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Challenging Interview Question

Here is a challenging interview question: Tell me about a time when you had to stick by a decision you made even though it made you very unpopular.

This is one of those questions that tests your resolve to stand firm when necessary. It takes leadership and good judgement to stick by an unpopular decision.

There is a behavioral aspect to this question, but what makes it more of a situational interview question is the number of settings or situations in which you made your stand...and more importantly...the results or outcome of your decision.

Examples might include:

  • Putting a customer on COD for slow pay history
  • Not bending on a company policy or procedure
  • Increasing prices on your products or services
  • Reducing or denying a warranty claim
  • Limiting personal use of company phones, vehicles, merchandise, or supplies
  • Enforcing safety rules
  • Not relaxing quality requirements for your products
  • Not accepting calls or permitting interruptions during a certain time block of the day
  • Not accepting a project or report unless it is filled out neatly, completely, and correctly
  • Not serving alcohol at company functions
  • Charging employees for lost or misplaced items

The real question is, can you stand firm on a decision when the situation warrants it?

There is a lot of hype and sensitivity in the workplace today about teamwork and harmony. This is all well and good, but sometimes we need to have the courage to simply do what is right.

There is a flip side to answering questions like this.

Sometimes people go overboard about doing what is right. There is a fine line between taking a firm stand on something, and being overly rigid and inflexible. As a general rule, throwing the gauntlet down over an issue should be a rare exception in your work environment instead of the norm.

Check Out: My Mock Job Interview Quiz to make sure you're ready for your interview.

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