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Tell me about a time you made a poor decision.

"Tell me about a time you made a poor decision."

This question is similar to the mistake question.  So first, let's think about what lesson we want to learn.  A common mistake is when people make assumptions.  I'll give an example where a poor decision was made due to making a bad assumption.  The answer will also include what was learned and how the poor decision was used as a tool to become a better worker.

Short Answer

"When I was doing an audit for a small company, there was a problem with one of the accounts.  I tried to contact the company to ask questions, but they were not there.  I made the decision to keep looking for the answer.  Four hours later, they returned my call and I realized it was a simple typo.  I wasted 4 hours of my day.  In this case, I was too sensitive about detail.  So I learned how not to be so detailed and picky."

Long Answer

"In my first month working at Tiffany's selling jewelry, I made a poor decision by making an assumption.  A person buying an engagement diamond wanted to see some rings.  It's not polite to immediately ask for a price range, so I showed the person a variety of rings.  He pointed to a ring that was about twelve thousand dollars.  The diamond ring he pointed to was one of the more expensive ones I showed him.  Eager to sell him the ring, I explained the quality of the ring, explained our satisfaction guarantee policy to him, and made sure he was comfortable with making a purchase at Tiffany's.  He bought the ring, and I thought I made a great sell.  However, it turns out that on my day off, he came in and exchanged the ring for one that was twenty five thousand dollars.  It was one of the rings that I didn't show him.  So basically, I made a bad decision on selling him what he first pointed out instead of showing him more options.  I assumed that the initial ring he selected was the price range he was looking for.  I never made that mistake again and I learned that I shouldn't assume so much."

This example is geared towards sales, but like I said earlier, make sure to clearly explain the situation, identify the decisions, explain why it was a bad decision, and most importantly what you learned by making a poor decision.

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