Decision Making
Interview Questions

Some basics

A good interviewer will have a series of decision making interview questions to gather information. This information will be used to make decisions that he/she will have in mind and these include but are not limited to:

  • are you qualified for the job?
  • are your outcomes aligned with those of the company?
  • how will you fit in
  • and are the finances right?

Some of the interviewers questions themselves may be deliberate traps, but there are also some major traps to be aware of in answering decision making interview questions.

  • not listening to the question
  • answering a question other than the one that was asked
  • providing superfluous information, things that you want to say that satisfy only you
  • and not being prepared

Interview Question/Answer - Making A Decision

Martin John Yate in his book 'Great Answers To Tough Interview Questions' gives examples of excellent decision making interview questions, also giving sample answers and the reasoning behind these answers, and sometimes including the decision the interviewer will be making. Here are a few of them.

What are the reasons for your success in this profession?

Here, the interviewer actually wants to know what makes you tick, not just examples of your success. You need to be able to talk about your values and skills, such as what motivates you, why you're dedicated, the energy you bring as well as communication or analytical and decision making skills. And only then do you give an example or two to illustrate.

What kind of experience do you have for this job?

For the interviewee, it's a great opportunity to sell yourself. But be careful about selling yourself short, by not knowing what is most critical to the interviewer. Asking what they want from you in the first six months, or what projects you'll be involved in, allows you to blend your experience with what the company actually wants and needs, and to demonstrate that you are ready for the career change.

For the interviewer, it elicits information about the candidates interest in the job, concern for the company and overall ability to size up a situation and make his own decisions.

What did you like/dislike about your last job?

And what do you think of your last boss? How could they have done a better job? Why do you think you're a better manager/salesman then your co-workers?

These decision making interview questions are designed to weed out complainers and troublemakers.

Resist the temptation to criticize, and talk about, for example, how you're so busy learning you don't think about 'like' and 'dislike'.

In what ways has your job prepared you to take on greater responsibility?

This is one of the most important decision making interview questions in which the interviewer is seeking examples of your professional development. So give examples of the increasing responsibilities you have, the important decisions you have made and the skills you have acquired during your professional growth.


What type of decisions did you make in your last job?

The interviewer wants to know that you know what your responsibilities are, that you take responsibility for your own decisions, and that you don't overstep the mark.

How does this job compare with others you have applied for?

Such decision making interview questions are more dangerous variations of 'how many other jobs?' and 'who else have you applied to?'

The trick here is to answer the question while sidestepping. Announce that the job is totally unlike any other you have applied for. If pushed, suggest that you would need to ask quite detailed questions about this job and this company, and would now or later be the best time!

Tell me about yourself.

This is one of those decision making interview questions that it makes sense to answer with another question. You want to know if the question is about your business or personal life. Whichever it is, you should still talk about the values that you have that can be useful in the organization, or how your passion is aligned with the corporate mission. You do not need to talk about your phobias, your childhood traumas or your boss's bad habits!

Tell me a story.

The answer again is a question. A story about what? Regardless of what their answer is, tell a story that demonstrates that you are a team player, or you're determined, or some such thing.

Do you have any questions?

Make sure you have some! An excellent idea is to ask some of your own decision making interview questions so that the interviewer gets to visualize you as an employee! What's the first assignment I would be working on? Would I have performance appraisals? To whom will I report? Will I be expected to travel?

One more...

And for any interviewers reading, I will just add one more here...

'If I was to tell you that you had NOT got the job, what would be an acceptable reason to you?'

It's a great question because even the candidates who do not get the job can still feel ok about the experience, as well as giving the interviewer valuable information about the candidate!

There are many more decision making interview questions explored in the book.

The right direction for you

An important aspect of any interview process is to make sure that the job is aligned with who you are and that you are getting good career advice...

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