20 Problem Solving Interview Questions to Find Your Next Rockstar

Best Problem-Solving Interview Questions

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:

Recommended Post: Your Guide to Topgrading Interview Process

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.

Recommended Read: How to Improve Candidate Experience [2021 Updated]

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.

Recommended Read: A Manager’s Guide to Improve Communication Skills at Work

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.

Recommended Read: 7 Common Remote Work Challenges and Solutions [2021 Updated]

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.

Conclusion

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.

Pawan Kumar

I'm a Content Marketer at Springworks. I've been featured in many reputed publications and online magazines! I'm an avid reader and movie buff. Let's connect on Social Media.

1 Comment

  1. Nice article! Thanks!)
    When I was at my last interview I was asked at least two of these questions. So this article will be useful both for employers and employees.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Topgrading Interview Process
Previous Story

Your Guide to Topgrading Interview Process

Handling Difficult Conversations at Work
Next Story

5 Best Practices for Handling Difficult Conversations at Work

Latest from Human Resources