Whats The Most Difficult Decision You’ve Made

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: October 26, 2022

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As you go on interviews you will notice a few interview questions that are commonly asked. How you address such questions can greatly affect whether you will be seriously considered for a position or not. Therefore it is important to fully understand the true meaning behind the question in order to properly address it. As in the case with the popular interview question- “What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made?” there is a deeper meaning behind the query that you must assess and speak to in order to receive further consideration for the position you seek.

How do you handle conflict? and “What is your problem-solving process?” are other common ways to phrase this type of question. When interviewers ask any of these questions they are less interested in the decisions you have had to make- but rather are more concerned with your decision-making skills along with other attributes. They want to know how you handle stressful situations and what positive characteristics you possess that can be applied to the position. If you can properly answer this question you will leave a lasting impression with the interviewer- which can help you to stand out among the competition.

How to Answer the “Whats The Most Difficult Decision You’ve Made?” Interview Question

Keep It Relevant

Remember the goal in answering the question “What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made?” and similar interview questions is not necessarily to focus on your experiences- but rather to show your decision-making and problem-solving skills among other traits. Therefore make sure that the story you tell is relevant to or can be easily related to the position that you are applying for. Even if you have not previously held the type of position that you are seeking- think of an experience that you have had where you utilized relevant skills and share that story.

Be Precise

For some people it can be easy to get carried away when sharing a story- especially if it is important to them or impactful to their careers. However- this is not the time to do that. You are in an interview with a limited amount of time to convince the interviewer that you are a proper fit for the position. Make the most of your time by first coming prepared for the question and also rehearsing your answer to make sure that you state it in the best manner possible and that you keep it to the point.

Highlight Your Skills

Your decision-making abilities should show naturally in your answer to this question. Along with that quality- find places to elaborate on other parts of your unique skill set that are related to the position. For example you can expound a bit on the positive characteristics you possess that placed you in a situation to have to make a difficult decision. This will not only help to make you and your story more memorable- but it may also help you to stand out among other candidates.

Avoiding Getting Too Personal

A mistake that some candidates make is getting too personal. Though the interviewer is interested in getting to know prospective employees as people- a personal story about a difficult decision could make the interviewer uncomfortable or reveal unfavorable traits. Even though personal situations may be more impactful- try to stick to work-related instances. If you strongly desire to use a story from outside your work life- make sure that it is closely related to the position that you are applying for and try to avoid giving too many personal details. If implemented correctly this could be a great way to help you to stand out- but understand that you are walking a fine line and you should be careful.

Sample “Whats The Most Difficult Decision You’ve Made?” Interview Answers

1. A few months ago at my current job I was being considered for a promotion to an executive management level within the company. Though I was grateful for the consideration- at the time I was overseeing several accounts- a few of which were at critical stages and I felt that my transition could negatively affect the progression of the accounts. After speaking with my supervisors and expressing my concerns- we decided that it would be best for me to maintain my current position and possibly advance into the role in the future.

2. As the operations officer in a previous position I was tasked with increasing the efficiency of the company’s production line. I discovered and analyzed a new technology system that would increase production by 30 percent; however it contained programming that would make certain employee positions virtually obsolete. I promoted a plan that implemented the new system and provided cross-training for employees- which helped to limit layoffs while still increasing productivity and revenue for the company.

Do not allow yourself to be caught off-guard. Take some time to consider the tips and samples provided so that you can be fully prepared to answer the “What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made?” query or similar interview questions.

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