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60+ Decision-Making Interview Questions to Ask Candidates


Last Updated:  

25 September 2023

8 min read

Decision-making interview questions help you determine your candidates’ experience and competency in making decisions at work. 

In this article, we discuss why you should assess your candidate’s skill in decision-making and list the best decision-making interview questions.

Why ask candidates decision-making interview questions?

Decision-making interview questions help you assess how well potential employees will be able to solve conflict and take action at work. 

These questions are not meant to be asked only for managerial roles that require excellent decision-making skills. All jobs require some level of decision-making.

Employees make work-related decisions on a daily basis. For instance, hiring managers may have to select between two or more potential candidates, or a designer might need to choose between two UX patterns.

A good decision-maker has excellent:

  • Critical thinking skills: Be able to use reason to make the right decision for themselves and their team.
  • Analytical skills: Successfully analyze and interpret information to draw meaningful conclusions.
  • Observational abilities: Ability to make important observations through their five senses.
  • Problem-solving skills: Assess and consider all options or variables to arrive at the best possible solution.
  • Creativity: Ability to view issues and options from different perspectives and develop unique solutions.
  • Leadership skills: An empathetic person who provides helpful guidance to a group of people.

Apart from looking for certain qualities, one key area to focus on is the candidate’s past performance in situations similar to what they will encounter in your workplace.

The best decision-making interview questions you should be asking every candidate

Here are the questions to ask your candidates to assess their decision-making skills:

General Decision-Making Process

These questions evaluate a candidate’s general approach to making decisions and forming action plans.

  1. You have a number of different choices or options you could choose to solve a problem. What’s the process you would follow to make a decision that would result in a positive outcome?
  2. Describe the process or methodology you typically follow for making a decision and forming a plan of action.
  3. You could take two or three equally viable paths to accomplish a goal. How would you make your decision about which path to follow?
  4. Have you ever delayed choosing a course of action? How did that hesitation affect you and your customers?
  5. Tell me about a time when you had to make a quick decision under pressure. What was the situation, and how did you ensure the decision was the right one?
  6. Have you ever had to make a decision with incomplete or ambiguous information? How did you handle the uncertainty, and what was the outcome?
  7. Tell me about a decision you made that didn’t result in the desired outcome. How did you reflect on and learn from the experience?
  8. Describe a situation where you faced an ethical dilemma while making a decision. How did you resolve it, and what principles guided your decision?
  9. Can you share an example of a time when you had to consider the long-term impact of your decision? How did you ensure that the decision would align with future goals and objectives?
  10. Describe a situation where you received feedback that challenged your decision. How did you respond, and did you make any adjustments based on the feedback?

Business Acumen and Resource Allocation

These questions assess a candidate’s ability to make informed business decisions and allocate resources effectively.

  1. You have several options to pick, but none of them are enough to achieve your goal. How would you decide which option to pick?
  2. Faced with a choice between a candidate for a promotion, a project leader, a lateral move, or a new hire, describe how you would make your decision.
  3. How do you prioritize resource allocation when managing multiple projects with competing deadlines and limited resources? Can you give a specific example?
  4. Describe a situation where you had to make a trade-off between the quality and cost of a product or service. How did you ensure the business’s interests were met?
  5. When you have to work with a tight budget, how do you decide which areas or projects get funding and which ones do not? Can you provide an example of a difficult decision you had to make in this area?
  6. Can you share an instance where you had to make a strategic decision that had a long-term impact on the business? How did you approach it, and what were the results?
  7. Can you discuss a situation where you had to assess the risk and return of a business decision? What were the potential benefits and drawbacks, and how did you mitigate risks
  8. How do you stay informed about industry trends and market developments, and how have you applied this knowledge in making business decisions?
  9. Describe a time when you identified an opportunity to improve operational efficiency within your department or the organization. What steps did you take, and what was the outcome?
  10. Can you give an example of a time when you made a business decision primarily based on customer needs? How did you balance customer satisfaction with the company’s interests?

Boundary and Role Decision-Making

  1. Have you ever had to make a decision that did not fall into your job responsibilities? Describe the situation, your decision, and the effects of that decision. 
  2. Describe a time when you had to make a decision in the absence of clear guidelines or protocols. How did you ensure that your decision was appropriate and aligned with organizational values?
  3. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where a decision was needed but no one was taking charge? What did you do, and what was the result?
  4. Can you discuss a situation where you had to make a decision that impacted multiple departments within the organization? How did you consider the needs and constraints of each department in your decision-making process?
  5. Tell me about a time when you had to make an unpopular decision that you believed was in the best interest of the organization. How did you handle the fallout or backlash?
  6. Describe a situation where you were part of a cross-functional team and had to make a collective decision. How did you ensure that all perspectives were considered and the final decision was agreed upon by all stakeholders?
  7. Have you ever had to decide whether to delegate a decision or make it yourself? How did you determine the appropriate level of involvement, and what was the outcome?
  8. Can you recall a time when you had to make a decision that significantly impacted external partners or stakeholders? How did you manage their expectations and communication?
  9. Describe a time when an unforeseen situation required an immediate decision, and there was no one in authority available. How did you handle the situation, and what were the repercussions?
  10. Have you ever been in a situation where adhering strictly to an organizational policy would result in a negative outcome? How did you navigate this, and what decision did you ultimately make?

Career and Educational Choices

These questions focus on personal and career-related decisions that candidates have made.

  1. Briefly describe the process you followed to pick the college you attended.
  2. How will you decide whether to accept a job offer that you think is a good match for your skills, salary requirements, and preferred workplace?
  3. Have you ever had to choose between multiple job offers? What criteria did you use to evaluate them, and how did you arrive at your final decision?
  4. Can you share a time when you had to make a critical decision regarding your career path? How did you ensure that the decision aligned with your long-term goals and aspirations?
  5. Describe a situation where you had to make a decision involving a trade-off between your career and personal life. How did you approach this, and were you satisfied with the outcome?
  6. Talk about a time when you decided to make a significant change in your career, such as changing industries or roles. What motivated this decision, and what was the impact on your career trajectory?
  7. Describe the process you use to evaluate whether to accept a promotion or a lateral move within an organization. What factors do you consider, and how do you prioritize them?
  8. Have you ever had to decide whether to relocate for a career opportunity? How did you approach this decision, and what were the key considerations?
  9. Can you discuss a time when you decided to invest time and resources in your professional development? How did you choose the area to focus on, and what was the return on your investment?
  10. If you have considered starting your own business or have done so, describe the decision-making process that led you to that choice. What were the risks and benefits you considered?

Interpersonal and Team Decisions

These questions probe how candidates decide on and communicate their needs and preferences in team settings.

  1. When you are working with a colleague, how do you decide upon and communicate the points at which you need feedback?
  2. If you had the opportunity to hire employees, what criteria would you use to hire them? What’s important to you when making this decision?
  3. Describe a situation where you had to collaborate with a teammate who had a different opinion or approach. How did you arrive at a consensus?
  4. Can you discuss a time when you had to mediate a conflict within your team? How did you ensure that a fair and productive resolution was reached?
  5. How do you decide what information to share with your team and what to keep to yourself? Can you provide an example of how you made such a decision?
  6. Describe the criteria you use to delegate tasks to team members. How do you ensure the right person is assigned to the right task?
  7. When working in a team, how do you decide which tasks or roles to volunteer for? Can you discuss a time when you had to make such a decision?
  8. How do you approach decisions involving team recognition and rewards? Can you give an example where you had to decide who should be recognized or rewarded?
  9. Describe a situation where you had to make a decision about accepting or rejecting a team’s input. How did you approach this, and what factors did you consider?
  10. Discuss a time when you had to make a decision that was in the best interest of the team, even if it was not in your personal best interest. How did you handle it?

More decision-making interview questions to ask candidates

  1. Two employees are having regular conflicts with each other and often disturb the team’s balance. How would you handle this situation?
  2. Describe a time you made an unpopular decision. How did you handle the feedback? How would you have handled the situation differently?
  3. Do you usually make better decisions alone or with a group? Why? When do you ask for help?
  4. When you’re working on a joint project, do you make your own decisions or do you prefer to step back and follow someone else’s guidelines?
  5. Describe a time when you had to make an immediate decision on a critical issue.
  6. While working on a joint project, you notice that some of your coworkers are falling behind. What would you do to help your team meet the deadline?
  7. When working with colleagues on a joint project, how would you divide responsibilities? Also, how do you arrive at this choice?
  8. When supervising employees, what is the best time and way to discuss possible shortcomings in their work?
  9. How would you deal with a demanding external stakeholder who keeps changing requirements about a specific project you’re working on?
  10. You want to buy new software that will help you perform your job well. You have two options, one is more expensive but has better reviews, and the other has fewer features but is within budget. Which one would you recommend and how?

Final thoughts

Decision-making interview questions allow you to understand how competent and comfortable your candidates are with making decisions.

When done right, you’ll be able to identify potential hires with sound judgment. We hope this article will help you ask effective decision-making interview questions.

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Have you got any questions on asking decision-making interview questions? Got any interesting tips or hacks for asking decision-making interview questions? Let us know in the comment section below.

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I'm a developer turned marketer, working as a Product Marketer at SurveySparrow — A survey tool that lets anyone create beautiful, conversational surveys people love to answer.


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