MockQuestions

Creative Thinking Mock Interview

To help you prepare for your next job interview, here are 15 interview questions focused on your creative thinking and problem-solving skills.

Creative Thinking was written by and updated on August 12th, 2018. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 15

When have you had to think outside of the box to solve a problem?

How to Answer

Talk to the interviewer about a time you had to solve a problem creatively. Your answer doesn't have to be an invention or a tremendous break-through you made in your previous role. Any unexpected decision you made will most likely count as a creative solution. Pick a scenario where you were pleased with the outcome.

Written by Rachelle Enns

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List of 15 Creative Thinking Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1.

    When have you had to think outside of the box to solve a problem?

      How to Answer

      Talk to the interviewer about a time you had to solve a problem creatively. Your answer doesn't have to be an invention or a tremendous break-through you made in your previous role. Any unexpected decision you made will most likely count as a creative solution. Pick a scenario where you were pleased with the outcome.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      1st Answer Example

      "In my current position we saw a decrease in clients due to a local economic downturn. I recommended to our head office that we begin to generate business outside of our region for the first time in many years. They agreed, and the idea turned things around for us that fiscal year."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Admin

      "Last week my computer crashed, and it took IT three hours to recover everything. Feeling lost, I said to myself 'Well, what did they do before computers?' To make the best of my time, I took to the file room and started organizing the physical files."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on August 11th, 2018

      Manager

      "I once had to deal with a space issue in our warehouse. We arranged and re-arranged several times and could not make it work. I thought outside the box and rented some outside pod storage until we were back to normal inventory levels."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Marketing

      "Recently we needed to create a mentorship program for a client. By my suggestion, we decided to engage local thought leaders as well as aspiring leaders. This approach benefited the community as a whole, and our client was delighted with the result."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Retail

      "In retail, a customer will approach you with odd requests from time to time. Recently, I had a customer insist on making a return that wasn't even from our store. They were furious that I would not take the return! It turns out; we were running a promotion where if you spent $50, you received a $25 in-store gift card. I suggested to the customer that they purchase the product, from us, that they initially wanted. They would then receive the $25 in-store gift card, and they could still return the original product to the first store. I turned an angry return to a paying customer!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on August 11th, 2018

      Sales

      "In sales, if you cannot think outside the box, and on the fly, you will not succeed. Recently I had a client who wanted a digital service option thrown in that we did not yet have. It was still in development. To offset his disappointment, I asked him if I could give him three months of the service for free on a trial basis, to help us work out the kinks, would he then be happy. He was thrilled, and we had a real-life test subject."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Teacher

      "As a teacher, I often have to think of alternate ways to teach a lesson when some kids aren't picking up the content. I will always have multi-media resources available for my students to support their learning such as educational computer games and interactive online worksheets."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Community Answer

      "Thinking outside the box is a default in any technology field, and I have had such an opportunity at my last workplace. The organization had limited resources to spend on user tests, so we could not hire a user recruiter agency. My team and I started reaching out to users on LinkedIn and offered our time in exchange for their time for testing a product. It worked so wonderfully that now we have an active user testing community."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a fantastic idea, and what a great way to save on resources while also building up a community. Well done.

  • 2.

    What is the most creative or innovative project you have worked on?

      How to Answer

      We all have the opportunity to perform a creative task, whether we realize it or not. Perhaps you were a receptionist at our previous job, and you creatively organized the company's front desk by using color-coded folders. If you were an accountant, talk about how you restructured the workflow for a client and how it saved you hours of work on their audit.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      1st Answer Example

      "My previous employer wanted to think of ways to generate more attention online and gather a stronger following and more brand recognition. I started an e-newsletter that, after just six months, had over 30,000 subscribers. It was a great success."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Admin

      "I once worked in an office where a primary goal was to reduce our environmental footprint. It was a lot of fun to find new ways to help the environment, and we ended up cutting some costs as well."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Manager

      "Recently I implemented a 'late fund' because my team was consistently running behind. We had a jar, and you had to put $1 in the pot for every minute you were tardy. At the end of the month, I chose a charity to donate the money too. It was lighthearted, but it made my team more aware of their timing and that being late to work, and essential meetings affected everyone."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Marketing

      "I recently worked on a team to create a website for a global powerhouse organization. We sought to find gaps in communications across the organization and bridge those gaps through the new online tool. We were able to shape the structure and make it our own as we saw necessary to fit the needs of the business."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Retail

      "I had the opportunity to join a focus group, initiated by my current company's head office. We had the opportunity to voice our opinion on upcoming lines, colors, and pricing. It was such a great experience, and it made me want to become a buyer, down the road."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on August 11th, 2018

      Sales

      "I recently worked on the launch of a new product that has never been in our market before. The sales team worked alongside the marketing team, and we collaborated more than ever before. I came to appreciate the work that a marketing team does, and got a bit of an itch myself for writing sales copy!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Teacher

      "Luckily for me, I have the opportunity to work with children every day. The minds of these children are so active that you cannot help but be driven to create. Currently, we are using our knowledge of ratios, base, area, and perimeter to make a model scale of our town. I found the idea on YouTube and think it's the most hands-on, creative project that I have had my students participate in so far."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Community Answer

      "The most creative project I have worked on was to assist the Senior ME in my department with the layout design for a new product line."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This answer is a good start! Do you have any more detail to add to bring this project to life for the interviewer?

  • 3.

    When have you taken an existing process and used your own creativity to make it better?

      How to Answer

      Are you given the creative freedom to improve existing processes? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to take an existing process and develop it creatively. If you do not have a work-related example, think back to your time in school.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      1st Answer Example

      "Last month my supervisor asked me to take our existing sales training package and improve it. My goal was to make the system more engaging for recruits. Once we implemented my ideas, we increased our new trainee retention rate by 16%. I was quite proud of what my creativity could do!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Admin

      "I do not go into a position looking to make changes for the sake of change but, as an executive assistant, I do monitor processes and look for ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Recently I switched us to Google calendar so that we could more easily share our time and availability. It was a small tweak, but it changed the game for the executive and me."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Manager

      "There are so many great business practices out there that there is not always a need to reinvent the wheel. I took a "touch base" practice we used to get a pulse of the team and customized it for a field-based corporate sales group to build better relationships with them. It has been effective and fun!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Marketing

      "In marketing, we are always changing processes. I recently changed our morning storyboarding sessions to be verbal downloads where we could talk about our weekends, what the highlights were, and why. I find that my team can be even more creative when they feel a connection with each other. They are less inhibited."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Retail

      "We used to have a 'returns binder' where we had to track all customer returns by hand and then fax the sheet to the head office every Saturday. I felt it was an ancient process so I created Google form that we could email instead. The process was so helpful that my head office incorporated it into every store."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Sales

      "In sales, very few processes are evergreen so great sales professionals are often looking for ways to make a sale happen faster, smoother, or better. I decided to move my call tracking sheet to my phone and download it into Evernote so that I had it with me, even when I wasn't in the office. If I am stuck at a red light, I will try to handsfree call a client from the list. There is no waking opportunity that I want to miss!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Teacher

      "The math textbook provided to me to work out of when I started teaching in this district was incredibly outdated. The photos were from the 1980's and the language used were examples that kids these day's didn't understand. I mean, what is a typewriter, right?! I found an excellent online resource where I could use free worksheets and popular videos. The kids respond much better to this tool."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on August 11th, 2018

      Community Answer

      "When I started managing the Marion clinic, there was a minimal count of inventory of braces and or off the shelf items. I did encourage the chief to authorize more items to be shelved to be dispensed as oppose to waiting at least four weeks for the item to arrive and be fitted following filling the consults.

      After some resistance from the chief, I was able to convince him to stock up the shelves, and it worked out great."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Mary H.

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Mary H. Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great response! Consider adding how the creativity influenced results, like patient satisfaction. See below for edits.

      "When I began managing the Marion clinic, I noticed that patients were often required to wait long periods to receive their braces because of limited inventory count. I encouraged the chief to authorize an increase in items to be shelved, in order to reduce the wait time for patients to be fitted after their consults. His initial reluctance was eliminated after the stocked shelves and reduced wait times (i.e.: 4 weeks down to 3 days) resulted in improved patient satisfaction."

  • 4.

    Tell me about a time when you created a unique idea or solution, and it was rejected by your colleagues. How were you able to bounce back?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know how you handle rejection when you present a solution at work. Putting yourself out there with new ideas can be intimidating, and we all want to be accepted. Talk to the interviewer about how you would handle the feelings that come with having your opinion rejected.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 5.

    Outside of work, what type of creative activities do you like to pursue?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know how you express your creativity, outside of the workplace. A genuinely creative minded person will have outside activities aside from what's happening in the workplace. Tell the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you express your creativity.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 6.

    When have you created a new product or service?

      How to Answer

      Using your creative mind, have you ever introduced an employer to a new product or service opportunity? Talk to the interviewer about a time when you have created a new product or service. If you have not created a new product or service, perhaps you have had a great idea that you presented. You can use an example from school as well if you have just started your career.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on August 11th, 2018

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  • 7.

    Would you consider yourself a creative person?

      How to Answer

      Talk to the interviewer about any interest that you have in creative activities and how you have implemented your creative desires in the workplace. Even if you do not consider yourself to be a 'creative person,' there is a significant change that you have made creative minded decisions in your career.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 8.

    What ideas have you created in the last year that benefited your current or former employer?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know if your creative side has benefitted your employer in any way. Talk to the interviewer about a recent time when you have helped your employer through your creative thinking.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 9.

    Tell me about a project you worked on where a conventional approach was not suitable.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know about a particular project you have worked on where your creativity was required. How have you implemented creativity in the workplace when a conventional approach was not suitable? Display for the hiring manager how you can think outside of the box when necessary.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on August 11th, 2018

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  • 10.

    How do you like to encourage ideas in others?

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  • 11.

    How often do you discuss work with your colleagues in order to think up new systems and styles of working?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know if you discuss creative ideas with your coworkers. Do you use your creative mind with your colleagues to discuss plans and systems in the workplace? Talk to the interviewer about how you have used creative thinking in the workplace.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 12.

    When have you used an inventive method to stretch company resources beyond the normal level?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know about a time when you were creative with company resources. If you have an expense account or resource allowance, it is very respectful to the company to be as thoughtful with that allowance as possible. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you have been able to stretch company resources.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on August 11th, 2018

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  • 13.

    When did you come up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company, class, or organization was facing?

      How to Answer

      With this question, the interviewer is looking at your thought process and your level of logic. Begin by discussing the problem you were trying to solve. Next, consider the data set you used to analyze the problem. Lastly, talk about the recommendation you gave, and the positive outcome of your suggestion.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 14.

    What does the word 'innovation' mean to you?

      How to Answer

      The term 'innovation' is often overused in business these days and has now become a buzzword that many people don't fully understand. The interviewer would like to know what you feel innovation indeed is. Include an example of a time when you have witnessed an innovative change in the workplace, or when you have exercised creativity.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on August 11th, 2018

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  • 15.

    How can we inspire your creative side?

      How to Answer

      If an interviewer asks you any questions related to how they can help you, then you should rejoice! Companies who ask potential employees what they can do for them, are often a flatter organizational structure and often fabulous companies to join. Think of a time when your creative juices were flowing. What were the surroundings, or which resources were available to you? Be sure to thank the interviewer for a question related to your needs!

      Written by Rachelle Enns on August 11th, 2018

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