If you are interviewing for a job that requires critical thinking, you should be asked questions involving your problem-solving skills. These questions typically focus on your experiences analyzing a situation and developing an effective resolution.
Interview questions that emphasize your problem-solving skills focus on your ability to gather data, analyze an issue, consider the pros and cons, and form a logical answer. These questions uncover your steps to collect and understand the details needed to resolve the issue.
Asking problem-solving questions helps the interviewer determine how effectively you would make decisions to benefit the organization. It also shows how well you would communicate your findings and recommendations to team members.
Include in your answers examples of how you effectively solved problems. Share the issue, the steps taken to resolve it, and the outcome.
Practice answering these sample questions to help showcase your problem-solving skills during your next interview:
What do you do when you encounter a problem?
The interviewer wants to see what your problem-solving process is like. Describe how you gather and analyze information to make a logical decision.
For instance, “I begin by conducting research or finding examples of how others solved similar problems. I then use this information to determine which problem-solving approach would be best for the company and me. Next, I decide which action to take to solve the problem. After that, I begin implementing my plan while communicating with my manager and teammates.”
Can you tell me about a time when you had to change your course of action at the last minute?
The interviewer examines how you remain flexible and think quickly during stressful situations. Use the STAR (situation, task, action, and result) method to describe your experience.
For instance, “When I was a catering manager, I found out the night before an event that the appetizer ingredients we needed would not be delivered on time. I made a list of the necessary ingredients and picked them up at a store on my way to the event. My team and I prepared the appetizers in time for the event. The party planner ended up mentioning the appetizers in her online review because the guests enjoyed them so much.”
Can you describe a time when you had to solve a problem without all of the necessary information?
You likely will encounter business problems you must solve with limited information. The interviewer wants to see how you would effectively handle this situation. Share an example that emphasizes your strengths and ability to work independently.
For instance, “When I was an office manager, the CEO said employee productivity was declining and I had to develop a solution to increase it. I sent out short surveys and conducted interviews to uncover the reasons why employees were not completing as much work as before. I analyzed my findings and found that the employees were not organizing and keeping track of their tasks. I recommended the CEO implement a project management system. Implementation of the system increased productivity by 15%.”
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