in the industry. As a job seeker, you have a unique advantage because you have gone through their process, or at least a little bit of it, as an outsider. Discuss what you have observed as a candidate, or even as a past customer. Your reply should not be a serious critique. Be sure to keep your answer light and end on a positive note.
"I have been through a great deal of your interview process at this point, and I must say that your company has the fastest callback time, and are the most responsive overall. The only thing I could even mention at this point is that the job portal was a bit tough to navigate. Overall, I am thrilled with my experience."
"I did notice that your employer profiles on social media could be stronger. Those profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Instagram can be helpful resources for candidates. I set these up for my previous employer and would be happy to do the same for you, should I be the successful candidate in this role."
"I have heard excellent things about your organization including how you perform your exit interviews with employees who are leaving your company. You mentioned in our previous interview that your company could be more efficient in the hiring process. This task is one that I can certainly tackle once I am on board."
"I find your agency to be highly creative but perhaps a touch underrated compared to other local agencies. I want to yell from the rooftops how valuable your team is, and the fact that you are lower priced than most is incredible."
"I truly appreciate the effort you put into your onboarding process, and how quickly you have moved with my candidacy so far. I am happy with all that I have seen and have no valuable suggestions at this time."
"I have been a customer, as well as now a candidate, with your company. If I could make any recommendations, I would suggest strengthening your social media presence. 100% of your next generation of customers are online. I can help you with meeting them there through a stronger sales based social strategy."
"I have not spent enough time in your school district to make an educated recommendation; however, as an experienced educator, I can guess that your pain points may come from public education budget cuts. Is this correct?"
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