Interview Question: Persuasion & Convincing Someone to See Your Way

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: December 05, 2022

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There are a lot of different kinds of inquiries made during an interview. Some questions, like ‘describe a situation that demanded you successfully convince someone to see things your way’ are behavioral. Interviewers often turn to behavioral interview questions to gain an understanding of how you apply your skills and experience to specific situations.

Behavioral questions differ from traditional interview questions in that they are not based on concrete facts. Instead, these questions emphasize your past experience with the idea that your past is a good indicator of what you will do in the future.

Inquiries like this give you a chance to highlight the skills, personality traits, experiences and knowledge you have that will benefit the company. The interviewer may be looking for a response highlighting your persuasion abilities, problem-solving skills and amiability, which is important to know so you can give the best reply possible. Some hiring managers may take this query and make it their own by asking, ‘Describe a time when you had to use your persuasion skills to successfully convince someone to see things your way.’

While these types of questions may seem challenging at first, with the right preparation and use of the STAR method, anyone can give a solid answer. As you prep for your interview, keep in mind that it’s a good idea to continue applying for other jobs. Build a new resume or update an existing resume using our Resume Builder, and get the work done in just three simple steps.

How to Answer the ‘Describe a Situation That Demanded You Successfully Convince Someone to See Things Your Way’ Behavioral Interview Question

1. Keep It Positive

Whenever you respond to a question about a time you had to convince someone to do something your way, you may be tempted to put a negative spin on the situation. It might be easy to say something glib about how the other idea was bad. This is an unwise approach to the answer of any type of question because you want to show off your teamwork capabilities.

Rather than focusing on the initial conflict, consider focusing on the steps you took to resolve the problem and convince your coworkers of the merits of your solution. Explain why your solution was the better choice and how you came to that conclusion so the hiring manager sees there was a method to your persuasion.

2. Highlight Your Persuasive Tactics

Through your answers to behavioral interview questions, you should be highlighting sought-after skills. In the case of this particular question, that sought-after skill would be persuasion. Communication is a huge part of persuasion. Not only do you have to be able to express your ideas, but you have to do so in a way that is right for the situation and the audience. Other tactics you might be able to use include active listening, demonstrating your credibility, establishing a common ground and acting with respect. Your reply should show the steps you take and the tactics you use to persuade others.

3. Practice a STAR-Method Story

To really give the best response possible, you are going to need to make sure your reply hits all of the important marks. The STAR method is an organization strategy designed to help you tell a clear story about your persuasion capabilities.

Each letter stands for a specific step:

  • Situation: Give a detailed description of the background to make the context of the situation clear.
  • Task: Describe what had to be accomplished and the challenges you were faced with.
  • Actions: Explain the steps you took to convince the other parties of your point of view.
  • Results: Highlight the end result and what it helped you accomplish.

You can use this method to answer any behavioral question, but it is still best if you practice your answer ahead of time. This will ensure you pick out an example that ended well and highlights your abilities in the best way possible. Your goal should be to impress the interviewer with your skills and show you are right for the job.

Sample ‘Describe a Situation That Demanded You Successfully Convince Someone to See Things Your Way’ STAR Interview Answer

At my last job, there was a big debate about the wireless provider we should use for our concession lines. The two providers we considered seemed to have similar plans for comparable prices, so the majority of my colleagues were interested in working with the more well-known of the providers. Before I cast my vote, I did some research on the two companies and the plans they offered. I found out the lesser-known company was actually going to provide us with more useful benefits for the same amount of coverage. In order to clearly demonstrate my findings, I created a graph that showed the benefits each provider was offering and the benefits our company most often used.

The next day I showed my colleagues. There was some back and forth at first, but in the end, my colleagues realized it was the best option for our budget and our needs. This plan did end up costing a little bit more, but it meant we didn’t have to subscribe to any other services, so it saved money in the long run.

If you want to answer behavioral interview questions well, you need to practice your answers. Use the tips above and the STAR method to help make yourself stand out from the competition.

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