Best Problem Solving Interview Questions To Ask A Candidate
May 17, 2023
In today's dynamic and competitive business landscape, problem-solving skills have become an essential trait for success in almost any role. Employers seek individuals who can think critically, analyze complex situations, and devise innovative solutions.
Therefore, interviewing candidates to assess their problem-solving abilities has become a crucial step in the hiring process. By asking the right questions, employers can gain valuable insights into a candidate's approach to problem-solving, their creativity, and their ability to navigate challenging scenarios.
Why should you assess problem solving skills in an interview?
Assessing problem-solving skills in an interview is crucial because it enables employers to gauge a candidate's ability to think critically, adapt to challenging situations, and generate effective solutions. Strong problem-solving skills are highly sought after in today's fast-paced and complex work environments, as they indicate an individual's capacity to overcome obstacles, make sound decisions, and contribute to the success of a team or organization.
Best problem solving interview questions
1. Describe a complex problem you encountered in your previous role. How did you approach it, and what steps did you take to solve it?
Asking this question allows the candidate to showcase their problem-solving abilities by providing a real-life example. It helps assess their analytical thinking, decision-making skills, and ability to devise a strategic plan. Look for candidates who can articulate a clear problem-solving process, including how they identified the root cause, gathered relevant information, consider alternative solutions, and implemented an effective resolution.
2. Can you provide an example of a situation where you had to think creatively to solve a problem?
This question assesses a candidate's creativity and ability to think outside the box when faced with challenges. Look for candidates who demonstrate innovative thinking, an openness to new ideas, and a track record of generating unique solutions. Their ability to describe specific strategies or approaches they employed to overcome obstacles will give insight into their creative problem-solving capabilities.
3. How do you handle conflicting priorities and tight deadlines when faced with multiple tasks or projects?
This question evaluates a candidate's ability to manage and prioritize tasks effectively. Look for candidates who can demonstrate their organizational skills, time management abilities, and capacity to handle pressure. Their response should highlight their approach to prioritization, delegation, and resource allocation, emphasizing their capacity to meet deadlines while maintaining quality and efficiency.
4. Give an example of a time when you faced resistance or opposition to a proposed solution or idea. How did you handle it?
This question evaluates a candidate's communication, persuasion, and conflict-resolution skills. Look for candidates who can effectively navigate resistance by demonstrating their ability to listen actively, understand different perspectives, and communicate their ideas clearly and convincingly. Their response should illustrate their capacity to build consensus, address concerns, and overcome obstacles when met with opposition.
5. Describe a situation where you made a mistake or encountered a setback. How did you handle it, and what did you learn from the experience?
This question assesses a candidate's resilience, adaptability, and ability to learn from failures. Look for candidates who can demonstrate a growth mindset by acknowledging their mistakes, taking ownership, and describing the steps they took to rectify the situation or learn from it. Their response should reflect their ability to reflect on challenges, adapt their approach, and continuously improve their
6. Tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem with limited resources or constraints. How did you approach it?
This question assesses a candidate's resourcefulness and ability to find creative solutions despite limitations. Look for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to identify alternative options, prioritize essential resources, and leverage existing assets effectively. Their response should highlight their ability to think strategically and maximize outcomes within constraints.
7. Can you provide an example of a situation where you had to collaborate with others to solve a complex problem?
Collaboration is essential in problem-solving, and this question evaluates a candidate's teamwork and interpersonal skills. Look for candidates who can describe a situation where they actively engaged with others, listened to diverse perspectives, and fostered a collaborative environment. Their response should showcase their ability to communicate, delegate tasks, and achieve collective problem-solving goals.
8. How do you approach data analysis when solving a problem? Provide an example of a time when data analysis influenced your decision-making process.
This question evaluates a candidate's analytical skills and their ability to leverage data to make informed decisions. Look for candidates who can articulate their approach to data analysis, including gathering relevant information, analyzing it effectively, and using insights to drive problem-solving. Their response should showcase their ability to interpret data, draw logical conclusions, and apply findings to solve complex problems.
9. Describe a situation where you had to make a quick decision under pressure. How did you ensure the decision was well-thought-out and effective?
This question assesses a candidate's ability to make sound decisions in high-pressure situations. Look for candidates who can describe a specific scenario where they remained composed, gathered essential information efficiently, and evaluated available options to make a quick but well-informed decision. Their response should demonstrate their ability to balance speed and accuracy while considering potential risks and outcomes.
10. Give an example of a time when you identified a recurring problem or inefficiency in a process. How did you go about finding a solution and implementing it?
This question evaluates a candidate's ability to identify and resolve systemic issues. Look for candidates who can demonstrate their problem-solving approach, including their ability to identify patterns, analyze root causes, and design and implement effective solutions. Their response should highlight their critical thinking skills, proactive mindset, and ability to drive process improvement within an organization.
In today's competitive work environment, problem-solving skills are essential for success across various roles and industries. If you're looking for other methods to assess problem solving skills, you can add a problem solving test as part of your pre-screening process. This test provides an objective measurement of a candidate’s abilities. Try our problem solving test by signing up for a free trial.
May 17, 2023