Interview Question: Making Split Second Decisions on the Fly

Nilda Melissa Diaz
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, Career Advice Contributor Last Updated: September 01, 2022
Give An Example Of Making A Last Minute Decision

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As you practice your responses to interview inquiries, you need to make sure to prepare for a variety of questions. Many hiring managers use both traditional and behavioral interview questions. A behavioral query is designed to emphasize how you handled specific situations in the past to get an idea of what you might do in the future. There are a lot of behavior-based inquiries, such as ‘give me an example of a time when you had to make an important last-minute- on-the-fly decision.’ If you want to truly impress the interviewer, you need to be prepared to give a solid response to this type of inquiry.

Many job seekers find this type of question to be challenging. Some people struggle when picking an example, while others cannot seem to fit all of the important details into the story. To help make the process easier, you need to consider what the hiring manager is really asking. In this case, the employer may be trying to find out more about your decision-making process and how you work. You could hear the question worded in a different way, such as ‘describe a time when you had to make a split-second decision.’

Regardless of how the inquiry is made, you need to practice a response in order to wow the hiring manager. With a little preparation and the STAR method, you may be able to give an outstanding response to this and other behavior-based inquiries.

How to Answer the ‘Give Me an Example of a Time When You Had to Make an Important Last-Minute, On-The-Fly Decision’ Behavioral Interview Question

1. Focus on Your Important Competencies

Whenever you answer any type of query, you need to figure out exactly what the hiring manager is asking. This will allow you to focus on the right skills and abilities in your response. For this behavioral inquiry, you likely want to highlight how you solve problems when they show up at the last minute. Making an on-the-fly decision requires creativity, a results-oriented mindset, determination or analytical thinking. It does not matter if your biggest competency is you are resourceful or ready to step up; you should highlight what you can bring to the table in your answer.

2. Describe Your Decision-Making Process

The two main parts of decision-making are gathering information and analyzing it. In order to really impress the hiring manager, your answer should show off how you can still go through the steps of your decision-making process even when you are short on time. Many occupations will require quick decisions, which is why this type of inquiry is often made. Ensure you come off as a qualified candidate by giving detailed information about what you do to make important decisions.

3. Use the Best Organization Method

Behavioral interview questions are answered with a story from your past that best highlights what you will be able to do for the company at hand in the future. As you practice your response, you are going to want to pick out a great example, but you also have to think about how you are going to tell the story. Without an organization method, you may find your reply lacks consistency and is hard to understand. The STAR method is a great way to keep your answer straight to the point. This method requires a few components:

  • Situation/Task: An overview of the situation you were in or the task you had to complete that led to the last-minute decision.
  • Action: A detailed description of the steps you took to remedy the situation or complete the task.
  • Result: A quick look at the results offered by your quick thinking.

When you include these components in your response, you may find it is easier to reply to behavior-based inquiries. The STAR method is a great technique to keep in mind when you are asked a behavioral query you were unable to prepare for before the interview.

Sample ‘Give Me an Example of a Time When You Had to Make an Important Last-Minute, On-The-Fly Decision’ STAR Interview Answer

I was going on a sales pitch with two other colleagues. We had gone over a few scenarios with our supervisor so we would be prepared to answer our client’s questions and make deals to clinch the sale. After the presentation, we were blindsided by an unexpected request. As the senior salesperson on the call, my colleagues looked to me for the decision. To avoid looking uncertain, I only had a minute to really think over my options. Thankfully, I have always been able to think on my feet. I analyzed the deal they had requested and compared it to what we had been authorized to give them. Through this short analysis, I realized what they wanted was very comparable to what we could give them. I decided to take the initiative and agree to the terms they had requested. Once we got back to the office, I talked with my supervisor. He was happy with the decision that had been made and overjoyed with the sale.

Gain the confidence you need to answer behavioral interview questions with ease by putting in a little practice and using the STAR method.

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