The interviewer wants to know how you handle pressure and situations that require you to think independently. Think back to a time when a project needed to get done or you had a problem with a client and your manager was away. Explain how you handled it with confidence.
If you have had a managerial position or higher, this question may be easier to answer since your role requires more decision-making responsibility. Think back to when a project didn't go according to plan and the decision you had to make to repair the situation.
"I had to address a problem with a customer when my manager was in a meeting. Normally, we give complaints such as this one to the manager, but this customer was incredibly upset over her experience. I felt that if I told her to wait it would make her feel like I didn't care. Since we screwed up on the product we sent her, I took full responsibility for it and explained how I would fix the situation. I ended up giving her a refund, and at the end of the call she thanked me for listening and said this was one of the best experiences she had with a customer service associate."
"In my last role, I was tasked with finding potential new vendors when it came to supplies and a couple of other small services such as secure recycling and coffee products. I did a great deal of research and took cost savings, service, and reputation into account. Once I decided on the changes to implement, I tracked our company's savings for three months, then presented those savings to the owner. Overall, my decisions saved us $25,000."
"I decided to change the onboarding process entirely. I implemented job shadowing for each sales person's first month, along with regular ride alongs and client reviews for the first three months. The changes dramatically increased the success of our new sales professionals and also increased employee retention by 15%, saving us thousands of dollars in rehires."
"In my current role, it was my idea to start a social media marketing component to our, otherwise print advertising focused agency. Being the only millennial in the office, I headed up the basics of the department and making major decisions on the types of services we would begin to offer. Once the new sector was up and running, it successfully added $500K in revenue for the company in the first year."
"Many of my current decisions are surrounding accepting returns and helping customers. Because we do not always have a manager on the floor, I have to make calculated decisions that help the customer while also being the best possible option for the company. I decided to take back an opened electronics item because there had been the talk of a recall and what the client was stating, lined up with the feedback I had received before. Despite our no returns on open product policy, I felt confident in my decision, and my manager later agreed. My actions even resulted in the customer leaving a great review on our company's Facebook page!"
"In my most recent role, I had the responsibility to decide the breakdown of territories and sales executives assigned to each of those territories. Some regions were more favorable than others, and I had to choose who would get those, knowing it would be an uncertain outcome now matter what I decided. I made them as balanced as possible, weighed metrics of the salespersons, and made as fair of a decision as possible. Because of my plan, I did get the anticipated push back and complaints, but I also was able to back up my decision with metrics and data. Ultimately, I solidified myself as a leader in the organization who was not afraid to make a tough decision and stand behind it, even if it were to be an unpopular one."
"I made the surprising decision to work with a student during lunch, as he wasn't able to participate in Spanish class due to some behavioral issues. We did the full lessons together and bonded for the entire year. The next year, he had it written into his IEP that he'd participate in Spanish class- and he did. He was a star student in Spanish and knew that he needed to work on his behavior chart leading up to Spanish to be able to participate. It turned out to be a huge incentive for him, and he was indeed one of my best, and brightest, students."