What are problem solving interview questions?

Problem solving interview questions are the type of questions that allow you to describe your ability to analyze and solve a problem through your intervention to the hiring managers.

Being asked problem solving questions during an interview is quite common if you are applying for roles in IT, engineering, analysis, and other technical job profiles.

The questions that you will come across during your interview will vary in complexity, but the good news is that there isn't necessarily one way or one correct answer to it. Therefore, you can approach the questions in your unique ways.

Let us have a thorough discussion on the following topics:

What Are Problem Solving Interview Questions?

Problem solving interview questions are designed to evaluate how a candidate reacts to stressful environments and unfamiliar situations.

Hiring managers ask problem solving questions to gauge a candidate's approach to analyzing issues and their ability to reach a logical decision. It is used to measure the candidate's core skills and problem solving ability that will benefit the organization.

The interviewers ask these types of questions intending to separate the wheat from the chaff and find the most suitable candidates who can propel the organization's growth.

Problem solving questions are designed to test your technical competencies and ability to process information & solve complex problems.

However, problem solving interview questions vary across industries, so you can never be sure of what you would be asked.

Also Read: How to Answer Most Common Interview Questions?

Tips to Solve Problems at the Workplace

To solve an issue, keep the following points in check:

  • Prioritize only the critical information and ignore the irrelevant information
  • Analyze the situation that caused the problem
  • Understand the nature of the problem before trying to solve it
  • Brainstorm possible course of actions you can undertake
  • Evaluate the potential actions and choose the best option that can solve the problem
  • Implement the plan and assess its effectiveness

The trick is to first identify the issue, its source, and come up with a suitable solution.

If you can validate your ability to resolve problems at the workplace during an interview, the hiring managers would recognize you as an efficient applicant.

What Do Problem Solving Interview Questions Test?

An organization intends to see the steps you take to solve a business problem. The idea behind asking problem solving questions is not just to check if you can answer correctly but to see your approach to solving a complex problem.

Every company encounters problems and challenges; therefore, the major goal of any organization while hiring is to find a solution-oriented candidate who is equipped to deal with problems.

They are constantly looking for candidates who gather information, analyze the situation and make a logical decision that could effectively solve the problem.

You can also come across behavioral questions about the challenges you faced in your past professional experiences, how you dealt with them, and your learning from the experiences.

Let us have a look at the reasons why hiring managers ask problem solving questions:

  • To evaluate if you are a result-oriented person
  • To see your problem solving skills or expertise process
  • To assess your ability to solve a business problem in future

You can use the problem solving interview questions to your advantage, provided you prepare yourself well and convince the recruiter that you are an excellent fit for the job position.

Also Read: Top Interview Questions and Answers in 2022

What to Avoid While Answering Problem Solving Interview Questions

Apart from knowing what to do, you should also be aware of what to avoid while answering problem solving questions during interviews.

  • Avoid exaggerating your answer just to stay relevant
  • Do not skip facts that give meaning to your answers
  • Steer clear of negative comments on your previous company or colleagues

Additionally, you need to make sure that your answers are on track and communicate the professional course of action taken by you to solve an issue.

Tips to Answer Problem Solving Interview Questions

As mentioned earlier, there is no rulebook for answering problem solving questions, but as a professional, you need to be able to communicate your efficiency through them.

Here are some tips to answer any problem solving questions during interviews:

Analyze the Question

Before you answer any problem solving questions, try to understand why the hiring manager is asking them so that you can provide a fitting answer.

You need to understand the underlying intent of the question to ensure that you strategically communicate your problem solving abilities to the hiring managers.

Give Relevant Answers

It is crucial to make your answer relevant to the job position you are applying for.

For instance, if you are applying for a software developer job profile, your answer needs to reflect your potential in designing and developing software.

The employer wants to assess how you react to a stressful situation and if you can be relied upon during a crisis.

Be Honest

You should avoid giving out any false information during an interview to prove your candidacy.

Give an honest reply while making sure that your answer is reflecting your ability to handle any situation or issue in a positive way.

If hiring managers see through your lies, it can backfire. Therefore, it is always recommended to give honest answers.

Portray Yourself as a Strong Team Player

Employers look for a candidate who possesses qualities that allow them to tackle any task with or without guidance.

Providing concrete examples during an interview of how you have dealt with any conflicts at a workplace in your past can be helpful in showcasing your communication and collaborative skills.

Use the problem solving interview questions as an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership skills.


Also Read: What Is Your Leadership Style?

What Are the Examples of Problem Solving Interview Questions?

A few examples of problem solving questions and tips to answering them are mentioned below:

Example 1:

Q1. Describe a situation where you encountered an unexpected problem, and how did you deal with it?

Tip: The hiring manager wants to test your problem solving skills during an unforeseen event. Through your answer, showcase how you planned your course of action and worked as a team rather than acting autonomously.

Example 2:

Q2. How did you overcome a threat in a potential problem, and what was the outcome?

Tip: This question is designed to see if you focus more on opportunities or red flags. Frame your answer to show your ability to see positivity at the time of uncertainty.

Example 3:

Q3. Give an example of a situation where you had to change your course of action at the last moment, and what were the results?

Tip: This question is framed to examine your flexibility and decision-making skills in stressful situations.

Example 4:

Q4. How did you deal with a conflict with a colleague in the workplace?

Tip: This is to analyze how you interact with colleagues during disagreements or disputes and how you overcome differences. Briefly explain the issue constructively and how you resolved it effectively.

Example 5:

Q5. Describe your weakness that you had to overcome as part of improving your performance at work?

Tip: This question is to test your self-awareness. The answer to this question should reflect your willingness to improve by acknowledging your shortcomings.

These tips can help you prepare for creative interview questions. If you are confused about any problem-solving examples, do not hesitate to ask for more information or take some time to process the data and then answer.

Also Read: Data Science Interview Questions

Hiration Interview Preparation

Need to ace the job interview?

Hiration is the one-stop that can help you prepare for an interview and boost your confidence.

You can make use of the following features from Hiration's Interview Preparation:

  • Database of 20,000+ interview questions and sample answers
  • An overview/objective of each question
  • Know what the interviewer is expecting
  • Easy search for job interview questions and answers
  • Job interview Questions and Answers for 150+ work profiles
  • Search for specific questions, key strengths, focus areas... and more
  • Link to additional information for specific job and question

Key Takeaways

  • Ask questions to the hiring manager in case of any doubts and listen to their response actively.
  • Describe your problem-solving process to the interviewer and explain the how and why of your course of action.
  • Provide examples from your past to showcase yourself as a great team player and to exhibit your leadership skills.
  • Make your answers relevant to the job position to display how you can contribute to organizational growth.

Go to Hiration's 360-degree career platform which has 24/7 chat support and get professional assistance with all your job & career-related queries.

You can also write to us at support@hiration.com.

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