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How to Answer What’s the Most Difficult Decision You’ve Made at Work

Posted by Tarik | Jan 26, 2021

When an interviewer asks the question of “What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made at work? How did you come up with your decision?” you need to know that you are one step away from acing the interview.

The interviewer is throwing a gift at you. How you answer this question will show precisely how you will work under entirely new working conditions and respond to your new boss.

The interviewer wants to know how you handle pressure situations and how strong you are in your critical thinking.

Get this question right on the money, and you are scoring some crucial points.

More often, the way you answer this question will decide whether you get the job or not. Assume this is the penultimate question, and the answer you provide will solve it all.

That’s why you need to pick the right challenge to describe in your answer. When you are lining up for a job, interviewers want to look at work examples and how you handled a challenging situation over a personal decision.

The example you choose to relate should highlight the transferable skills that you bring to the role.

A great answer showcases your ability to navigate complex problems, negotiation skills, and leadership capabilities.

Next, you essentially need to assess the scenario and how you approached the problem.

Interviewers are interested in getting a snapshot of your thinking.

Any job comes with problems, and this way, an interviewer gets an insight into how you weigh in your options and choose the best alternative.

By applying your scenario to the STAR variablesSituation, Task, Action, and Results, you get to structure your answer better to clarify what you are trying to express.

Nothing gets lost in transition.

Here is an example STAR answer.


In my previous position, I was in charge of selecting vendors to outsource chosen developments. I had to decide whether to go with our regular vendor with whom we have worked for years or opt-out for a new vendor that brought in a 50% cost advantage.

I succeeded in negotiating a successful deal that ensured that we had the years of expertise behind us and brought in a cost advantage of 40%.


Our new development needed to be cost-efficient and reliable.

I was tasked with finding the best possible vendor who was reliable and cost-efficient.


I didn’t want to walk away from a vendor with whom we had dealings for a considerable past and who was also reliable.

But within this situation, the project needed to be cost-efficient, and I couldn’t justify picking loyalty if someone else was doing the job for less.

So I approached the old partner and related the scenario sincerely so that there was an opportunity for them re-look at their pricing.

The old vendor came back with pricing, which was 10% more than the new vendor. At that time, I had to decide if we are going back to the same partner or going with the new option.

I chose to use the age-old vendor absorbing the 10% surplus solely because experience and compatibility are also significant.

I knew the decision that I made looked bias to the old vendor, but I justified my call to the senior management showing that the time and effort spent to accommodate the new vendor will equate to the 10% extra that we incur.


The justification that I made was right, and we could get the result we wanted from the existing vendor. I made sure we got the best deal in terms of expertise and cost, with a 40% saving.

The overall move saw the company saving in cost during a time of budget cuts but also retained the same level of expertise.

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