Don’t Wing It, Here’s How to Leverage Your Military Experience in an Interview

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Why you don't need to "wing it" when answering tough interview questions - USAA Member Community


In this Going Deeper: Good, Better, Best series, we are featuring a set of articles designed to help you dig a little deeper into your interview answers. Check out the first and second articles in this series.

Let’s take a deeper look into a very important interview question. This question, when asked, helps the company learn more about how you decide what to do.


What’s your decision-making process?


Imagine you’re applying for a job and your role will be to be accountable for your actions as well as a team of people. The company is a fast-moving, cutting-edge enterprise with a great reputation in its industry. They’re a recognized, bona-fide leader in their market and they want someone who can help them continue down the path toward future success.


With that in mind, would it make sense to hire someone who has trouble making a decision?


So, they ask you the question. They want to know how you make decisions. Do you consult others? Do you use a decision matrix? Do you analyze data? Do you put together a team and consider different perspectives before making the final decision? Do you seek input from outside sources such as books you’ve read or people you consult?


I want you to think about your military service for moment. If you think back, you’ll recall a bunch of military acronyms you used to report things. You used other acronyms to describe the current situation. You wrote or verbalized after action reports. Right about now, your brain is remembering all of this, isn’t it?


So, write down those acronyms and translate those into plain English. Then, find some specific examples of how you demonstrated your decision-making abilities. And, don’t forget the icing on the cake – what was the result? Tell them with confidence your decision-making abilities resulted in success, time and time again!


Let’s not forget that part of this decision-making process series of interview questions seeks to reveal your commitment to standing behind your decision once it’s made. If you had to make some minor adjustments along the way, make sure to explain that. If your decision resulted in a bad situation, explain how you overcame that, step-by-step, and show the company you’re capable and humble enough to pick up the pieces when things don’t go exactly as planned.


In the fast-paced civilian work world, solid decision-making capabilities remain an essential part of your skill set. When working for a publicly-traded company that reports to Shareholders and a Board of Directors, you may see added emphasis on how and why certain decisions are made. Working in a highly competitive space? Expect decisions to be made with careful attention to the impact such decisions might make on your competitor or the overall market. When much is at stake, and much always is, you need to be able to make a decision and see it through in spite of any challenges that may arise.


Essentially, the company wants to know, do you have a solid decision-making process or do you just wing it?


The best don’t. Show them what your solid decision-making process is all about!


Have some advice to add to this article? Share your insight below.

Related articles:
Answering the Interview Question: How Have You Built Bridges with a Difficult Co-Worker?
Do You Want To Win or Be Voted The Best?



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