How to answer " Tell me a time when you deal with ambiguity?"

New answer on Nov 09, 2021
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 08, 2021

How to answer " Tell me a time when you deal with ambiguity?"

I am a consultant and I am interviewing with a tech firm. I got this questions and I don't think I have answered this well.

During my short consulting journey, I didn't feel any instances in my job that is related to ambiguity (Although you could say every project itself is ambiguious)

I wonder how would you answer the question and what's the tips on this?

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Content Creator
replied on Nov 08, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I'm assuming you already know PARADE/STAR structure and have other stories already prepared - as such I'll answer more directly about ambiguity.

“Although you could say every project itself is ambiguious”

^This line is exactly right. Think about a project you worked on that wasn't well defined that you had to define. If you had to build or create something without specs. If you were assigned a task with no further information other than (get it done).

Essentially anything where you were tasked to do something with minimal instruction (and the assumption that you would figure it out and do a good job), is an ambiguous situation!

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Content Creator
replied on Nov 09, 2021
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

This is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for quite a lot of users, so I am happy to provide my perspective on it:

  • First of all, since the quesion is asked in quite an open way, I would advise you to think of areas outside of work as well, e.g. your personal life, extracurricular activities, university settings. While in general, work-related examples might be more obvious and slightly more relevant, there is nothing wrong with examples stemming from other dimensions of your life.
  • Second, as you already pointed out, every project is somehow ambiguous since you are ultimately the one to define the details of your work stream(s) without much more information. As such, I would advise you to look for situations in which you really had to invest a lot of time to think through a task.
  • Lastly, I would advise you to properly prepare your answer and answer to this question (as to all other questions) in a structured way. You may use frameworks like PARADE or STAR if this helps you.

In case you want a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare the personal fit part of consulting interviews, please feel free to contact me directly.

I hope this helps,


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Content Creator
replied on Nov 09, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience


You deal with ambiguity all the time. We all do.

Just dig a little deeper in your education & work experience and at least 5 good examples of “ambiguous” situations will pop out- vague requirements from clients, loose asks for boss, unclear steer from colleague or lack of clarity on objective/agenda/goals etc. Hope you get the point.

So, pick an example and create a nice flow/story around it:

  • Start of the story: set the scene & explain the context/situation/issue quickly
  • Middle of the story: what happened, what did you do i.e. how did you break down the ambiguous situation, structured an approach to tackle it and implemented your actions
  • End of the story: what was the impact/outcome of your efforts & what did you learn. How are you using this learning now and in future

Hope this was helpful.

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Content Creator
replied on Nov 09, 2021
McKinsey | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching


You can share your story with me privately. I'll have a quick look at it.



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Ian gave the best answer


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MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
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