Tell me about a time where you had to use data or analytics to make a decision.
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What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
There are probably an infinite number of questions that the interviewer could ask you on the day. Some questions are incredibly common appearing in almost every interview you will have, while other questions you might hear once and never again regardless of how many jobs you apply for.
Fundamentally though all interview questions are really trying to find out one of 3 things:
1 – Can you do the job? (Do you have the skills/experience needed?)
2 – Will you do the job? (Do you have the drive/motivation to get the job done?)
3 – Will you fit in? (Does your personality match the workplace culture? Are you likeable?)
That’s it. Those are the 3 things that the interviewer is trying to ascertain. Every question that is asked of you will fundamentally be trying to resolve one (or more) of these 3 things.
The question “Tell me about a time where you had to use data or analytics to make a decision” is a perfect example of how interviewers aim to uncover these aspects. Primarily, it targets the first point – Can you do the job? It probes directly into your skills and experience in data analysis, which is crucial in today’s data-driven work environments. Your response gives the interviewer insight into your proficiency with data, analytical thinking, and decision-making abilities.
Simultaneously, it also touches on the second point – Will you do the job? Your answer can reveal your initiative in utilizing data for problem-solving, indicating your drive and dedication to achieving results.
Lastly, how you communicate your experience can subtly address the third point – Will you fit in? The way you describe your interaction with data, colleagues, and the outcomes reflects your work style and interpersonal skills, which are key to determining cultural fit.
Thus, while the question seems specific to a skill set, it cleverly unravels deeper insights into your overall suitability for the role.
How Best To Structure Your Answer To This Question
Unless the question you are asked is a straight ‘up or down / yes or no’ style question then you are going to need to learn to describe, expand and elaborate on your answers. The best way of doing this is to follow the B-STAR technique for answering interview questions.
Answers using this method follow the below structure:
B – Belief – What are your thoughts and feelings with regard to the subject matter? In the context of using data or analytics to make a decision, this would reveal your confidence in data-driven decision-making and how you value data in problem-solving scenarios.
S – Situation – What was going on? Briefly explain the scenario that was taking place. When describing a situation where you used data or analytics in decision-making, focus on the context succinctly, showing how your analytical skills were relevant and necessary.
T – Task – What was your role in the action? Most of the time it is best that you are taking an active rather than passive role in the encounter. For the interview question, clarify your specific role in using data analytics, emphasizing your active involvement in interpreting and applying data to make decisions.
A – Activity (or action) – What did you do? Detail the steps you took and why you took them. In answering the interview question, describe the analytical methods you used, the rationale behind your approach, and how you applied these insights to influence the decision.
R – Result – How did everything end up? Try to use figures if possible. Relate your answer back to the impact of your data-driven decision, using quantitative results where possible to demonstrate the effectiveness and value of your analytical skills.
Remember though that the B-STAR technique is descriptive not prescriptive. You do not need to follow this flow strictly, go with what is best for your answers and that will allow you to put your point across and show your experience the best.
What You Should NOT Do When Answering Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked).
Do not downplay the importance of data in your decision-making.
Do not overhype the complexity of the data analysis.
Do not fail to mention specific analytical tools or methods used.
Do not give a one-sentence answer.
Do not focus solely on the data without explaining the impact of your decision.
Tell me about a time where you had to use data or analytics to make a decision. – Example answers
Example Answer 1
I’ve always been an advocate for data-driven decision making. I believe that while intuition is important, combining it with solid data insights can lead to more effective outcomes.
In my previous role as a marketing analyst, our team faced a significant challenge. We were tasked with increasing the efficiency of our ad spend without reducing its impact.
My role was to analyze our ad performance data to identify areas where we could optimize our spending.
I started by collecting and scrutinizing data from various sources, including our past ad campaigns and industry benchmarks. Using analytical tools like Google Analytics and Tableau, I segmented the data to identify trends and patterns. I discovered that certain platforms were yielding a lower ROI compared to others. Based on these insights, I proposed reallocating our budget towards the more effective platforms and testing new ad creatives.
This strategy led to a 20% increase in campaign ROI within the first quarter. Not only did we save 15% of our budget, but we also saw a rise in customer engagement metrics. This experience solidified my belief in the power of data in making informed decisions.
Example Answer 2
More Sample Answers…
The examples provided above can serve as a foundation for creating your unique answers. For additional inspiration, our new guide includes five sample responses to this question and over 250 answers to all of the most common interview queries.
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