Interview Questions

Describe A Time When You Had To Persuade Someone – Interview Question & Answers

We are all humans and are products of evolution. And one of the main parts of this evolution is getting stubborn. We don’t get into changing our opinions so easily. Moreover, with the availability of a lot of alternatives for everything, we were free to choose and act as per our opinions.

Amid this scenario, there comes a need to persuade others. In most cases, it is for the good of everyone. On top of all this, these persuasions make a lot of sense in life.

By the way, what is persuasion? We all convince others for a better result. Most of the time, we make them do as we convince them. This is nothing but persuading them towards our point of view.

Persuasion is part of our day-to-day life; apart from this, it turns imperative and makes complete sense in positions like Managerial and Sales Job. Thus, your persuasion skills sometimes turn into one of the important questions in your interview.

So how to answer the question describe a time when you had to persuade someone?

If you are looking for the answer to these questions, you are at the right place. In this post, we will look into some tips to answer this question and then proceed towards some sample answers for your better understanding.

Why Is The Interviewer Asking The Question: Describe A Time When You Had To Persuade Someone

The interviewer can have more than one reason behind asking this question to you. They may want to know about your ability to influence others in the previous workplaces. By this, they can judge the extent of an eventual outcome from you.

How you put your answer forward to this question would speak a lot about you. Since you will work under someone, you should not be overconfident and show how you are always ready to persuade anyone and everyone. On the other hand, despite judging your managerial skills, the interviewer can also have a brief idea of your thinking style and decision-making—thus your leadership attributes.

However, there come times when it becomes more of a need to persuade people to work in a particular direction; and being an accredited employee, you should have your tricks to persuade people working with you.

Describe A Time When You Had To Persuade Someone

How To Prepare For The Question: Describe A Time When You Had To Persuade Someone?

The question,‘Describe a time when you had to persuade someone’demands you to know some tips and tricks before the interview so that you can answer flawlessly and confidently. Here are some important things that you may need to remember and understand:

Persuasion is a Part of Life

Plenty of people get tensed at the concept of persuasion in their workplace. They think this is something new that they should learn. Let us make this clear that persuasion is a part of life. We persuade things at all parts of life.

For instance, if your family wants to plan a weekend at a park, you would have convinced them for a movie. Your parents convinced you when you asked for more chocolate ice cream as a child at a restaurant. Therefore, life is all about persuasion. You just need to have the skill to persuade people at your workplace.

Thus, it is crucial to understand that persuasion is not just a skill; it is the attitude that we learn from the happenings around us. You also need to understand that convincing is the key to persuasion in all places—including the workplace.

Have a Great Impact

Giving answers in the interview is important; equally important is to know how to make a long-lasting impact on the interviewer. The questions like “Describe a time when you had to persuade someone?” are not generally asked to get the right answer; rather, they are asked to get a better idea of your ideology and mindset.

You can use some tips to make an enduring impact on your interviewer. You can try one or all of these tips:

  • Give specific date and occasion details to make the situation clearer and crisp.
  • Make use of numbers in your answer. For instance, “I was 75% sure, that day.”
  • Try concluding with a note that both the parties are benefited due to your persuasion. This will make the interviewer clear that your persuasion skills are for all good.

Be Transparent and Simple

Being true and transparent is the basis of answering these sorts of questions. These do not require preparing for hours. Remember, more such questions are waiting for you in the interview.

Getting ready for these questions makes sense, not preparing hard. The best way you can do this is accessing your skills to know what and how to answer.

Ensure That The Employer Knows That You Are Flexible

The answer needs you to elucidate that you have influenced and persuaded others. But there is an underlying problem that needs to be answered too. Why were you not convinced with others’ ideas? Is there a reason for this? To avoid interviewers perceiving that you are dominant to influence others all the time, you need to ensure that there was no other way for this; thus, you were flexible, in a way that you heard the other points, but you thought your idea and thought would work the best.

After looking at the considerations, let us see the approach to answer this question and a few sample answers.

How To Approach The Best Answer?

By now, you know what tips have to be followed and how to prepare for the question, “Describe a time when you had to persuade someone?” It is time you understand how a perfect answer is to be tailored.

Recall those impacting moments that you influenced and persuaded in the past workplace. Choose the best you feel and drive it with data rather than opinions. State perfect date, time and other details to make the answer real and accurate. Ensure you mention that you were inflexible due to strong reasons and had no other option than to persuade them. Finally, take care you do not state those instances where you failed to influence.

Describe A Time When You had to Persuade Someone #Sample Answers

Answer 1 - and how does it work?

This is my first job application, and therefore I don’t have any such experience in the workplace. I can refer to one such instance in my personal life. In 2013, a friend of mine was not ready to attend college. She had some personal and financial problems. Her parents failed to convince her with their strong arguments. Then I intervened. I started to explain how college life and education is important in life. She always dreamed of being an actor. I also elucidated how her education could help her in achieving her dreams. I showed her an example of Sushant Singh Rajput who is a great actor, and also great at studies. She was convinced and we enrolled in college together.

How does it work?

If you are a fresher and do not have past experience, you should do something like this. This example shows how you have influenced people for better good and can apply the same in your workplace too.

Answer 2 - and how does it work?

I was the warehouse supervisor in my last job. I sense a need to change the arrangement in the entire logistic system. I planned and proposed a concept to my superiors, but was not accepted. They were stubborn in this matter. I did not give up. I was patient and planned a visualized version of the same in my laptop with a demo of calculation that showed how the logistics can be improved.  I showed them clearly and focused on numbers only. After a couple of months of probation, they finally accepted it.

How does it work?

This example shows the importance of details needed to influence others. Moreover, it also shows that the candidate has the ability to convince even the stubborn superiors. This gives the impact needed on the interviewers.

Answer 3 - and how does it work?

I was the manager at the coal industry where I had to manage 10 manual workers under me. A couple of years ago, at the end of March, we got a sudden intimation of an audit at the workplace. The work was up to date; however we had to make minor repairs. For this the workers need to stay a couple of hours in addition that day. But they refused to stay as they were tired. I couldn’t convince them on the basis of the bonus too. I had an emergency meeting and explained to them the situation. Finally I requested them. They saw me requesting for the first time ever and understood the depth of the situation. They agreed to stay, and we could finish the work as per schedule.

How does it work?

This example shows how emotions play an important role in influencing and persuading others. On the other hand, it also shows that that candidate has the ability to convince a large number of people at the same time.

Answer 4 - and how does it work?

As a manager at an insurance company, my job was all about persuasion. We were selling a promise rather than a product. I was doing it for my company knowing it was a risky opportunity. Due to the visualization skill I had, I could sense what plan and fund is going to be the best from our company and started to suggest the same to my customers. I had a tough time doing this, but I successfully persuaded them to do the best I can without hampering the profits of the company.

How does it work?

Ensuring that the candidate always lives a life of persuasion, the candidate subconsciously means that he is the best in persuading for the betterment of others.

Answer 5 - and how does it work?

In my recent internship, I had to access information from different departments to complete an assignment of my project. The Head of Department refused my request to access as an intern. I went to the manager and asked for a few minutes of time. I explained how accessing the data of different departments is important for my project. After listening to my explanations, the manager accepted it and informed HOD about the same.

How does it work?

This answer would reflect your persuasion ability on your seniors. How you can influence people and get the data to fulfill your task.

These are great examples to ensure you answer the question well.

Similar Questions You May Face

The question “Describe a time when you had to persuade someone?” may have many other forms. The answer is almost the same. You need to know the questions and need to know the same from you. Some similar questions include:

  • What do you do to influence others?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a leader or a follower?
  • How do you get others to do what you want?
  • Do you consider yourself to be an influencer?
  • Tell me about a time when you influenced a change by only asking questions

Summing up

That’s all about how you can answer the question, “Describe a time when you had to persuade someone”. The tips and tricks that are given above will lead to a perfect and tailor-made answer for your interview.  The sample answers will make you understand how the answers are made. Before your interview, always remember that you should not sound overconfident and over-prepared. The best would be to state a real-life situation, which throws light on how greatly you convince people, by changing their thoughts about a certain issue.

All the best for your interview!

About the author

Atish Ranjan

Hi there, I am Atish Ranjan! I have been into work and business for more than 11 years now; I have given and taken numerous interviews over the years.
Thus, I started to share my knowledge & experience with you! Hope you enjoy reading here.

About the Author

Hi there, I am Atish Ranjan! I have been into work and business for more than 11 years now; I have given and taken numerous interviews over the years. Thus, I started to share my knowledge & experience with you! Hope you enjoy reading here.