The Most Difficult Decision-making Interview Question: Evaluating Candidates' Decision-making Skills

Choose the decision-making interview question you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 15, 2024 06:37
Welcome to StrawPoll, the ultimate destination for decision-makers and opinion enthusiasts! Today, we present to you an intriguing ranking that'll challenge your cognitive skills and put your decision-making acumen to the test. Join us in exploring the most difficult decision-making interview questions ever devised! Cast your vote for your favorite mind-boggling question or suggest a new one that left you stumped in an interview. Dive into this perplexing pool of puzzling queries and witness the battle of wits unfold as fellow users share and vote for the ultimate brain-twister. So, gear up for an intellectual adventure, and let's discover together which question reigns supreme in the world of enigmatic interviews!

What Is the Most Difficult Decision-making Interview Question?

  1. 1
    This question forces the interviewee to confront the moral dilemma of valuing one life over many, and highlights their ability to make difficult decisions under pressure.
    The difficult decision-making interview question asks the interviewee to choose between saving the life of a loved one or saving the lives of 100 strangers. It puts them in a moral dilemma where they have to prioritize between personal connections and the greater good.
    • Question Type: Ethical Dilemma
    • Complexity: High
    • Emotional Impact: High
    • Decision Factors: Personal connection, Number of lives at stake
    • Objective: Assessing prioritization skills, ethical reasoning
  2. 2
    This question tests the interviewee's leadership and decision-making skills, as well as their willingness to make sacrifices for the benefit of others.
    The interview question 'If you were the CEO of a struggling company, would you lay off employees or take a pay cut yourself?' is designed to assess the decision-making skills and values of the interviewee. It presents a challenging dilemma that requires the candidate to weigh the financial needs of the company against the well-being of its employees.
    • Difficulty Level: High
    • Purpose: Evaluate decision-making abilities and values
    • Scenario: Struggling company with financial constraints
    • Options: Lay off employees or take a pay cut
    • Stress Testing: Candidate's ability to handle difficult choices
  3. 3
    This question evaluates the interviewee's ethical values and their ability to confront difficult situations in a professional manner.
    The question 'If you discovered that a colleague was engaging in unethical behavior, how would you handle the situation?' is a difficult decision-making interview question that tests a candidate's ethical values, integrity, and ability to handle difficult situations at the workplace. It assesses how a candidate would respond to discovering unethical behavior in a colleague and the steps they would take to address the situation.
    • Difficulty Level: High
    • Purpose: Assess the candidate's ethical values and integrity
    • Scenario: Discovering a colleague engaging in unethical behavior
    • Required Skill: Ability to handle difficult situations at the workplace
    • Expected Response: A plan or steps to address the situation
  4. 4
    This question assesses the interviewee's priorities and values, and their ability to balance financial stability with personal happiness.
    The 'If you had to choose between a job that pays well but is not fulfilling or a job that is fulfilling but pays less' is a difficult decision-making interview question that aims to understand the priorities and values of the interviewee when it comes to career choices. It presents two contrasting options and asks the candidate which one they would choose given the circumstances.
    • Question Type: Decision-making
    • Purpose: Assess interviewee's values and priorities
    • Difficulty: Challenging
    • Open-ended: Yes
    • Required Response: A choice and explanation
  5. 5
    This question tests the interviewee's integrity and their willingness to stand up for their beliefs, even in the face of opposition.
    The decision-making interview question, 'If you had to choose between following company policy or doing what you believe is morally right, which would you choose?' is aimed at assessing a candidate's ethical reasoning and values when faced with a conflict between organizational policies and personal moral compass.
    • Time constraint: No specified time limit
    • Category: Interview question
    • Purpose: Assess ethical reasoning and values
    • Target audience: Job candidates
    • Difficulty level: High
  6. 6
    This question evaluates the interviewee's flexibility and adaptability, as well as their willingness to take risks for their career.
    The interview question asks if the candidate would be willing to relocate to a different country for career advancement.
    • Question Type: Difficult Decision-making
    • Topic: Career Advancement and Relocation
    • Difficulty Level: High
    • Purpose: Assess candidate's willingness for international relocation
    • Potential Impact: Major life change, affecting personal and professional aspects
  7. 7
    This question tests the interviewee's ability to balance competing priorities and make decisions that benefit the company in the long term.
    The 'If you had to choose between completing a project on time or ensuring that the quality of work is high, which would you prioritize?' interview question is often asked to assess a candidate's decision-making skills and their ability to balance competing priorities in a work environment.
    • Question Type: Decision-making
    • Purpose: Assess candidate's ability to prioritize and make trade-offs between completing tasks on time and delivering high-quality work
    • Complexity: Moderate to high
    • Evaluated Skills: Decision-making, time management, problem-solving, attention to detail, ability to handle pressure
    • Expected Answer: Candidates should aim to strike a balance between completing the project on time while also ensuring a high level of quality. They can discuss the importance of efficient planning, effective communication, and setting realistic expectations to manage both aspects effectively.
  8. 8
    This question assesses the interviewee's honesty and their ability to manage difficult client relationships.
    The question asks about the candidate's ethical stance and decision-making capabilities by presenting a scenario where they have to choose between honesty with a client and the possibility of losing their business, or lying to maintain the relationship.
    • Question Type: Ethical Dilemma
    • Purpose: Assess candidate's ethical decision-making skills
    • Difficulty: High
    • Expected Response: Choosing honesty and demonstrating ability to handle difficult situations professionally.
    • Preferred Approach: Explaining how communication, trust, and long-term relationships build on integrity and honesty.
  9. 9
    This question tests the interviewee's decision-making skills and ability to evaluate different factors in order to make a fair and informed decision.
    The difficult decision-making interview question asks the candidate how they would choose between two equally qualified candidates for a job opening.
    • Question Type: Decision-making scenario
    • Complexity: High
    • Objective: Assess candidate's decision-making process
    • Critical Thinking: Required
    • Problem Solving: Required
  10. 10
    This question evaluates the interviewee's priorities and values, as well as their ability to balance personal fulfillment with professional success.
    The decision-making interview question 'If you had to choose between pursuing a personal passion or committing to a career, which would you choose?' puts candidates in a hypothetical scenario where they have to make a difficult choice between their personal passion and professional career. It aims to understand the candidate's priorities, values, and level of commitment to their work.
    • Question type: Decision-making
    • Purpose: Assess candidate's priorities and commitment level
    • Complexity: High
    • Open-endedness: Yes
    • Expected response format: Justification of chosen option

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Ranking factors for difficult decision-making interview question

  1. Ambiguity
    The level of uncertainty or vagueness in the question can make it challenging for the candidate to provide a clear and concise answer. The more ambiguous the question, the harder it may be to address.
  2. Ethical dilemmas
    Questions that pose moral or ethical dilemmas can be particularly tough, as they require the candidate to grapple with conflicting values or principles.
  3. Open-endedness
    Open-ended questions that lack specific context or parameters can be challenging, as they leave the candidate with a wide range of possible answers, and it may be unclear what exactly the interviewer is looking for.
  4. Emotional sensitivity
    Questions that touch on emotionally sensitive topics, such as personal failures, weaknesses, or controversial beliefs, can be difficult for candidates to address candidly and professionally.
  5. Hypothetical scenarios
    Complex hypothetical situations can be tough for candidates to process and respond to on the spot, as they require abstract thinking, creativity, and adaptability.
  6. Pressure to impress
    Questions that specifically ask the candidate to prove their worth, skills, or cultural fit can create a high-pressure situation that makes it more difficult to think clearly and provide a strong response.
  7. Self-reflection
    Some questions may require the candidate to dig deep and engage in honest self-assessment, which can be uncomfortable or challenging for some individuals.
  8. Prioritization and decision-making
    Questions that require candidates to prioritize or compare different options or variables can be difficult, as the "right" answer may not be immediately apparent, and they must weigh potential trade-offs and consequences.
  9. Multiple layers or dimensions
    Questions that involve multiple aspects or dimensions can be challenging, as candidates must juggle multiple factors and articulate a cohesive, well-reasoned response.
  10. Relevance to the job or industry
    Questions that are highly specific to the particular job or industry, or that require knowledge of current trends and challenges, can be more difficult for candidates who may lack experience in that particular area.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult decision-making interview question. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or question is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 187 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each question once every 24 hours. The rank of each question is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

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More information on most difficult decision-making interview question

Background: Job interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences, and the pressure only intensifies when faced with difficult decision-making questions. These types of questions are designed to test a candidate's critical thinking skills and their ability to make tough choices under pressure. Hiring managers want to see how applicants handle complex situations and how they arrive at their decisions. Some of the most challenging decision-making interview questions can be hypothetical scenarios, ethical dilemmas, or even personal questions about career goals and aspirations. Knowing how to approach these types of questions can make all the difference in landing that dream job. In this article, we will explore some of the most difficult decision-making interview questions and provide tips on how to answer them effectively.

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