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Problem-solving interview questions and answers
Use these sample problem-solving interview questions to discover how candidates approach complex situations and if they can provide effective solutions.
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Why you should ask candidates problem-solving interview questions
Employees will face challenges in their job. Before you decide on your next hire, use your interview process to evaluate how candidates approach difficult situations .
Problem-solving interview questions show how candidates:
- Approach complex issues
- Analyze data to understand the root of the problem
- Perform under stressful and unexpected situations
- React when their beliefs are challenged
Identify candidates who are results-oriented with interview questions that assess problem-solving skills. Look for analytical and spherical thinkers with the potential for technical problem solving. Potential hires who recognize a problem, or predict one could potentially occur, will stand out. Candidates should also demonstrate how they would fix the issue, and prevent it from occurring again.
These sample problem-solving interview questions apply to all positions, regardless of industry or seniority level. You can use the following questions to gauge your candidates’ way of thinking in difficult situations:
Examples of problem-solving interview questions
- Describe a time you had to solve a problem without managerial input. How did you do it and what was the result?
- Give an example of a time you identified and fixed a problem before it became urgent.
- Tell me about a time you predicted a problem with a stakeholder. How did you prevent it from escalating?
- Describe a situation where you faced serious challenges in doing your job efficiently. What were the challenges, and how did you overcome them?
- Recall a time you successfully used crisis-management skills.
- A new project you’re overseeing has great revenue potential, but could put the company in legal hot water. How would you handle this?
- How do you know when to solve a problem on your own or to ask for help?
Tips to assess problem-solving skills in interviews
- During your interviews, use hypothetical scenarios that are likely to occur on the job. It’s best to avoid unrealistic problems that aren’t relevant to your company.
- Examine how candidates approach a problem step-by-step: from identifying and analyzing the issue to comparing alternatives and choosing the most effective solution.
- Pay attention to candidates who provide innovative solutions. Creative minds can contribute fresh perspectives that add value to your company.
- When problems arise, employees should show commitment and a can-do attitude. Test candidates’ problem-solving skills in past situations. If they were determined to find the best solution as soon as possible, they will be great hires.
- Most complex situations require a team effort. Candidates’ previous experiences will show you how they collaborated with their colleagues to reach decisions and how comfortable they felt asking for help.
- If you’re hiring for a technical role, ask questions relevant to the work your future hires will do. Technical problem-solving interview questions, like “How would you troubleshoot this X bug?” will reveal your candidates’ hard skills and their ability to effectively address problems on the job.
- No answer. If a candidate can’t recall an example of a problem they faced in a previous position, that’s a sign they may avoid dealing with difficult situations.
- Canned answers. A generic answer like “Once, I had to deal with a customer who complained about the pricing. I managed to calm them down and closed the deal,” doesn’t offer much insight about the candidate’s thought process. Ask follow-up questions to get more details.
- Focus on the problem, not the solution. Identifying the problem is one thing, but finding the solution is more important. Candidates who focus too much on the problem may be too negative for the position.
- Feeling stressed/uncomfortable. It’s normal to feel slightly uncomfortable when put on the spot. But, if candidates are so stressed they can’t answer the question, that’s an indicator they don’t handle stressful situations well.
- Superficial answers. Candidates who choose the easy way out of a problem usually don’t consider all aspects and limitations of the situation. Opt for candidates who analyze the data you’ve given them and ask for more information to better dig into the problem.
- Cover up the problem or minimize its significance. Unaddressed problems could quickly escalate into bigger issues. Employees who leave things for later mightn’t be result-oriented or engaged in their jobs.
Related Interview Questions
- Critical-thinking interview questions and answers
- Decision-making interview questions and answers
- Analytical interview questions and answers
- How to assess soft skills in an interview
- Interview process and strategies: a comprehensive FAQ guide
- Structured interview questions: Tips and examples for hiring
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20+ Decision-Making Interview Questions to Ask Candidates
20 June 2022
Decision-making interview questions help you determine your candidates’ experience and competency in making decisions at work.
In this article, we discuss why you should assess your candidate’s skill in decision-making and list the best decision-making interview questions.
Why ask candidates decision-making interview questions?
Decision-making interview questions help you assess how well potential employees will be able to solve conflict and take action at work.
These questions are not meant to be asked only for managerial roles that require excellent decision-making skills. All jobs require some level of decision-making.
Employees make work-related decisions on a daily basis. For instance, hiring managers may have to select between two or more potential candidates, or a designer might need to choose between two UX patterns.
A good decision maker has excellent:
- Critical thinking skills : Be able to use reason to make the right decision for themselves and their team.
- Analytical skills : Successfully analyze and interpret information to draw meaningful conclusions.
- Observational abilities : Ability to make important observations through their five senses.
- Problem-solving skills : Assess and consider all options or variables to arrive at the best possible solution.
- Creativity : Ability to view issues and options from different perspectives and develop unique solutions.
- Leadership skills : An empathetic person who provides helpful guidance to a group of people.
Apart from looking for certain qualities, one key area to focus on is the candidate’s past performance in situations similar to what they will encounter in your workplace.
The best decision-making interview questions you should be asking every candidate
Here are the questions to ask your candidates to assess their decision-making skills:
- You have a number of different choices or options you could choose to solve a problem. what’s the process you would follow to make a decision that would result in a positive outcome?
- Describe the process or methodology you typically follow for making a decision and forming a plan of action.
- You could take two or three equally viable paths to accomplish a goal. how would you make your decision about which path to follow?
- Have you ever delayed choosing a course of action? How did that hesitation affect you and your customers?
- You have several options to pick but none of them are enough to achieve your goal. How would you decide which option to pick?
- Faced with a choice between a candidate for a promotion, a project leader, a lateral move, or a new hire, describe how you would make your decision?
- Have you ever had to make a decision that did not fall into your job responsibilities? Describe the situation, your decision, and the effects of that decision.
- Briefly describe the process you followed to pick the college you attended.
- How will you decide whether to accept a job offer that you think is a good match for your skills, salary requirements, and preferred workplace?
- When you are working with a colleague, how do you decide upon and communicate the points at which you need feedback?
- If you had the opportunity to hire employees, what criteria would you use to hire them? What’s important to you when making this decision?
More decision-making interview questions to ask candidates
- Two employees are having regular conflicts with each other and often disturb the team’s balance. How would you handle this situation?
- Describe a time you made an unpopular decision. How did you handle the feedback? How would you have handled the situation differently?
- Do you usually make better decisions alone or with a group? Why? When do you ask for help?
- When you’re working on a joint project, do you make your own decisions or do you prefer to step back and follow someone else’s guidelines?
- Describe a time when you had to make an immediate decision on a critical issue.
- While working on a joint project, you notice that some of your coworkers are falling behind. What would you do to help your team meet the deadline?
- When working with colleagues on a joint project, how would you divide responsibilities? Also, how do you arrive at this choice?
- When supervising employees, what is the best time and way to discuss possible shortcomings in their work?
- How would you deal with a demanding external stakeholder who keeps changing requirements about a specific project you’re working on?
- You want to buy new software that will help you perform your job well. You have two options, one is more expensive but has better reviews, and the other has fewer features but is within budget. Which one would you recommend and how?
Decision-making interview questions allow you to understand how competent and comfortable your candidates are with making decisions.
When done right, you’ll be able to identify potential hires with sound judgement. We hope this article will help you ask effective decision-making interview questions.
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10 problem-solving interview questions to find the best candidate
Sophie Heatley, Content Writer
| 03 Oct 2018
An interview is a good chance to evaluate how candidates approach difficult situations and by asking problem-solving questions you can separate those that are results orientated from those that crumble under pressure. Asking the right sorts of questions will also reveal a person's suitability for the role and company they are trying to enter.
That being said, this can be hard to assess when you first meet someone, so here are 10 problem-solving competency questions to solve your problem of what to ask:
Problem-solving interview question examples
Question 1: describe a situation where you had to solve a problem. what did you do what was the result what might you have done differently.
This question tests their problem-solving ability. As an employer, you want to hire people that get things done and when faced with a problem actively solve it. There are three steps to solving a problem:
A good answer should show that the applicant took the initiative, didn’t act thoughtlessly and was willing to ask questions and work as a team. Ideally their actions were in that order.
Question 2: Give an example of a situation in which you saw an opportunity in a potential problem. What did you do? What was the outcome?
This question tests if they see opportunities in problems. Every business has problems, both minor and major, and you should be able to trust your employees to identify and solve them. Problems are opportunities for improvement, both for an individual and a company as a whole.
Essentially you are looking for an answer that recognises this. Whether they solved a problem single-handedly or flagged the issue to a superior, you are looking for applicants who played a key part in arriving at a solution.
Question 3: What steps do you take before making a decision on how to solve a problem, and why?
This question tests how they problem solve before making a decision. A strong answer showcases that the candidate is considered in their decision-making and has a formal process of thought, instead of becoming overwhelmed and acting rashly. You should be looking for those that have a formalised process that makes sense, and that shows that they don’t just ask for help the entire time.
Question 4: Give an example of a time that you realised a colleague had made a mistake. How did you deal with this? What was the outcome?
This question tests their interpersonal skills . The best type of employees have great interpersonal skills and help others to succeed. Therefore, a good answer should show the candidate was diplomatic and constructive – someone that helps their colleagues to solve problems and doesn’t just highlight them.
Anyone that proceeds to say unsavoury things about previous co-workers should be treated with caution – respect and kindness are core attributes in the workplace.
This question tests their problem-solving strategies. An impressive answer will showcase awareness of problem-solving strategies, although these may differ from person to person.
You don’t want to hire someone that is constantly asking for help and knowing that a candidate has given some thought to potential strategies will provide you with assurance. Problem-solving strategies could vary from data-driven or logical methods to collaboration or delegation.
Question 6: Describe the biggest work-related problem you have faced. How did you deal with it?
This question tests how they tackle big problems. It reveals three things about a candidate:
1. What they are willing to share about a previous employer.
2. What they consider to be a big problem.
3. How they problem solve.
You want a candidate to be appropriate when discussing their current (or former role) and be positive. Of course what constitutes a big problem is relative, but you should be wary of candidates that sound like they might become overwhelmed by stress or blow things out of proportion.
You’ve found the perfect candidate, what’s next? Check out Perkbox’s administration platform to assist you with onboarding and retaining talent.
Question 7: Tell me about a time where you have been caught off-guard by a problem that you had not foreseen? What happened?
This question tests how they deal with pressure. Even the most careful minds can crash into an unforeseen iceberg, but it is how they deal with it that matters. This question should be a chance for you to catch a glimpse of a candidate’s character and personality. Ideally, you want an answer that shows the following:
- Calmness – They don’t overreact
- Positivity – They don’t complain or blame others
- Solutions – They use problem-solving skills
Question 8: Describe a time where you developed a different problem-solving approach. What steps did you follow?
This question tests their creative problem-solving skills and initiative. If your company was complete you wouldn’t be hiring. Someone that takes initiative and thinks outside of the box can help your business progress and stay ahead of the competition. Creative initiative is a definite bonus as you don’t want an office filled with like-minded people, after all, it’s the new ideas that change the world.
Question 9: Tell me about a time when you became aware of a potential problem and resolved it before it became an issue.
This question tests their ability to identify problems and solve them. Having foresight is important quality and it’s much more than wearing glasses. Foresight is about identifying issues before they actually become issues. Being able to see into the future and red-flagging a problem, is something that you should not only value, but covet – being thoughtful helps avoid disaster.
Question 10: Describe a personal weakness that you had to overcome to improve your performance at work? How did you do it?
This question test their self-awareness and dedication. Self-awareness is crucial to growth and becoming a better employee. A good answer is one that shows a candidates willingness to improve, whether that be learning new skills or honing their talents. This is a hard problem-solving interview question so a successful response is a testament to their ability.
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"How Do You Make Important Decisions?" Example Interview Answers
300+ Interview Questions Answered.
300+ Interview Questions with Expert Answers.
Employers love asking interview questions about decision-making. They want to make sure you can handle pressure and react well to tough situations. So you could hear questions like, “how do you make important decisions?” in any interview. It’s especially common when you’re applying for jobs that require you to make tough choices or work independently. It’s also common in interviews for entry-level jobs .
You need to be able to clearly describe how you make decisions, and ideally give examples of past decisions that worked out well for you. Managers want people they can trust and don’t have to keep an eye on every second. So this question is your chance to put their mind at ease.
How To Answer “How Do You Make Decisions?”
In this section, I’m going to give you 3 steps for answering decision-making interview questions like, “Tell me how you make decisions.” Then in the next section, we’ll look at three word-for-word answer examples.
Here are the steps to create a great answer:
1. Show that you have a system for reaching the right decision
The goal here is to sound like you have a system or a process you follow. It doesn’t have to be an exact science, but you want to sound like you approach decisions the same way, rather than doing something completely different each time or trusting your gut (don’t reply by saying “I just trust my gut”).
A good start to your answer will sound like this:
“I like to gather as much information as possible to aid in my decision, but I also consider how much time is available to me. Sometimes a decision needs to be made quickly, even if all the information can’t be gathered, so I weigh time versus information. Then I look at possible outcomes and the likely results of my decisions, and make the best choice for my team and my organization with the facts available.”
2. Give an example of a past decision you made (and the outcome)
This is good advice for pretty much all of the interview questions you face… don’t just say how you’d do something, give examples.
So when they ask how you make decisions, you’d give an answer like what I shared above and then go on to say something like this:
“…For example in my last job, I was presented with a tough decision while my boss was absent. I had to decide between fixing a piece of software we had already created, or starting over. It turned out that starting over would only take a few hours longer than applying a fix to what we had, and through some discussion with colleagues, I also determined that fixing what we currently had might still leave us open to a risk of future problems and issues. So I decided we should start over, spend the extra time now and avoid any future complications, and my boss completely agreed with the decision when he returned to the office.”
3. Try to seem as logical and fact-based as possible
In almost all cases, it’s best to seem logical when you describe how you make decisions. Show that you rely on facts and that you look to gather information before deciding. You want to show that you follow a predictable, reasonable method. The more difficult the decision, the more important this becomes. Don’t sound like you act on emotion or hunches. Employers don’t want to hire someone who’s going to be unpredictable, make decisions “on the fly”, etc. So the best way to put their mind at ease when answering decision-making questions is to show you follow a logical process. That’s my best advice here.
If a hiring manager asks “how do you make decisions?”… they want to see someone who consistently follows a plan to come to the right choice.
Example Answers to “How Do You Make Decisions?”
Let’s put everything together based on the three steps we looked at above. Here are two example answers for how you make effective decisions.
Answer Example #1 to “How Do You Make Decisions?”
“I like to gather as much information as possible to aid in my decision, but I also consider how much time is available to me. Sometimes a decision needs to be made quickly, even if all the information can’t be gathered, so I weigh time versus information. Then I look at possible outcomes and the likely results of my decisions, and make the best choice for my team and my organization with the facts available. For example in my last job, I was presented with a tough decision while my boss was absent. I had to decide between fixing a piece of software we had already created, or starting over. It turned out that starting over would only take a few hours longer than applying a fix to what we had, and through some discussion with colleagues, I also determined that fixing what we currently had might still leave us open to a risk of future problems and issues. So I decided we should start over, spend the extra time now and avoid any future complications, and my boss completely agreed with the decision when he returned to the office.”
Example Answer #2 to “How Do You Make Decisions?”
“The first thing I look at is the timeframe. If I have a week to make a decision, my approach is going to be different than if I have one hour. Once I’ve determined the time frame, I gather the key pieces of information that will help me make an informed decision. It’s not always possible to know the outcome 100%, but I try to gather as much information as possible to make an educated guess at what will give us the best result. Another technique I like to use a lot is risk analysis. Looking at the worst-case scenario and what can possibly go wrong with each decision is a good way to understand the pros and cons of different choices. It gives you a much clearer picture than if you only look at the best possible outcome of each choice.”
Example Answer #3 to “How Do You Make Decisions?”
“I’ve had to make a number of difficult decisions, and quick decisions, in my most recent position. I try to avoid making a decision in chaotic situations and instead step away to analyze the potential choices, risks, etc. Of course, I recognize that sometimes you need to make a decision in the moment and so I also feel comfortable making a fast decision without having time to step away. I think in general, I’ve been able to make good decisions in the workplace by weighing different options, utilizing the resources available to me such as company documentation, opinions of colleagues and my manager, and more, and then thinking through the likely outcomes and consequences of each choice.”
Making Effective Decisions: 11 Workplace Examples
To help you come up with more answer ideas for your job interview, all of the following are good examples of making effective decisions at work:
- Talking to team members to gather info and benefit from their decision-making skills and knowledge, so that you can make the best decision for the entire team based on all info available
- Following a clear decision-making process that weighs the risks and benefits of each choice, helping you come to the best final decision possible
- Performing an analysis to decide between two or more options available to you
- Delaying a decision until you’re calm, rational, and not emotionally upset, as to get a clear thought process
- Deciding to have a difficult conversation with a customer or coworker because you know that it’s going to help the company in the long run, despite being difficult at the moment
- Taking personal responsibility for a mistake or issue at work and correcting it, even though it would be easier at that moment to ignore the issue
- Using logical reasoning to decide on the ideal response to a challenging situation or difficult company objective
- Looking at the big picture and understanding a company’s overall goals, and then deciding on an action that’ll bring the most successful outcome for your company
- Asking for your manager’s opinion on an important decision in order to ensure you’re gathering information from as many sources as possible and reaching the best solution
- If you have to make a quick and difficult decision, creating a follow-up plan to check the result at regular intervals and adjust if needed
- Communicating with a customer or client to inform them of the risks of a decision that impacts them, to ensure you’re making good decisions with their interests in mind.
Stories incorporating any of the ideas above will show employers that you’re an effective decision-maker. Show that you have a well-defined decision-making process and that you use careful analysis and logic to come up with the right final decision. That’s what employers look for when they ask questions about your decision-making.
Note: It’s best to come up with an example that fits the job you’re interviewing for.
What key decision-making skills does this job require? For example, if this is a leadership role, then you should give an example of an effective decision you made using leadership skills. If the role is going to require more individual work and strong organizational skills, consider talking about how you’ve stayed organized, how you have excellent time management skills and used that to make the right decisions in the past, etc. That’s how to give the best possible answer about how you’ve gone about making effective decisions.
Answers to “Tell Me About a Time When You Had to Make a Decision Without all the Information You Needed”
Next, the interviewer may ask you a behavioral question like, “Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed.” As you describe a situation, it’s important to tell a clear, concise story, starting with the basic situation, then going into the challenge or task you faced. Then, describe the solution you chose and the positive outcome you achieved.
This is referred to as the S.T.A.R. method: Situation. Task. Action. Result.
Examples of Making Effective Decisions Without All of the Information You Needed (Interview Answers)
“I was leading an important project for a client and two team members quit the company midway through the project. This happened just a few minutes before our scheduled call with the client, so I had to think quickly and use problem-solving skills and communication skills to inform the client what had happened and create a plan for how to proceed with the project. In the end, the client was okay with the situation and liked my decision and plan for how to move forward. I think my decision to go into the call with confidence even though I had been caught off-guard by the situation is what helped. Also, my transparency and clear communication with the client maintained their trust and strengthened our relationship.”
“I recently had a patient come into the hospital and we weren’t able to obtain his medical history. He was having an emergency and needed medication and I realized I didn’t have time to wait for all of the information to come in. I prioritized his safety and chose a treatment with the lowest chance of side effects or allergic reaction, while still ensuring it would resolve the primary issue he was admitted into the hospital for.”
When asked about a time you had to make a decision without all of the necessary information, or any other situation where you had to make a tough decision, always provide a decision-making example that shows a positive outcome. When possible, provide an example that relates to this employer’s job description, too. Describe a task or project where you used skills relevant to this employer’s job. The more you can relate your answers to an employer’s needs in the job interview, the more excited they’ll be about hiring you onto their team. It’s okay if your previous job isn’t exactly the same as this next job. Just find the overlaps and try to describe tasks that will seem relevant to this employer and team.
3 Mistakes to Avoid When Answering Decision-Making Interview Questions
There are a couple of mistakes to avoid when answering ANY question about decision-making, so I want to leave you with these mistakes now. This will help you answer the questions we looked at above, but also behavioral questions like, “tell me about a tough decision you had to make, and what happened?” Or, “tell me about a time you had to make a decision without all of the necessary information?”
The fact is, there are a nearly endless amount of questions employers could ask about how you make important decisions, so these mistakes will help you with all of those questions.
Mistake #1: Not seeming like you have a system or process for coming to a decision
You never want to sound like you just “wing it” or go with your gut feeling at the moment. Employers want to hear that you follow a process or a system. Show them you have a series of steps you go through to get to a logical conclusion.
Mistake #2: Not giving an example with a positive outcome
Don’t ever just explain how you make decisions in general and then stop. You should always try to share a specific story with a great outcome. Talk about the situation and challenges, why you chose the decision you did, and why. And then finally – share the great result it brought to your team/company! That’s what will get the interviewer excited when you’re talking about past decisions in the interview.
Mistake #3: Saying you can’t think of anything
Decision-making interview questions are NOT the type of question you want to draw a blank on! If you don’t have a good response ready to go, the interviewer will wonder if you’ve ever had to make decisions. And if they think you haven’t, they’re going to worry about hiring you because you’ll be unpredictable. Sure, maybe you’d turn out great, but maybe not. They want someone who’s “battle-tested” and has made tough decisions in the past. That’s the best way they can be pretty sure you’ll also perform well in their role. So make sure you practice and prepare your own answer after finishing this article! Don’t go into an interview without a specific example of a decision you made, why you made it, and how it turned out.
Conclusion: Answering “How Do You Make Decisions?” in a Job Interview
If you’ve read everything above, you now know how to explain your process for making important decisions. Make sure to practice and review the sample answers above, as well as the 10+ examples of making effective decisions in the workplace.
These should help you feel confident in delivering your own answer and showing employers that you practice good decision-making. Showing employers that you’ve made important decisions in the past will boost your chances of getting the job and prevent them from feeling anxious about whether you’ll make the right choices if hired for their job.
You don’t want them to have ANY concerns about your ability to make important decisions under pressure, and the steps above will help you handle this question.
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Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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Use these great decision-making interview questions to assess for analytical and decision-making skills.
Why decision-making interview questions are key
Most jobs involve some level of decision making. Fact.
From choosing the latest brand design to which out of two great candidates to go for, worklife = a lot of decisions that often impact the entire company.
The best decision-makers:
- Are great evaluators.
- Exercise awesome critical-thinking skills.
- Can make decisions under pressure.
- Are all about problem-solving over problem-creating.
- Are great team-players.
The perfect decision-making candidate has sound judgement, is great at analyzing data and predicting outcomes, and has a creative, innovative mind.
Decision-making interview questions
- How would you mediate a dispute between two employees?
- Describe a time you made an unpopular decision (woops). How did you handle the feedback? Would you do anything differently?
- Would you describe yourself as a team player or a lone wolf? Why? When do you ask for help?
- On team projects do you step up to lead or step back and follow?
- Describe a time when you had to make a great decision fast.
- What do you do to help your team meet deadlines?
- How would you deal with high-maintenance clients?
- Between an expensive but popular tool or a cheaper, less feature-heavy one, which would you choose and how?
Top tip: Always use hypothetical scenarios related to the role and avoid unrealistic, irrelevant problems.
Candidates to look for
- Curious candidates: Asking follow-up questions shows they want to have as much info as possible before jumping to a conclusion.
- Great communicators: Candidates who reach a decision via analysis should be able to confidently communicate their reasons why.
- Balanced decisions: Look for answers that = a great balance between time + effectiveness. Remember, it’s not always easy to have both.
- Great team players: How have they collaborated with their previous colleagues to make decisions? Do they feel comfortable asking for help?
Candidates to avoid
- They don’t think outside the box: No one appreciates an obvious answer. Avoid candidates who go straight to the first answer they think of.
- Stressed or uncomfortable candidates: Interviews are hard. But, if candidates are so stressed they can’t find an answer, that just proves they don’t handle stressful situations well.
- Low initiative: If you ask a question and they don’t answer, it shows they aren’t natural problem-solvers. Look for candidates who at least try, even asking for help is better than nothing.
- They don’t care about facts: Candidates who don’t understand take relevant facts and information into consideration, just aren’t gonna cut it.
- Bad track record: Avoid candidates who’ve repeated mistakes. If they haven’t learnt already, they clearly don’t realize the impact of a bad decision.
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Problem-Solving Interview Questions And Answers (With Examples)
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- How To Answer Tell Me About Yourself?
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- Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years?
- What Are Your Career Goals?
- When Can You Start?
- How Do You Define Success?
- Describe Your Work Ethic
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- What Are Your Learning Goals?
- Intrinsic Vs Extrinsic Motivation
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- What Are You Most Proud Of?
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- Explain Gaps In Employment
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- Tell Me About A Time When You Made A Mistake On The Job
- Tell Me About Gaps In Employment
- What Are You Passionate About
- What Skills Would You Bring To The Job
- Who Is Your Mentor?
- How To Answer Tell Me About A Time You Disagreed With Your Boss
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- What Is a Problem-Solving Interview Question?
How to Answer a Problem-Solving Interview Question
Eight examples of common problem-solving interview questions and answers, interviewing successfully, curveball questions, problem-solving faq.
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Summary. Problem-solving questions are used to focus on a candidates past experience with managing conflicts and overcoming obstacles in the workplace. When answering these questions, be sure to make your answer relevant to the position that you are applying to and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to provide examples from previous experiences. Are you in the process of searching for a new job ? If so, you might be getting ready to meet with a hiring manager or a recruiter for a job interview. And if you’re like the majority of job candidates, this stage of the job search process is probably making you feel a fair bit of trepidation. And no wonder! The interview is a completely necessary step for any job search, but that doesn’t make it any less nerve-wracking to meet with a prospective employer and answer questions about your personality , skills, and professional background. Key Takeaways: Being able to solve problems is a skill that almost all job positions need. Problem-solving questions assess a candidate’s ability to think on their feet, handle pressure, and find creative solutions to complex problems. Make sure your answer to a problem-solving question tells a story of you as an effective team player. What Is a Problem-Solving Interview Question?
A problem-solving interview question is a question that focuses on a candidate’s past experience with managing conflicts and overcoming unexpected obstacles in the workplace.
Problem-solving questions can come up in many different forms. As a general rule, however, they will be aimed at uncovering your ability to handle stress and uncertainty in a wide variety of contexts.
When you’re answering problem-solving interview questions, there are a few important tips to keep in mind:
Make your answers relevant to the position that you’re applying to. Always bear in mind that the fundamental goal of any interview question is to provide a hiring manager with a glimpse inside the mind of a candidate.
By asking you a problem-solving question, your interviewer is trying to understand whether or not you’re the type of person that could be relied upon under pressure or during a crisis. Every role, furthermore, comes with its own particular type of pressure.
Be honest about your strengths ( and weaknesses ). Hiring managers tend to be quite good at reading people. Therefore, if you give them a bogus response, they’re very likely to see through that – and to subsequently consider you to be untrustworthy.
Of course, it can be tempting at the moment to fabricate certain details in your response in the attempt to make yourself seem like a better candidate. But inventing details – however small – tends to backfire .
Tell stories that will portray you as a team player. Hiring managers and employers are always on the lookout for job candidates who will collaborate and communicate well amongst a broader team.
Be sure to provide examples of moments in which you took charge. Leadership skills are another key quality that hiring managers and employers seek out in job candidates. And being presented with a problem-solving question, as it turns out, is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your own leadership skills.
Now that we understand the basic principles of problem-solving interview questions and how to respond to them, we’re finally ready to break down some real-world examples. So without any further preamble, here are eight examples of common problem-solving interview questions (as well as some examples of how you might answer them):
Can you tell me about a time when you encountered an unexpected challenge in the workplace? How did you go about dealing with it?
Explanation: With this question , your interviewer will be attempting to get a sense of how well you’re able to adapt to unexpected difficulties. The critical thing to remember when you’re answering this question – as we briefly discussed above – is to recall an incident that will be directly relevant to the role and the organization that you’re applying to.
Here’s an example of a high-quality response to this question:
“I remember a particular day at my previous job when an important deadline was pushed up at the very last minute. As the project manager , it was my responsibility to implement the necessary steps that would enable us to meet this new and truncated deadline. “Many of my peers began to hang their heads, resigning themselves to their belief that there was no hope to meet the new deadline. But I’ve always prided myself on my ability to adapt and thrive within a dynamic and quick-paced work environment – and that’s precisely the personal skill set that I channeled on this occasion. In the end, I reorganized my team’s priorities so that we were able to accommodate the new deadline.”
How would you say you typically respond to problems in general, and in the workplace in particular?
Explanation: This question is primarily designed to gauge a candidate’s ability (or lack thereof) to remain cool, calm, and collected under pressure. The ideal response to this question, in other words, will include a brief personal anecdote that illustrates your level-headedness and your ability to make rational, clear decisions during times of uncertainty.
“I would say that one of the primary qualities that sets me apart from the crowd of other candidates is my ability to remain calm and centered when conditions in the workplace become chaotic. “Looking back, I think that I first began to cultivate this ability during my tenure as a product manager working with a major Silicon Valley start-up. That was a particularly stressful period, but it was also quite instructive – I learned a great deal about staying positive, focused, and productive after an unexpected challenge presented itself. “These days, when I’m confronted by an unexpected problem – whether it’s in my personal life or in my professional life – I immediately channel the conflict management skills that I’ve been honing throughout the duration of my career. This helps a great deal, and my skills in this regard are only continuing to improve.”
Can you tell me about a time when you’ve had to settle a workplace dispute between yourself and a manager or colleague?
Explanation: Always keep in mind that one of the fundamental goals of any problem-solving question is to help a hiring manager gain a clearer sense of a candidate’s ability to work with others.
This question, in particular, is designed to give your interviewer a clearer sense of how well you’re able to communicate and compromise with your colleagues. With that in mind, you should be sure to answer this question in a way that will display a willingness to be fair, empathetic, and respectful to your teammates.
“I recall an incident in my last job in which one of my colleagues felt that I had not provided him with adequate resources to enable him to be successful in a particular project. I was acting as team leader for that particular project, and so it was my responsibility to ensure that everyone in my team was equipped for success. Unfortunately, I had to learn through the proverbial grapevine that this particular colleague bore some ill will toward me. I’ve never been one to participate in idle gossip, and so I decided to speak with this person so that we could begin to find a solution and address his grievances. So I crafted an email to him asking him if he would be interested in joining me for coffee the following day. He accepted the invitation, and during our coffee break, we were able to talk at length about the damage that he felt had been done to him. We devised a mutually agreeable solution on the spot. From then on, we had no significant problems between us.”
Are there any steps that you’ll regularly take during the early stages of a new project to ensure that you’ll be able to manage unexpected problems that occur down the road?
Explanation: This question, above all, is designed to test your ability to plan ahead and mitigate risk. These are both essential qualities that employers typically seek out in job candidates, particularly those who are being vetted for a management or leadership role.
When you’re answering this question, it’s important to emphasize your ability to look ahead towards the future and anticipate potential risks. As with the previous examples that we’ve already examined, the best way to communicate this ability is to provide your interviewer with a concrete example from your previous work history.
“I live my life – and I conduct my work – according to a single, incredibly important motto: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” I’m a firm believer, in other words, of the primacy of careful planning. Without it, projects are almost always doomed to fail. “In my previous role as a marketing content writer with a major software company, I strived to apply this motto to my work every single day. “Here’s an example: About a year ago, I was responsible for overseeing and launching a new content strategy aimed at driving up consumer engagement. From the very outset, I understood that that particular project could be run off the rails if we did not take into account a considerable number of factors. “I won’t bore you with all of the nitty-gritty details, but the point is that this was a particularly sensitive project that required diligent and careful risk assessment. “Having realized that, my colleagues and I devised a comprehensive and flexible strategy for managing many risks that we envisioned would be awaiting us down the road. That initial step – looking ahead towards the future and mapping out the terrain of potential hazards – proved to be an essential measure for the success of the project.”
Do you consider your problem-solving capabilities to be above average?
Explanation: Hiring managers are always on the lookout for job candidates that stand out from the crowd. It’s even better when they can find a job candidate who knows that they stand out and who expresses that knowledge by being confident in their abilities.
At the same time, it’s never in a job candidate’s best interests to come across as egotistical or arrogant. When you’re responding to a question like this (that is, a question that’s focused on your ability to assess your own talents), it’s important to do your best to come across as self-assured but not pompous.
“Yes, all things considered, I would say that I have a talent for risk assessment, problem-solving, and risk mitigation. “That said, I can’t claim complete ownership over these abilities. In most cases, my demonstrated success in managing risk and solving problems in the workplace can be attributed at least as much to my team members as it can to me. For me to be able to be a successful problem-solver, it helps to be surrounded by colleagues whom I can trust.”
How would you describe your typical immediate reaction to unexpected challenges? Do you prefer to jump straight into the problem-solving process, or do you more commonly take some time to analyze and assess the problem before you dive in?
Explanation: This question is aimed at gauging your patience levels. This one can be a bit tricky because employers will sometimes prefer different responses – it all depends on the type of position and employer you’re applying for.
If you’re applying for a role in a quick-paced working environment that demands swift action , it will benefit you to describe your problem-solving strategy as unflinching and immediate.
If, on the other hand, the role you’re applying to does not demand such immediate action, it will probably be better to describe yourself as a more removed and relaxed problem solver.
But as always, you should never lie to your employer. Most of us will fall somewhere in the middle of these two types of problem solvers and will thereby have no difficulty painting ourselves honestly as one or the other.
However, if you’re definitely one type or the other, then you should describe yourself as such. This will make it much more likely that you’ll end up in a position that will be maximally rewarding both for you and for your employer.
“In most cases, my response to an unexpected problem will entirely depend on the nature of the problem at hand. If it demands immediate action, then I’ll dive right in without hesitation. “If, however, I determine that it would be more beneficial to take a step back and analyze the nature of the problem before we begin to meddle with it, then that’s exactly what I’ll do. “Generally speaking, I would say that I prefer the latter approach – that is, to take a step back and think things through before I begin to try to find a solution. In my experience, this makes it much easier for everyone involved to arrive at a practical and sustainable solution. “That said, I’m also perfectly capable of jumping straight into a problem if it demands immediate attention.”
Can you tell us about a time in which you had to explain a technically complicated subject to a client or customer? How did you approach that process, and how did it turn out?
Explanation: Strong communication skills are essential in the modern workplace. That means that employers tend to seek out job candidates that communicate well with their colleagues and individuals who have varying professional backgrounds and skill sets, including clients, customers, and third-party professionals.
“I recall an incident from many years ago – while I was working as a software engineer for a prominent robotics company – in which I found myself in the position of having to describe incredibly complex engineering details to a client. “This client had no prior experience in software engineering or artificial intelligence, so I had to relate this esoteric information more or less in layman terms. “Thankfully, I was able to employ some useful metaphors and analogies to communicate the information in a manner that this client could appreciate and understand. We went on to establish a successful collaborative partnership that flourished for four years.”
How would you rate your ability to work and succeed without direct supervision from your managers?
Explanation: Employers always tend to place a high value on job candidates who are self-motivated and can maintain high levels of productivity without constant supervision.
This is especially true now that the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly made it necessary for so many millions of employers to transition to a remote workforce model. This question is designed to assess a candidate’s ability to stay focused and motivated while working remotely or without supervision.
“I’ve always considered myself – and my resume and references will support this – to be an exceptionally self-motivated individual, even when I’m working from home. “In fact, like many employees, I often find that my productivity levels tend to increase when I’m working remotely. I strive to set a positive example for my colleagues, even when we’re not all working under the same roof.”
Generally speaking, the best strategy for success in interviewing for a new job is doing your research beforehand. That means that you should be intimately familiar with the role, department, and company that you’re applying to before you step into the room (or log on to the Zoom meeting ) on the day of your interview.
When you preemptively take the time to carefully research the organization as a whole – and the responsibilities of the job opportunity in particular – you’ll minimize your chances of being caught off guard by an unexpectedly difficult question .
Still, there is only so much background information that you can uncover about an organization and a role before a job interview. No matter how carefully you prepare and how much background research you conduct, there are very likely going to be curveball questions during your job interview that you can’t predict.
In fact, many employers prefer to ask curveball questions (in addition to more run of the mill job interview questions) because they provide an insightful glimpse into a job candidate’s analytical thinking skills – not just their ability to memorize and recite answers to more common interview questions .
To that end, many hiring managers will ask job candidates to answer one or more problem-solving questions during a typical job interview. In contrast to traditional interview questions (such as: “Why do you think that you would be a good fit for this role?”
Or: “What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement up to the current moment?”), problem-solving questions are specifically designed to assess a job candidate’s ability to think on their feet, handle real pressure, and find creative solutions to complex problems.
They’re also commonly referred to as analytical skills interview questions because they’re designed to gauge a candidate’s ability to make analytical decisions in real-time.
What are problem-solving skills?
Problem-solving skills include skills like research, communication, and decision making. Problem-solving skills allow for you to identify and solve problems effectively and efficiently. Research skills allow for you to identify the problem.
Communication skills allow for you to collaborate with others to come up with a plan to solve the problem. Decision making skills allow you to choose the right solution to the problem.
Why do interviewers ask problem-solving interview questions?
Interviewers ask problem-solving interview questions to see how candidate will approach and solve difficult situations. Interviewers want to see how you handle stress and uncertainty before hiring you for a position. Problem-solving is an important part of the everyday workday so they need to be sure you are capable of solving problems.
How do you solve a problem effectively?
To solve problems effectively you should first break the problem down and try different approaches. Breaking the problem up into different parts will help you have a better understanding and help you decide what your next step is going to be.
Once you see the different parts of the problem, trying different approaches to solve the problem can help you solve it faster. This will also help you determine the appropriate tools you need to solve the problem.
U.S. Department of Labor – Interview Tips
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Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.
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Problem solving and decision making interview questions
1. Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem. What did you do? What was the outcome? What do you wish you had done
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Interview Questions About Problem Solving & Decision Making
Behavioral Questions About Problem Solving Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem. Describe a situation in which you found a
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25 examples of behavioral interview questions and how to answer them
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When heading into an interview, candidates must prepare for any question thrown at them. Many candidates prepare to speak about their past experience and how it fits into the role, but many forget about the questions that ask them to describe how they are in the workplace, better known as behavioral interview questions.
“I have a reputation of being a tough interviewer, but I don’t actually think that’s it,” said Tara Cassady, the executive vice president of Americas Client Services at Cielo , a global recruitment process outsourcing partner. “I have structured behavioral questions that ask for specifics. I’m not having a conversation with the person, I’m interviewing the person. Overall the interview process has gotten a little lax as the market got so tight and people were generally wondering, ‘What’s their likability factor?’ Versus actually interviewing for the skills and specifics to achieve within the job.”
Targeted behavioral interview questions allow a hiring manager to test if a candidate has a specific soft skill or hard skill necessary for that job by asking them to look back on their career and draw up examples. As a result, the candidate must come prepared with stories to best answer behavioral interview questions.
“When we are spending time as an interviewer and interviewee, we should be prepared,” Cassady said. “Using behavioral interview questions makes the interviewer prepared and will identify whether the interviewee is prepared. It can absolutely make good candidates stand apart.”
In this article, you will learn:
- What a behavioral interview question is
- Why behavioral questions are used
- 25 examples of behavioral interview questions
- How you most successfully answer behavioral interview questions
- How you can practice behavioral questions before the interview
What are behavioral interview questions?
Behavioral interview questions are questions that hiring managers ask in order to get a better understanding of how you react to certain situations.
These behavioral interview questions, sometimes called anecdotal interview questions, ask candidates to tell a story about specific instances from their careers. These types of questions give hiring managers a better look into a candidate’s work style and personality, but they also allow the candidate to prove why they are the best person for the position.
When a candidate is asked a behavioral question, they should have stories prepared that highlight them in the best possible light.
Why are behavioral questions used?
Used correctly, you’ll find that it can be used to look for consistency in answers and how to identify how an employee will prove out with specific questions. Are we going to assess soft skills like problem-solving or critical thinking or their speaking skills?
The other thing that you can assess when you decide to use these kinds of interview questions is…is the candidate prepared? Is the interviewer able to compare and contrast specifics? So are they using the interview guide? So there are certain things that my interviewer is prepared to use behavioral questions because they have documented questions, it’s structured, they are looking at the answers, they can compare and contrast one interviewee to the other, and then also we look for consistencies in behaviors as interviews are answering the questions.
Examples of behavioral interview questions
Behavioral questions about decision making and problem-solving
- Q1: Describe a situation in which you used good judgment and logic to solve a problem.
- Q2: Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision.
- Q3: Can you tell me about the last time you had to act and there was no formal procedure on how to do so?
- Q4: How do you approach a task that you’ve never done before?
- Q5: Can you tell me about a time when you had to deal with a customer that made unreasonable or stretched demands and how you created a win-win situation?
- Q6: We’ve all been asked on occasion to perform tasks to accomplish a goal where the instructions are really ambiguous. Can you tell me about a time that this happened to you and what you did to achieve the goal?
Behavioral questions about leadership
- Q7: Have you ever had trouble getting others to agree with your ideas? How did you deal with the situation, and were you successful?
- Q8: Describe the most challenging group from which you’ve had to gain cooperation.
- Q9: Can you tell us about a time you took initiative on a project?
- Q10 : How do you manage the outcomes of your team members?
Behavioral questions about motivation
- Q11: Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
- Q12: Give me an example of a situation in which you positively influenced the actions of others.
- Q13: Give an example of a goal you reached, and tell me how you achieved it.
Behavioral questions about communication
- Q14: Describe a situation in which you were able to communicate with another individual who did not personally like you (or vice versa).
- Q15: Describe a time you had to use written communication to convey an important argument or idea.
- Q16: Have you ever unintentionally offended or upset somebody? Can you describe the details?
Behavioral questions about interpersonal skills
- Q17: Give me examples of what you’ve done in the past to nurture teamwork.
- Q18: Give an example of an unpopular decision you’ve made, what the result was, and how you managed it.
- Q19: What was your relationship with the best boss you ever had?
- Q20: Can you tell me about a time that you let someone down? How did you handle it?
Behavioral questions about planning and organization
- Q21: When scheduling your time, what method do you use to decide which items are priorities?
- Q22: Describe how you’ve handled a sudden interruption to your schedule.
Behavioral questions about professional feedback
- Q23: What’s been the toughest criticism you received so far in your career? What did you do with it?
- Q24: Can you describe the details of a time you were unfairly criticized?
- Q25: When was the last time you got constructive feedback? What was it? What did you do with it?
How do you answer behavioral questions in an interview?
Many professionals, including Cassady, suggest using the STAR method to answer behavioral interview questions.
The STAR method is a procedure that can be used to provide thoughtful answers that contain fully-formed beginnings, middles, and ends. STAR stands for Situation, Task at hand, Action you took, and Result. This method allows you to tell a story that starts with the situation, moves to the task you were assigned, goes onto the action you took, and finish up with the result of what happened in this particular instance. These stories are most impressive to interviewers because they show how you actually act in the workplace.
“I can tell when I’m interviewing if somebody thought about the interview prior to showing up to the interview in terms of how specifically or thoroughly they answer questions,” Cassady said.
According to Cassady, the characteristics of a great behavioral interview answer are:
- Authenticity. While candidates must prepare in order to nail these interview questions, it shouldn’t sound like you are reading off a script when it comes time to speak with the hiring manager. Have prepared stories, but make sure not to over prepare and sound like a robot on the day of the interview.
- Specificity. Being able to provide specific details versus general ones is key to nailing behavioral interview question answers. When Cassady asks interviewers how they manage the outcomes of their team members, she doesn’t want to hear that they just take a look at data. Rather, she would prefer a story that shows how you have managed performance in the past.
- Clarity. If you tell stories that make no sense to the hiring manager, chances are you are not going to get the job. Being clear while telling your stories is important in nailing behavioral interview questions, which is why the STAR method is so helpful. “T he ability to tell the story and answer the question will be an impressive answer to a behavioral interview question,” Cassady said.
How do you practice behavioral questions before an interview?
The best way to practice answering behavioral interviews before an interview is to actually tell the stories ahead of the interview.
“Preparation is always the key to an effective interview,” Cassady said.
First, you should think about situations from your career when you exhibited particular soft skills that the questions ask about.
Next, you should use the examples of the behavioral questions to make a list of which situations will be useful to discuss during interviews. You can go even further by writing down each situation using the STAR method.
Most importantly, you should actually practice telling these stories to someone. Most people don’t have a professional interview coach to practice with, so instead grab a friend or family member and provide them with a list of behavioral questions that they can ask you.
The Talkative Man
Behavioral Interview Questions by Competency: Problem-Solving and Decision-Making
Problem-Solving and decision-making is the ability to use a systematic approach in solving problems through analysis of problem and evaluation of alternate solutions; use logic, mathematics or other problem solving tools in data analysis or in generating solutions. Ability to take action in solving problems while exhibiting judgment and a realistic understanding of issues; Ability to reason, even when dealing with emotional topics.
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Good problem solving often includes a careful review of the facts and weighing of options before making a decision. Give me an example of how you reached a practical business decision by an organized review of the facts and weighing of options. “ Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate use a process to define a problem and then identify/evaluate alternative solutions prior to taking action? Was there a routine, obvious, and/or speculative course of action, perhaps based on an inadequate review of information?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Enumerate the analytical tools with which you feel competent, and then give me an example from any time in your working history, which shows your ability to use analytical techniques to define problems or design solutions.” Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate make an informed decision on which tool was best for a specific task, and use the tool with minimal supervision? Was there little actual use of the tool, even with supervision?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Even though you may be dealing with a complex problem, it is often important to use a common sense approach in making a decision; not all analytical solutions will seem practical. Tell me about a time when your common sense paid off for you.” Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate make an effective decision, particularly in light of practical opportunities/constraints? Was there a lack of effectiveness and/or great inefficiency, perhaps accompanied by insecurity, resistance, rigidity, withdrawal, and/or dependency?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Solving a problem often necessitates evaluation of alternate solutions. Give me an example of a time when you actively defined several solutions to a single problem. Did you use any tools such as research, brainstorming, or mathematics?” Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate develop alternative solutions to a problem based on a clarification of objectives and a review of facts/causes? Was there an obvious/standard solution or an autocratic solution, reflecting little specification of alternatives?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Solving problems requires more than good plans; it means taking action. Give me an example of a time when you were able to take meaningful action in solving a practical problem.” Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate take action based on a systematic approach, meaningful review of facts/issues/timing, and willingness to commit to a solution? Was there impulsive action taken due to pressure instead of a practical analysis of what actions were desirable?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Having a good solution for a problem often entails more than just being intelligent. Often, exercise of good judgment is needed to complement logic in choosing a practical solution. Describe when you used good judgment in solving a problem.” Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate systematically gather and evaluate information, and use priorities/practical circumstances to guide a decision? Was there avoidance/withdrawal from a problem or an uninformed/impulsive decision?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Often, extensive job training and experience are required to get the best results in decision-making. Describe, in detail, a situation in which you used your training and experience in making a decision, which required sound judgment.” Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate review important/available facts/feelings, and then apply a principle learned in training? Was there little application of information learned in training to make a decision correctly?
- Behavioral Interview Questions by Competency: Analytical Problem Solving
- Behavioral Interview Questions by Competency: Leadership
- Behavioral Interview Questions by Competency: Team Work
- Behavioral Interview Questions by Competency: Verbal Communication and Assertiveness
- Behavioral Interview Questions by Competency: Commitment to Task
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20 Problem Solving Interview Questions to Find Your Next Rockstar
Interviews today can break or make a candidate’s career. Therefore, as a company, you should make sure that you ask questions relevant to the job and help understand the candidate’s real potential.
You must ask problem-solving questions for interviews as they help you in understanding how your candidate would react in a particular situation.
There are several problem-solving interview questions answers you must have handy while you are about to interview a candidate. The best problem-solving interview questions will help you in getting the right talent for the company .
Problem-solving questions for interviews
Some problem-solving questions can reflect the creative as well as the analytical bent of the candidate’s mind. Listed below are some excellent analytical and problem-solving skills interview questions and answers :
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1. What do you do when in a significant problem?
This question can help you understand the problem tackling mechanism that the candidate has in place. You can lookout for a logical step-by-step process. The approach used by every candidate here would be different and personal.
Make sure they can give a structure to the answer they give. Here, you can see the candidate’s approach to the research he has taken up to find solutions to a problem.
2. Tell me about an incident where you came across an unexpected challenge at work.
This is one of the most common problem-solving questions for interviews. Here, the candidate tends to answer or tackle the question from the experiences of his past.
The candidate can ideally use a more structured approach like a STAR approach to answering these questions. Make sure that the candidate has actionable points in his response.
3. Do you consider both the pros as well as cons before making a decision?
This will help the interviewer in understanding the problem-solving process that the candidate takes. It is essential to weigh both pros and cons of a situation. The candidate should structure their response in a way that highlights all aspects of the problem at hand.
4. How will you handle a dissatisfied customer?
Unpleasant questions tend to bring out the fundamental problem-solving skills of a candidate. It would be best if they talk about a situation where they approached the customer with a calm demeanor or a similar story.
5. What kind of metrics do you track regularly?
This question will help the interviewer understand how much control the candidate has over life. There will surely be one thing that you keep a tab on. Make sure you try and understand their approach when it comes to prioritizing metrics.
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6. Have you ever had to change your planned course of action?
This will help the interviewer in understanding how the candidate deals with stressful situations. As a candidate, they can talk about a situation that they came across that was not foreseen.
You can also expect answers on how they handled an unexpected event while they were a part of a planned event.
7. How would you react if your manager asks you for a suggestion that might increase your team’s productivity?
This question can be considered as one of the best creative problem-solving examples for an interview . Ensure that your candidate’s answers should be something that does not give an eccentric impression of them.
8. Describe a time when you had to solve a problem without any necessary information available to you
In these cases, the interviewer is looking at your creativity level. The candidates should come up with an unconventional technique that they used while solving a problem.
This will help you understand the candidates better. The solution can be hypothetical, but they must share the approach with you.
9. Tell us about a situation where you overcame a problem using a creative solution.
Such questions are pretty standard. Recruiters are looking for a candidate who is analytical but at the same time creative too.
Ensure that the candidates come up with the most unique and creative approach. They should try using visual elements which can help your interviewer visualize the entire scene.
10. Describe an incident where you went ahead of your zone to get things done.
The initiative is one of the best skills recruiters look for in a candidate. Make sure that the candidate shares a story where they took the initiative and got things done. Tangible results are worth talking about in an interview.
11. Have you ever tried to break the rules and do things your way?
Modern recruiters are looking for people who can break the glass. This is increasingly becoming a prevalent question in interviews. All of us have tried breaking the rules one way or the other. Make sure that the candidate doesn’t shy away from answering such questions.
12. Tell us about the most innovative solution to a problem that you have proposed to someone.
Companies are growing organizations. They are on a hunt for the most talented and innovative person for their company.
Make sure that your candidate talks about a start-up idea that he had or a college project where he applied his creativity and innovation from scratch.
13. Describe a situation where you could trace an active opportunity hidden in a problem? How did you make use of the opportunity?
Problems are a veil on a great opportunity. Recruiters are keen on knowing how you can treat a problem like a lesson. An ideal candidate should talk about a problem that they solved in real life. They should speak about the learnings that he gained from tackling that problem.
14. Are there any steps you take before deciding or coming to a conclusion? Walk us through the process?
Recruiters look for a structure in these answers. An ideal candidate will come up with a solution where you can easily understand the steps required. Some candidates even use a STAR approach to answer these questions.
15. Describe an incident where you decided to stand up against injustice.
Again, these questions are asked to check how good you are at taking the initiative. These questions test your candidate’s definition of right and wrong.
Make sure that your candidate’s answers are either black or white. If they venture into the grey area, it will create a lot of confusion and ambiguity.
16. Have you ever owned up to someone else’s mistakes? How did you deal with it?
This question tries to understand how good you are at working in a team. It is crucial to be honest in answering these questions. Ensure that your candidates reply honestly if they haven’t been in a similar situation.
17. How would you tackle a situation where your manager fails to listen to your suggestions?
These questions are asked to understand how you will approach a problem in a workspace. Ensure that the candidate takes a collaborative approach and does not end up taking an extreme route like going to HR, etc., while answering the questions.
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18. Have you ever used a different approach to solve a problem? Just take us through the steps.
Creativity has now become a vital skill for recruiters. Interviewees are expected to talk about an unconventional problem where they cannot apply usual solutions. Such approaches will help you determine their creativity levels.
19. Have you ever faced a bottleneck while understanding a tool or technology at work? How did you overcome the challenges?
Companies function in dynamic business environments. Flexibility is the element recruiters are looking for. Honesty is the key to analyze the candidature here. He should be honest in answering these questions as then only you can plan some pieces of training for him.
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20. Have you ever missed an important work deadline? How did you handle the situation?
The recruiter wants to check how good the candidate is at accepting mistakes. Most of us have missed essential deadlines at least once. Check if the candidate is being honest and talks about why he missed the particular deadline. Understanding the reasons is important.
You can make a quiz where you list down all problem-solving multiple-choice questions and answers . Such challenges can prepare you well for taking an interview to check the interviewees’ problem-solving skills.
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Describe a time when you had to solve a problem, but didn't have all the necessary information about it beforehand. What did you do? 1. When you are faced with a problem, what do you do? Tip: Employers typically ask this question to understand what your problem-solving process looks like.
Decision Making Interview Questions Can you define critical thinking? See answer What types of decisions were you required to make at your previous job? See answer If you were tasked with hiring employees, how would you decide between two good candidates? See answer Show more questions 10 Decision Making Interview Questions and Answers Q:
Examples of decision-making interview questions Two employees are having regular conflicts with each other and often disturb the team's balance. How would you handle this situation? Describe a time you made an unpopular decision. How did you handle the feedback? How would you have handled the situation differently?
Here's a look at the top three problem-solving interview questions and example responses. 1. Can you tell me about a time when you had to solve a challenging problem? In the land of problem-solving questions, this one might be your best-case scenario.
Examples of problem-solving interview questions Describe a time you had to solve a problem without managerial input. How did you do it and what was the result? Give an example of a time you identified and fixed a problem before it became urgent. Tell me about a time you predicted a problem with a stakeholder. How did you prevent it from escalating?
I think the key problem solving skills here were taking initiative, communicating clearly, and reacting quickly to solve this problem before it became an even bigger issue. Example Answer 3: In my current marketing role, my manager asked me to come up with a solution to our declining social media engagement.
Here are the questions to ask your candidates to assess their decision-making skills: You have a number of different choices or options you could choose to solve a problem. what's the process you would follow to make a decision that would result in a positive outcome?
Question 1: Describe a situation where you had to solve a problem. What did you do? what was the result? What might you have done differently? This question tests their problem-solving ability. As an employer, you want to hire people that get things done and when faced with a problem actively solve it. There are three steps to solving a problem:
Here you will find frequently asked questions about problem-solving interview questions and example answers: 1. Can you describe how you solve a problem? Hiring managers may ask this question to identify your problem-solving process. Ensure your answer explains some of the key elements of problem-solving mentioned above.
Problem-Solving Questions With Sample Answers Below are some examples of problem-solving questions with answers: 1. What is your course of action when you face a problem? The interviewer may be trying to find out your problem-solving process when they ask this question.
In this section, I'm going to give you 3 steps for answering decision-making interview questions like, "Tell me how you make decisions.". Then in the next section, we'll look at three word-for-word answer examples. Here are the steps to create a great answer: 1. Show that you have a system for reaching the right decision.
An interviewer may ask a problem-solving interview question in various ways. This is going to vary depending on the industry and the specific role in question. However, there are some common formats for asking these questions. Some examples are: Can you tell me about a time you were confronted with a problem? How did you approach it?
Decision-making interview questions How would you mediate a dispute between two employees? Describe a time you made an unpopular decision (woops). How did you handle the feedback? Would you do anything differently? Would you describe yourself as a team player or a lone wolf? Why? When do you ask for help?
Or: "What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement up to the current moment?"), problem-solving questions are specifically designed to assess a job candidate's ability to think on their feet, handle real pressure, and find creative solutions to complex problems.
Examples of decision-making interview questions and sample answers Use the following examples to help you prepare for your interview: 1. Can you describe a time when you made a difficult decision? This question aims to assess your problem-solving skills and ability to evaluate a situation to make the best possible choice.
Answering Problem Solving Interview Questions Examples of problem-solving interview questions Describe a time you had to solve a problem without managerial input. How did you do it and what was the result? Give an example of a time you identified and fixed a problem before it became urgent. Tell me about a time you predicted a problem with a ...
Examples of behavioral interview questions. Behavioral questions about decision making and problem-solving. Q1: Describe a situation in which you used good judgment and logic to solve a problem ...
Ability to take action in solving problems while exhibiting judgment and a realistic understanding of issues; Ability to reason, even when dealing with emotional topics. Behavioral Interview Question: "Good problem solving often includes a careful review of the facts and weighing of options before making a decision. Give me an example of how ...
It's essential to understand the five steps of solving a problem to feel confident in answering problem-solving questions during your interview. They are: Gather data and analyze what caused the problem. Brainstorm all possible solutions to the problem. Evaluate the pros and cons of each solution.
The candidate should structure their response in a way that highlights all aspects of the problem at hand. 4. How will you handle a dissatisfied customer? Unpleasant questions tend to bring out the fundamental problem-solving skills of a candidate.