If you’re a flight attendant applicant, you’re likely preparing for your upcoming interview. You may already have rehearsed answers for the standard interview questions, and you may be confident in your ability to answer even some of the most difficult ones. But you may be wondering how to best answer this question: Tell me about a time you made a suggestion to improve business. This is typically asked to gauge a candidate’s ability to critically analyze a situation and offer a solution.
When answering this, it’s important to be specific in your response. Talk about a real example from your past experience, rather than a hypothetical one. Make sure to provide details about what you suggested and how it improved business operations or overall efficiency. You should also include any tangible results or successes that resulted from your suggestion.
If you don’t have any direct experience with making suggestions for improvement, consider examples from other work environments such as volunteer projects or extracurricular activities where you may have implemented successful process changes.
- Why is the interviewer asking this question?
- Other Variations to this Question
- Step-by-step Procedure to Answer This Question
- Sample Answers to the Question: Describe a Suggestion You Made to Improve the Business
- Tips About How to Answer the Question
- Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Answer
- Examples of Bad Answers
- Reminder: Your Suggestion Does Not Have to Be Huge or Perfect, So Long as It Made a Positive Impact
- Video: Tell me about a Time Your Improved Business
Why is the interviewer asking this question?
The airline interviewer is asking this question because he or she is looking for evidence that you have the ability to identify problems and demonstrate a keen sense of initiative in solving them. Your response will offer insight into your problem-solving ability, innovation, and business acumen. Other variations to this question include, “Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative idea,” or “What’s the most creative solution you’ve proposed?”
The key quality here is “‘initiative”. Employers want to see that you are not just an individual who is capable of following instructions, but also someone who can identify areas of improvement and recognize solutions.
Other Variations to this Question
There are times when the interviewer might ask a variation of this question. Some other versions may include:
- Describe an instance when you identified an issue and proposed a viable solution.
- Tell me about a time when you had to think outside the box to solve a problem.
- Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative idea.
- What’s the most creative solution you’ve proposed?
- Tell me about a time you improved a process.
- Tell me about a suggestion of yours that made a difference.
No matter how the questions are phrased, it’s important to make sure your answers demonstrate that you can handle stress and pressure, identify problems, think creatively, and come up with innovative solutions.
Step-by-step Procedure to Answer This Question
To answer the question effectively, you should follow a structured approach that will showcase your critical thinking skills and ability to offer innovative solutions. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you prepare:
Step 1: Identify a specific situation Choose a situation from your past experiences where you made a suggestion to improve business. The situation should be relevant to the job you’re seeking as a flight attendant.
Step 2: Describe the context Provide the context of the situation, such as where and when it occurred.
Step 3: Describe the problem Explain the problem or challenge you faced concerning business improvement.
Step 4: Describe your suggestion Describe the steps you took to develop your suggestion or solution to the problem.
Step 5: Describe the outcome Share the results of your suggestion in terms of how it improved business processes, reduced costs, or enhanced customer satisfaction.
Step 6: Explain what you learned Explain what you learned from the experience and how it has influenced your thinking moving forward.
Sample Answers to the Question: Describe a Suggestion You Made to Improve the Business
Here are sample answers designed to help you formulate your own response to the question:
- In my previous role as a retail store manager, I noticed that many customers were taking valuable time from the sales staff. So I proposed that the checkout counters be moved to the front of the store so customers didn’t have to wait for assistance. This significantly increased customer satisfaction and reduced waiting times for both staff and customers. The solution was simple but showed how paying attention to small details can make a huge difference in customer service and overall efficiency.
- “When I was working as a receptionist at a hotel, we had an issue with too many reservations for the same day. To solve this problem, I proposed that we introduce a system where customers could book their reservations online instead of having to do it over the phone or in person. This would free up staff time and also make it easier for customers to book. We implemented this change and saw a noticeable reduction in waiting times, as well as an increase in customer satisfaction.”
- “When I was working on a volunteer project at my university, we had difficulty getting enough people to sign up to participate. To make things more efficient, I suggested that we create an online platform where interested participants could sign up and get all the details they needed before attending. This worked really well and helped us significantly increase our participation rate.”
- “When I was working in a library, I noticed that the procedures for checking out books were very outdated. To update and modernize them, I suggested that we implement a system of self-checkout kiosks. This would allow patrons to check out their materials without having to wait in line at the service desk. We implemented these changes and saw an improvement in efficiency, as well as improved customer satisfaction.”
- “When I was working in sales at a retail store, I noticed that customers were having trouble understanding complex concepts as they related to our products. To help simplify this process, I proposed that we create visuals and diagrams which would explain different product features more easily and accurately. Once implemented, it helped us better engage with customers and increase sales significantly.”
- “During my time working as an assistant manager, I noticed that our customer turnover rate was higher than we expected, with customers actively seeking refunds. I suggested instituting a refund guarantee policy that boosted confidence in the customers and provided reassurance about the quality of the products. The result was improved customer retention rates and a significant uptick in sales.”
- “As a project manager, I observed our team experiencing difficulties with workload management, and the workload was unequally distributed. I proposed to schedule regular daily team stand-up meetings to keep everyone updated with the workload status and take steps to redistribute tasks according to expertise, improving productivity and the quality of the deliverables.”
- “At my previous job, I noticed that our sales teams were frequently missing out on opportunities with numerous leads. I suggested developing a customer relationship management (CRM) system, allowing us to aggregate customer data in one centralized location. That way, our sales team would spend less time manually generating reports and more time seeking business opportunities. Within the first month of implementation, our company experienced record-breaking sales figures, and we set new targets for the future.”
- “As an operations manager, I recognized that our company had a high employee turnover rate. I suggested instituting a new employee training system that allowed new hires to receive on-the-job training and support from more experienced colleagues. This resulted in higher employee retention rates and increased team cohesion, as well as a more efficient organization overall.”
- At my previous job managing a small grocery store, I noticed that we were frequently running out of stock for popular items. I suggested instituting a reordering process, where we would keep track of inventory levels and automatically order more stock when supplies ran low. This helped to ensure that we always had enough stock in our store.
- “During my time working as an account manager, I noticed that we were lacking a feedback process for clients. I proposed instituting customer feedback surveys, to evaluate the clients’ perception of our services and their satisfaction levels. This helped us identify areas for improvement and demonstrate to clients that their opinions mattered to us, leading to better customer retention rates and increased sales.”
Note: The above answers are sample scenarios only. They are meant to guide you to structure your answer effectively. Please come up with your own answers based on your actual work experience. Lying and making stuff up is not recommended and will do you no good.
Tips About How to Answer the Question
When you’re answering this question, make sure to demonstrate your strength, knowledge, and understanding of the organization or situation in which you proposed the improvement. Show that you are familiar with the business operations and have an aptitude for identifying areas that could use improvement. Here are some more tips:
- Begin with context and describe the problem clearly.
- Elaborate on your reasoning for your suggestion.
- Be specific when you describe your solution.
- Focus on the outcomes of your suggestion, including both positive and negative.
- Offer quantifiable results if you can.
Keep in mind that any suggestion for improvement should be presented professionally and backed up by facts and data. Showing a potential employer that you can think critically and become a leader in business operations is essential for success in many roles, so take time to prepare a thoughtful response to this question before the interview date arrives.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Answer
While preparing your answer, use the following questions as a guide:
- Can I think of a specific situation where I demonstrated the ability to address organizational needs through an innovative solution?
- Can I offer a solution that aligns with the goals of the company?
- Can I describe the solution in a clear and concise manner?
- What was the problem in your previous job that you noticed?
- How did you come upon the suggestion and what made it appealing?
- What steps did you take to implement your suggestion?
- What were the results of your suggestion?
- What lessons did you learn from the experience?
These questions will help you think through exactly how to explain your story in an effective way. By having a clear idea of what points to include in your response, you’ll be able to provide a compelling answer that highlights your problem-solving skills and resourcefulness.
Examples of Bad Answers
While it can be tempting to just give a generic answer about how you were able to come up with solutions for the company, this won’t impress your interviewer. Here are some examples of bad answers:
- I’m great at coming up with new ideas for improvement.
- I can’t think of any off the top of my head.
- Nothing comes to mind at the moment.
- This kind of thing just happens naturally to me.
- End the post with some effective and practical tips.
- I often come up with suggestions for ways to make things more efficient.
- My experience has taught me how to think outside the box when it comes to improving processes.
- I’m constantly looking for ways to improve customer service and streamline operations.
These responses don’t demonstrate problem-solving or critical thinking skills—they merely state that you have them. Instead, focus on providing specifics and details from an actual instance when you recommended something that would improve the organization.
Reminder: Your Suggestion Does Not Have to Be Huge or Perfect, So Long as It Made a Positive Impact
When you’re answering this question, don’t feel like the solution or suggestion needs to be overly challenging, massive, or complicated. Even a small improvement can have a big impact on an organization.
The key here is to show that you have the skills and experience necessary to identify areas for improvement and make thoughtful suggestions that benefit your employer.
As long as you can demonstrate that your ideas had positive outcomes, it doesn’t matter if they weren’t groundbreaking—the interviewer will still be impressed with your problem-solving abilities.
Video: Tell me about a Time Your Improved Business
Here’s a video by CareerVidz on YouTube that discusses the above question:
By following these tips and examples, you can craft an effective response to the question “Tell me about a time when you proposed a new idea or improvement for your organization” and demonstrate your problem-solving skills to potential employers.
When answering this question in an interview, take time to practice your answer and be sure to highlight how your suggestion positively impacted the business. Use specific examples and quantify the results if possible. It’s not just about having made a suggestion in the past, but about showcasing your critical thinking skills and ability to develop innovative solutions that can help the company achieve its goals.
Be confident in your response, and remember that it’s okay to take a moment to collect your thoughts before answering. With these tips and strategies in mind, you’ll be better prepared to answer the question, “Tell me about a time you made a suggestion to improve business,” and impress your interviewer with your problem-solving abilities. Good luck with your interview!