Job Interview Tips

Top 20 Problem Solving Interview Questions (Example Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

When candidates put together for interviews, they often give attention to highlighting their management, communication, teamwork, and related essential soft skills. Nevertheless, not everybody will get prepared for problem-solving interview questions. And that may be a giant mistake.

Downside-solving is related to just about any job on the planet. Sure, it’s extra prevalent in sure industries, however it’s useful nearly in every single place.

Whatever the function you need to land, it’s possible you’ll be requested to supply problem-solving examples or describe how you’d cope with particular conditions. That’s why being able to showcase your problem-solving abilities is so important.

For those who aren’t certain who to deal with problem-solving questions, don’t fear, we’ve got your again. Include us as we discover this thrilling a part of the interview course of, in addition to some problem-solving interview questions and instance solutions.

What Is Downside-Fixing?

Once you’re attempting to land a place, there’s probability you’ll face some problem-solving interview questions. However what precisely is problem-solving? And why is it so essential to hiring managers?

Properly, the great people at Merriam-Webster outline problem-solving as “the method or act of discovering an answer to an issue.” Whereas that will appear to be frequent sense, there’s a crucial half to that definition that ought to catch your eye.

What half is that? The phrase “course of.”

In the long run, problem-solving is an exercise. It’s your capacity to take applicable steps to seek out solutions, decide how you can proceed, or in any other case overcome the problem.

Being nice at it often means having a spread of useful problem-solving abilities and traits. Analysis, diligence, persistence, attention-to-detail, collaboration… they will all play a job. So can analytical thinking, creativity, and open-mindedness.

However why do hiring managers fear about your problem-solving abilities? Properly, primarily, as a result of each job comes with its fair proportion of issues.

Whereas problem-solving is related to scientific, technical, authorized, medical, and an entire slew of different careers. It helps you overcome challenges and cope with the sudden. It performs a job in troubleshooting and innovation. That’s why it issues to hiring managers.

Learn how to Reply Downside-Fixing Interview Questions

Okay, earlier than we get to our examples, let’s take a fast second to speak about technique. Understanding how you can reply problem-solving interview questions is essential. Why? As a result of the hiring supervisor would possibly ask you one thing that you just don’t anticipate.

Downside-solving interview questions are all about seeing the way you suppose. Consequently, they could be a bit… unconventional.

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill job interview questions. As an alternative, they’re tough behavioral interview questions. In spite of everything, the objective is to learn the way you strategy problem-solving, so most are going to characteristic eventualities, brainteasers, or one thing related.

So, having an excellent technique means realizing how you can cope with behavioral questions. Fortunately, there are a few instruments that may assist.

First, with regards to the traditional strategy to behavioral interview questions, look no additional than the STAR Method. With the STAR technique, you learn to flip your solutions into fascinating tales. This makes your responses tons extra participating, making certain you retain the hiring supervisor’s consideration from starting to finish.

Now, do you have to cease with the STAR Technique? After all not. If you wish to take your solutions to the subsequent degree, spend a while with the Tailoring Method, too.

With the Tailoring Technique, it’s all about relevance. So, should you get an opportunity to decide on an instance that demonstrates your problem-solving abilities, that is actually the best way to go.

Prime 3 Downside-Fixing-Primarily based Interview Questions

Alright, here’s what you’ve been ready for: the problem-solving questions and pattern solutions.

Whereas many questions on this class are job-specific, these have a tendency to use to just about any job. Which means there’s probability you’ll come throughout them sooner or later in your profession, making them an excellent place to begin once you’re training for an interview.

So, let’s dive in, lets? Right here’s a take a look at the highest three problem-solving interview questions and instance responses.

1. Are you able to inform me a couple of time once you needed to resolve a difficult drawback?

Within the land of problem-solving questions, this one could be your best-case situation. It allows you to select your personal problem-solving examples to focus on, placing you in full management.

Once you select an instance, go together with one that’s related to what you’ll face within the function. The nearer the match, the higher the reply is within the eyes of the hiring supervisor.


“Whereas working as a cell telecom help specialist for a big group, we needed to transition our MDM service from one vendor to a different inside 45 days. This personally bodily dealing with 500 gadgets inside the company. Units needed to be gathered from the headquarters and satellite tv for pc places of work, which have been positioned all throughout the state, one thing that was difficult even with out the tight deadline.

I approached the scenario by figuring out the placement task of all personnel inside the group, enabling me to estimate transit occasions for receiving the gadgets. Subsequent, I timed out what number of gadgets I might personally replace in a day. Collectively, this allowed me to create a basic timeline.

After that, I coordinated with every location, each expressing the urgency of adhering to deadlines and scheduling bulk transport choices. Whereas there have been occasional bouts of resistance, I labored with location leaders to calm issues and facilitate motion.

Whereas performing the entire updates was daunting, my strategy to organizing the occasion made it successful. In the end, the whole transition was completed 5 days earlier than the deadline, exceeding the expectations of many.”

MIKE’S TIP: Once you’re answering this query, quantify the small print. This provides your reply crucial context and scale, showcasing the diploma of problem and power of the accomplishment. That approach, your reply is highly effective, compelling, and, above all, thorough.

2. Describe a time the place you made a mistake. What did you do to repair it?

Whereas this may not appear to be it’s primarily based on problem-solving on the floor, it really is. Once you make a mistake, it creates a problem, one you need to work your approach by way of. At a minimal, it’s a possibility to focus on problem-solving abilities, even should you don’t handle the subject straight.

Once you select an instance, you need to go together with a scenario the place the top was optimistic. Nevertheless, the problem nonetheless must be vital, inflicting one thing unfavourable to occur within the second that you just, ideally, overcame.


“After I first started in a supervisory function, I had bother setting down my particular person contributor hat. I attempted to maintain up with my previous duties whereas additionally taking up the duties of my new function. Consequently, I started speeding and launched an error into the code of the software program my group was updating.

The error led to a reminiscence leak. We turned conscious of the problem when the efficiency was hindered, although we didn’t instantly know the trigger. I dove again into the code, reviewing current modifications, and, in the end, decided the problem was a mistake on my finish.

After I made that discovery, I took a number of steps. First, I let my group know that the error was mine and allow them to know its nature. Second, I labored with my group to appropriate the problem, resolving the reminiscence leak.

Lastly, I took this as a lesson about delegation. I started assigning work to my group extra successfully, a transfer that allowed me to excel as a supervisor and assist them thrive as contributors. It was a vital studying second, one which I’ve valued every single day since.”

3. For those who establish a possible danger in a mission, what steps do you’re taking to stop it?

Sure, that is additionally a problem-solving query. The distinction is, with this one, it’s not about fixing a problem; it’s about stopping it from occurring. Nonetheless, you utilize problem-solving abilities alongside the best way, so it falls on this query class.

For those who can, use an instance of a second once you mitigated danger prior to now. For those who haven’t had that chance, strategy it theoretically, discussing the steps you’d take to stop a problem from creating.


“If I establish a possible danger in a mission, my first step is to evaluate the varied elements that would result in a poor consequence. Prevention requires evaluation. Making certain I totally perceive what can set off the undesired occasion creates the correct basis, permitting me to determine how you can cut back the probability of these occasions occurring.

As soon as I’ve the correct degree of understanding, I give you a mitigation plan. Precisely what this consists of varies relying on the character of the problem, although it often entails numerous steps and checks designed to observe the mission because it progresses to identify paths that will make the issue extra prone to occur.

I discover this strategy efficient because it combines data and ongoing vigilance. That approach, if the mission begins to go into dangerous territory, I can appropriate its trajectory.”

17 Extra Downside-Fixing-Primarily based Interview Questions

On the planet of problem-solving questions, some apply to a variety of jobs, whereas others are extra area of interest. For instance, customer support reps and IT helpdesk professionals each encounter challenges, however not often the identical form.

Consequently, a few of the questions on this checklist could also be extra related to sure careers than others. Nevertheless, all of them offer you insights into what this type of query seems like, making them value reviewing.

Listed below are 17 extra problem-solving interview questions you would possibly face off towards throughout your job search:

    1. How would you describe your problem-solving abilities?
    2. Are you able to inform me a couple of time once you had to make use of creativity to cope with an impediment?
    3. Describe a time once you found an unmet buyer want whereas aiding a buyer and located a technique to meet it.
    4. For those who have been confronted with an upset buyer, how would you diffuse the scenario?
    5. Inform me a couple of time once you needed to troubleshoot a posh situation.
    6. Think about you have been overseeing a mission and wanted a selected merchandise. You will have two selections of distributors: one that may ship on time however could be over funds, and one which’s underneath funds however would ship one week later than you want it. How do you determine which strategy to make use of?
    7. Your supervisor desires to improve a instrument you repeatedly use to your job and desires your advice. How do you formulate one?
    8. A provider has mentioned that an merchandise you want for a mission isn’t going to be delivered as scheduled, one thing that may trigger your mission to fall delayed. What do you do to attempt to maintain the timeline on course?
    9. Are you able to share an instance of a second the place you encountered a singular drawback you and your colleagues had by no means seen earlier than? How did you determine what to do?
    10. Think about you have been scheduled to provide a presentation with a colleague, and your colleague referred to as in sick proper earlier than it was set to start. What would you do?
    11. In case you are given two pressing duties from totally different members of the management group, each with the identical tight deadline, how do you select which to deal with first?
    12. Inform me a couple of time you and a colleague didn’t see eye-to-eye. How did you resolve what to do?
    13. Describe your troubleshooting course of.
    14. Inform me a couple of time the place there was an issue that you just weren’t capable of resolve. What occurred?
    15. In your opening, what abilities or traits make an individual an distinctive problem-solver?
    16. Once you face an issue that requires motion, do you often bounce in or take a second to fastidiously assess the scenario?
    17. Once you encounter a brand new drawback you’ve by no means seen earlier than, what is step one that you just take?

Placing It All Collectively

At this level, it is best to have a stable concept of how you can strategy problem-solving interview questions. Use the ideas above to your benefit. That approach, you possibly can thrive throughout your subsequent interview.

Good luck!

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