Top 16 problem-solving questions for interview (with examples and tips)


Rachita Jain


Word Count
We've all been here. You squander time, money, and effort by selecting the incorrect candidate. You've had to learn the hard way that poor hiring really costs, and it costs very high. Additionally, you also want to ensure that your next interview procedure is as error-free as feasible. But you don't know how to make that happen!
Problem-solving interviews can help in this situation.
Traditional interviews are still conducted, but more and more businesses are relying on practical methods to screen applicants based on real-world work situations.
In problem-solving interviews, applicants are assessed on how they handle challenging circumstances that they would really encounter in a particular position. Consider these questions your bookmarkable resource to keep returning to while preparing for candidate interviews. The questions given below are scenario-based and behavioral questions that can help you access a candidate for all of your problem-solving needs.

What are problem-solving questions for interviews?

Industry-specific problem-solving questions might differ, but they often test your candidate's ability to analyze a situation rationally and effectively and come up with a workable solution. These questions, sometimes referred to as analytical skills interview questions, enable a business to comprehend how a candidate evaluates and resolves a challenging issue when it arises.
As an interviewer, you can pose some thoughtful questions that will reveal the candidate's strategy for dealing with challenging circumstances and how goal-oriented they can be at work. You can learn more about a candidate's thought process by using these questions, which can include:
  • Assembling knowledge from a variety of sources
  • Using critical thinking to evaluate such data
  • Making choices that will advance the company
  • Sharing their discoveries or suggestions with the team

Problem-solving skills interview questions

Leadership roles: Problem-solving skills interview questions

Problem-solving question- 1

Which was the toughest squad you've ever had to lead? What made it difficult? How did you approach resolving the problems?
How is the problem solved:
By asking a candidate to assess how tough it is to work with others, you can tell if they are going to blame their team or whether they will concentrate more on the solution to that problem.
A strong applicant will describe how they dealt with the issue and kept it from becoming a persistent problem for the enterprise.
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Problem-solving question- 2

What do you regard as your finest professional accomplishment or your proudest moment? What were the actual steps you took to arrive there?
How is the problem solved:
While some leadership traits are innate, the majority need meticulous planning and the capacity for inspired action. A candidate that is willing to describe the process rather than read his resume is far better as he provides genuine insight into how they accomplished the seemingly impossible.

Problem-solving question- 3

Tell me about a project when you had to lead a multidisciplinary team to accomplish a particular objective or result. How did you modify your leadership approach to accomplish this goal?
How is the problem solved:
Strong leaders must possess the capacity for adaptation. No one leadership style is appropriate for every workplace setting. Outstanding managers know how to listen to their teams and adjust accordingly.

Problem-solving question- 4

Describe a scenario when you were successful in inspiring your team to achieve better. What were the most productive and effective actions?
How is the problem solved:
It is quite challenging to control and enhance your team's performance. For your company, you want an executive candidate with the ideal balance of dynamism and tact to get the best-of-the-best performance out of each team member.

Problem-solving question- 5

5. Describe a leadership position that you've held outside of your workplace. Why did you decide to accept that position and what were the advantages for you?
How is the problem solved:
The best leaders never limit their leadership hats to their workplace. You can have a deeper understanding of your candidate's leadership qualities both within and outside the workplace by learning about the leadership responsibilities they took outside their workplace i.e in their community, be it through volunteering, coaching, or leading a professional organization.

Creative roles: Problem-solving skills interview questions

Problem-solving question- 6

What is the most imaginative initiative or concept you have come up with in your present position? How did that go over?
Problem-solving skills example:
A truly creative person will have a distinctive approach to problem-solving even if they aren't interviewing for the position of Art Director. However, creativity might imply entirely different things, depending on the role and organization. In this question, you can also access a candidate's ability to accept criticism.

Problem-solving question- 7

What strategies have you used to inspire your team to be more inventive and creative?
Problem-solving skills example:
A creative individual will encourage others to think creatively. He will allow the free flow of energy and ideas within his team. You can learn more about your candidate's collaboration abilities and how they use creativity at the strategic level based on how they respond to this question.

Problem-solving question- 8

Every artist requires a space to work. What kind of artistic work do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Problem-solving skills example:
Does your candidate's creativity reflect upon the other aspects of his life? You can tell that similar enthusiasm will permeate the workplace if your creative candidate gets excited when you inquire about their interests and hobbies outside the office.
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Problem-solving question- 9

What technology tools do you regularly use?
Problem-solving skills example:
Creative people often have a passion for technology. Knowing and understanding how they maintain and keep their tech abilities up-to-date will give you an idea of the approaches they'll use to keep your business cutting edge.

Problem-solving question- 10

What is your opinion on our creative materials?
Problem-solving skills example:
Your applicant would have undoubtedly completed their research if they are interested in your brand. The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic to share his perspective on your branding, marketing, or other creative endeavors. A keeper is someone who comes prepared and isn't hesitant to offer their own "like it, love it, leave it" opinion.

Technical roles

Problem-solving question- 11

Has your analysis ever led to any significant positive impacts on your project workflow?
Problem-solving skills example:
If there is one quality that any excellent techie should possess, it is a keen eye for detail. You want a candidate that actively seeks out opportunities to improve workflows rather than passively waiting for someone else to do it.

Problem-solving question- 12

Has this ever happened that you were unable to meet a deadline? What was the reason for it and how did you handle it?
Problem-solving skills example:
Due to unprecedented circumstances, it is possible that your candidate would have missed his deadlines, in fact, we all have at some point. Deadlines in a fast-paced technological setting are frequently postponed. If your candidate accepts it, then it is a positive indication. It displays their capability to manage the heat and it also shows that they can remain calm under high pressure.

Problem-solving question- 13

It might be challenging to provide each client with superior service when you are dealing with a huge number of them. How do you decide which of your clients' wants are more important?
Problem-solving skills example:
Technical positions require strong time management abilities. A genuine unicorn is a candidate who not only has the coding and programming chops but can also handle a busy workload from both internal and external clients while adhering to a strict timetable.

Problem-solving question- 14

Give an instance when you had to provide a somewhat detailed explanation to an irritated customer. How did you manage this challenging circumstance?
Problem-solving skills example:
Although technical professionals frequently use their own language, crucial for the applicant to be able to explain their job to a customer or team member on a daily basis. Any position with a client-facing or cross-departmental dimension might raise a red signal if the candidate cannot clearly describe what they performed.
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Problem-solving question- 15

Tell me about a moment when you had really loose supervision at work. What was your approach to that?
Problem-solving skills example:
Many technical workers have flexible work hours or they work remotely. Therefore, your candidate needs to be a self-starter as it's crucial.
Seek precise details on the strategies and procedures they employ to control their own schedule, achieve deadlines, and satisfy project objectives.

Problem-solving question- 16

What sources do you use to remain up to date with technological advancements?
Problem-solving skills example:
It is highly significant for tech people to be updated with the latest technologies. Hence, it's crucial to find out how the applicant stays current with the latest upgrades because candidates for positions like SEO coordinator, IT coordinator, or software engineer need to have a future prospect and they must think creatively.

Tips to access problem-solving interview questions

1. Go for hypothetical situations over real ones

During the interview, we advise you to use hypothetical situations that may arise on the job. It's preferable to avoid irrational and unrealistic issues that aren't relevant to your business.

2. Do thorough examination

Examine applicants' problem-solving processes in detail, from recognizing and understanding the problem to weighing the available options and selecting the best one.

3. Focus on innovation

Candidates with innovative approaches and solutions should be your first consideration. Fresh views from creative brains can benefit your business in the long run.

4. Ask about their experiences

Ideal employees should be committed and have a can-do attitude when problems emerge. Examine the candidates' prior experience in problem-solving. They would be excellent hires if they were committed to finding the best answer as quickly as possible.

5. Team spirit is equally important

All is vain if your candidate prefers being solo. The majority of challenging circumstances demand teamwork. The candidates' prior experiences will demonstrate how they worked with others to reach decisions and how at ease they were with seeking assistance.

6. Ask relevant questions only

Ask only those questions which will be relevant to the job your potential candidates will be doing. If hiring for a technical role, ask technical problem-solving interview questions, such as "How would you troubleshoot this Y bug?". This will show a candidate's hard skills and demonstrate their capacity to handle issues on the job.

Red Flags to notice when asking problem-solving interview questions

1. Vague answers

If the respondent is unable to recall an instance in which they applied unconventional thinking, overcame a problem at work, or managed a stressful scenario, it may indicate that they avoid challenging choices and circumstances. So, if they give you a really general response with little to no information, attempt to probe more to learn more about their viewpoint.

2. Extreme uneasiness

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Being put in such a condition can be a little awkward because problem-solving questions are designed to make applicants think critically about their work approach. However, if applicants are under so much stress that they are unable to respond directly to your question, it is likely an indication that they struggle under pressure.

3. Scripted responses

Candidates who provide superficial responses are more inclined to take the simple route rather than thoroughly considering how to handle a situation. Regular responses also show a lack of imagination. Pick individuals that carefully consider the situation and research the problem well to provide a more detailed response.

4. Problem-oriented mindset

The name says it all: problem-solving interview questions focus on finding a solution rather than dwelling on the challenges. Therefore, if a candidate seems overly focused on the problem rather than finding its solution, they might not be the best fit you're looking for.

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