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Tough Interview Questions and Answers

Are you able to make difficult decisions and tough choices?

Alternative and related questions:

Have you ever had to make a really difficult decision at work?
What kind of decisions do you find difficult?
Have you ever had to make a tough and unpopular choice at work?

The meaning behind the question:

You might think that there’s no hidden meaning to this question – that it’s a very direct question as to your decision-making abilities. However, it all hinges on precisely how you define a difficult decision – and your answer will almost inevitably reveal this. The interviewer wants to assess what your conception of a difficult decision is – and how you feel about making such decisions.

Your answer:

The secret is to establish your definition of a difficult decision. Some decisions are inevitably more difficult to make than others – but you don’t want to lead the interviewer into believing you would have problems making a difficult decision if it was necessary. Rather than betraying indecisiveness (which will always be a negative point) you need to demonstrate you accept that it is a necessary evil to have to make certain difficult decisions.

This question is most likely to be asked of those in reasonably senior positions – as the saying goes, it’s tough at the top. It’s therefore a good idea to focus on decisions which have a direct impact on the lives of your staff – undoubtedly the most difficult decisions any manager has to make. Most managers will, at one stage or another, have had to fire someone or make someone redundant – or at the very least take the decision to discipline a member of staff.


For me, the most difficult decisions are those with the highest human cost, for example the decision to make redundancies. However, I don’t shy away from my responsibilities and I recognize that certain business circumstances can force such decisions – and that it would be potentially fatal not to firmly and efficiently make such decisions. In the last recession I had to make a number of redundancies as a result of the adverse economic climate. I certainly wouldn’t claim it was easy – but it was necessary to protect the business and the livelihoods of everyone else working for the organization

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

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The job market is fierce, competition has never been greater and it's important that you can grab every opportunity for competitive advantage and stay one step ahead. Written by one of the world's leading careers experts and bestselling author of The Interview Book, this definitive guide to questions and answers encourages every job-hunter to think on your feet and express your individuality while supplying ideal responses to interview questions so that you’re seen as the ideal candidate for the job.


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