Interview Question: Describe a Time You Made a Suggestion to Improve Business
What is the ultimate goal of a business? This is a question that generates a plethora of responses and answers. However, most or all responses will have one thing in common; to make improvements, growth, and profit. Regardless of the nature of the business, making developmental strides and impact is the target. No one goes into business intending to suffer losses; hence the need to hire capable, qualified, skilled, and efficient hands that can help to move the business or firm forward.
How do you feel when you realize that your suggestions helped to improve a process? Have you ever contributed to the improvement of a business? What did you say or do that led to an improvement in your previous job? How did the supervisor or employer react to your suggestion? What was the task that required your input? These are some of the questions that should be at the back of your mind when preparing to answer behavioral interview questions. Such questions are asked to test your critical thinking and problem-solving skills; businesses and employers are constantly looking for candidates that can proffer meaningful solutions that can help to enhance business.
Importantly, interviewers tend to ask more behavioral questions than traditional questions; a good example of such a question is describing a time you made a suggestion to improve business. This question can also be asked in various forms; including-How have you made a difference in the workplace. The distinctive feature of this question is that it is not based on concrete attributes or elements, so there are different ways of approaching it. Remember, this question can reveal a different aspect of you to the hiring manager. Thus, it is up to you to decipher the context the interviewer is asking you from and provide a great answer.
Although it can be tough to navigate through describing how your suggestions helped to improve business or work, try and demonstrate to the interviewer that you can use your initiative to bring change or growth at work. In addition, try and convince the employer that you can bring expertise, brilliant suggestions, and all-round value to the table for the business. After all, the interview process is designed to enable companies and businesses to hire candidates they believe can make a positive difference in the organization. Hence, the best way to respond to the question will be discussed in this article.
What is a suggestion?
A suggestion is an idea that one says is good for others to follow. Some people may agree to it and some may disagree. Similarly, a suggestion can be defined as a psychological process by which individuals guide their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to others to find solutions to an identified problem. In business and work, suggestions are made to either lead to better and improved production, solve challenges, or develop new materials or services.
What the Interviewer Wants to Find Out by Asking the Question
- The hiring manager wants to hire or recruit applicants who are both ambitious and have problem-solving abilities.
- The interviewer wants to assess the candidate’s critical thinking skills.
- Relatively, the employer expects the candidate to demonstrate their ability to take the initiative and make a positive change at work.
- The recruiter wants to have an insight into your mindset, priorities, and values in the workplace.
- Also, the hiring manager wants to find out if you are comfortable making suggestions that can improve the business.
- Similarly, the interviewer wants to find out if the ideas you have are valid and can lead to genuine improvement.
Things to Consider to Provide a Good Answer
Consider the following when preparing your answer;
Don’t panic: Avoid and try to resist getting too bent out of shape when answering. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to show the value you can offer to the business or organization.
Start with a Compliment: There has to be at least one thing you think the company is doing right; therefore, start from there and give a great answer.
Provide Details: Always provide details when responding to behavioral interview questions Try and elaborate on how you applied your experience and expertise to make the suggestion.
Be smart: Do not tell the interviewers about suggestions that were ignored at the time only to be implemented later; it doesn’t bode well.
Other things to consider include honesty, humility, and refraining from vagueness.
Answering the Question- Describe a Time You Made a Suggestion to Improve Business
The answer to this question should illustrate that you are willing and able to go above and beyond your regular responsibilities to make a difference in the workplace. Adopt the following steps or tips to provide an excellent answer to the question;
Use the STAR method: When answering the question, try and incorporate the elements of the STAR method. These include;
- Situation: Set the scene by mentioning your former employer or business venture and job title.
- Task: Talk about the challenges and concerns that prompted your suggestion. Here, demonstrate confidence and your innate abilities.
- Action: Explain how you addressed this concern with a manager, supervisor, or team leader. Make sure you provide details of what you said or suggested.
- Result: Discuss the improvement that happened to the business after your suggestions as well as the positive changes that occurred to the overall operation.
Be as specific as possible: Specificity is vital to providing an efficient answer to the question. The hiring manager is interested in the outcome of your suggestion; hence, your response should be specific, measurable, quantifiable, evidence-based, and concrete. Emphasize the positive changes or improvements your suggestion brought to the business. Crucially, include numbers and percentages where necessary; if your suggestion saved the business a certain amount of money or resources, highlight it. Additionally, if efficiency or productivity increased to a certain percentage due to your input or idea, mention it. Also, your response should be backed up by a description of how your suggestion made business easier and faster; just include as many details as you can.
Always have an answer: Not every employee or worker can make a suggestion (s) that can help improve the business. Also, not everyone is given the go-ahead to suggest ideas that can revolutionize the firm’s mode of operation. Even if you didn’t have the aforementioned opportunity, think of a time or situation where you brought an improvement to the team through your suggestion. Not having an answer to the question will jeopardize and inhibit your chances of getting the job. In cases where your contribution was small, highlight the exact changes it made.
Sample Answers to the Question: Describe a Time You Made a Suggestion to Improve Business
- A few months into my role as a sales assistant at a clothing store in Abuja, the firm was trying to come up with a way to boost its declining sales rate. My supervisor allowed me to come up with an idea that can help revive sales. I suggested that the firm start a competition among the team members where the person with the highest performance rating won a prize at the end of each week. My supervisor and coworkers were excited with the innovation; the entire team became motivated so much that sales went up by 36% in the first three weeks.
- In my previous job as a project assistant in a Non-governmental organization, the management team was always making changes to improve the quality of the service and interventions we were providing, but it seemed that the changes didn’t stick around for long. There was no follow up and workers would revert to the status quo. I suggested to the management team that the organization should implement a changer binder to keep track of these plans; this is aimed at making it easy to check the ones that worked and the ones that didn’t, and help ensure that the changes were implemented weekly. With the binder, the outcome was clearer and the more successful adjustments became standard policy that all employees adhered to.