Ambiguity Interview Questions are the behavioral interview questions that are most frequently asked in an interview, no matter what field you belong to. The meaning of ambiguity is inexactness, the quality of being open to more interpretations than just one, in other words, vagueness or readiness, and something that can have two or more possible approaches to understand.
For example, a person is dealing with an ambiguous situation when he/she finds out that there is more than one solution to a problem but he is not really sure which way is the most appropriate one to solve it.
Now you must be thinking that how is this ambiguity related to interview questions or why does the employer considers it to be a major topic from which the questions are asked in an interview. To give you an answer to all your questions, we have this article to guide you on how to answer such behavioral interview questions about ambiguity.
Why Does the Employer Ask Ambiguity Questions?
Employers tend to ask questions that relate to ambiguity as it is one of the most popular topics for interviews and we live in a fast-paced world and all the industries in this fast-paced world are dynamic in nature. The way in which these industries operate can be uncertain.
There are some industries in which the companies which work under are stable and constant but that is not the case with all the industries and in such industries, ambiguity can present many challenges and obstacles, so,
- The interviewer looks for a candidate who has the ability to deal with uncertainty and chaos.
- He wants to see your tolerance and patience level for ambiguity at work.
- They want to see how you can work in a dynamic cultural environment.
- To see how you can make decisions in uncertain situations.
- To see how you handle the situations when something unexpected happens.
- To see how well you can embrace the change and communicate effectively.
Dealing With Ambiguity Question Variants
This question can be asked in multiple ways by the hiring managers like
- Dealing With Ambiguity Examples?
- Ambiguous Situation At Work Example?
- Tell Me About A Time You Had To Deal With Ambiguity?
- Tell Me About A Time When You Had To Work On A Project With Unclear Responsibilities?
How to Deal with Ambiguity Interview Questions
1. Show that you appreciate challenges
The hiring manager looks for candidates who take challenges as a medium to achieve success, a candidate who can appreciate challenges and opportunities that are ambiguous in nature. So, show the hiring manager that you are an effective leader and that you appreciate the challenges and responsibilities associated with those challenges.
Getting solutions and answers to the challenges is not important. What is important is to keep learning, enjoy challenges, and tolerate ambiguity.
2. Speak about ambiguity in positive terms
The purpose of asking such ambiguous questions is that the employer wants to see if you can handle such situations with an open mind instead of negatively talking about such ambiguous situations. Show employer that you are comfortable enough in tolerating such situations.
3. Expect situational based interview questions
The employer will not ask direct questions when it comes to testing how you deal with ambiguity. He will be asking you situational and behavioral-based interview questions who see how you react to a certain situation if it arises.
The questions will be framed in a way that will put you in some hypothetical situation and you will have to answer the question by considering that you are in that situation.
The Situation, Task/Obstacles, Action, and Result method can help you out to answer such questions in a better way. The questions asked will be tied to the duties of the job, so make sure you have done the research. The way you respond to such questions will demonstrate how skilled you are when it comes to thinking critically and approaching ambiguity.
4. Create your own strategical approach
While preparing to answer such interview questions, develop your own strategy to respond to such questions. Like as you know that, “How you deal with ambiguity in life or in the job?” is one the most common interview questions, so prepare an answer to such question before you actually give the interview, prepare 2-3 different answer to the question, add some examples and experiences and frame your response in a way that demonstrate your skills and competencies. If you follow this approach, it will help you stand out from other applicants.
5. Show that you can adapt to changes
A candidate who understands that the business industry is dynamic in nature and who is ready to adapt to the dynamism, that is, a person who is ready to accept and work on whatever the job throws at you is the one who will get hired for the position. So, to make sure that you are that candidate, be assertive and show the employer that you are ready to deal with the uncertainties in the job.
Dealing with Ambiguity at Workplace
- To be able to deal with ambiguity, you should learn how to act without having complete details of a task. When you will have the ability to take action without having complete details, dealing with ambiguous situations will come easy.
- Accepting challenges is another factor to tolerate ambiguity in the workplace. When you are confident enough to take risks and face challenges, the uncertainty does not look like an obstacle to you.
- Learn to work in a dynamic environment. Situations will keep changing according to the factors that affect a marketplace and you have got to be prepared for any uncertain change that can arise anytime at your workplace. This will help you in being flexible enough to deal with ambiguity.
- Communicate effectively to your co-workers, your manager, your subordinates, etc. to deal with ambiguity. Effective communication at the workplace allows you clear out doubts and ask questions openly related to any task for which not much detail is provided to you.
Sample Ambiguity Interview Questions with Answers
Question 1. How do you deal with ambiguity in your job?
Sample Answer 1: “I deal with such situations with patience as it helps me not to panic when something unexpected happens or when some uncertain situation arises. By staying patient, I can make better decisions and handle any situation that is ambiguous in nature. I think a lot before taking a decision to function well with competing priorities.”
Sample Answer 2: “Ambiguity is the daily part of my profession. Customer preferences keep changing, new trends start emerging anytime soon, even when we didn’t expect them to come. There are so many situations where I tend to think that I would have done better and made a better decision if I have had some more detail. I am a resourceful person and also a bit of a critical thinker and it helps me to deal with ambiguity by staying prepared for it.”
Question 2. Tell us about a time you faced ambiguity in work. How did you handle the situation?
Sample Answer: “In my last job, where I was a part-time employee in a retail firm, I was told to supervise the entire store in the absence of the store manager. I barely knew about the responsibilities and duties of the manager, but I knew his approach to dealing with employees by his democratic leadership skills.
A customer came to me asking a product-related query I had no knowledge about, I didn’t know what to answer to the customer, so I asked him to wait for few minutes. I tried contacting the store manager to ask for details but he was busy. I tried to keep my calm instead of panicking. So, I researched the product online and called on the customer care number of that product manufacturer to get detail about the product and I was not able to respond to the customer’s query entirely but to an extent.”
Question 3. Describe a time when you had to make a decision without having all the details and information that you needed.
Sample Answer: “In the initial stage of my previous job, I was asked by my manager to lead the meeting that was going to be held with the new supplier of raw materials. I was given some information about the supplier but I had no idea what was the procedure of conducting a meeting in that company as I was a new employee there, but I knew If my manager gave me this huge opportunity he must have seen something me in, but my manager did not tell me exactly about what supplies we are dealing in and what exactly is the determined pitch and the budget.
I had an idea to solve this problem, so as soon as I got home I researched the previous year’s budget of the company along with the contract with the same supplier and I discussed with my existing co-workers how my manager kept his pitch for the last year’s contract. I got to learn a lot and I was viable in conducting the meeting. My manager was highly impressed by my performance.”
These were some ways to help you become better at dealing with ambiguous situations that arise at the workplace. When two solutions seem to contradict each other, think and act upon it because you can always ask for feedback for your work after making a decision. The trick to deal with ambiguity is to remain calm and let the ideas flow to you, think about the results and the outcomes before acting upon any solution and drawing any interpretation and this will help you reduce the workplace ambiguity.
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Sandeep Bhandari is the founder of PrepMyCareer.com website.
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