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.
"Outside of work I like to attend dance classes and I also attend the odd paint and sip wine nights at a local wine shop. I also enjoy reading as a way of nurturing my creative side."
"As an avid reader, I also explore writing. Cooking is also art for me, and I try to incorporate creativity into the fun meals I prepare for family and friends."
"It's important to me that I do something creative a few times a week so that my interests are vast and not only work-related. I am currently teaching myself PhotoShop. Primarily to put my friends' heads on hilarious photos but either way, it makes me laugh, and I love it."
"Outside of work I love to explore my creative side. I practice photography for fun and take painting and sculpting classes. I do love the arts."
"I am huge into fashion and recently started a fashion page on Instagram. I curate new outfits and create fun fashion-inspired flat lays."
"I have a lot of energy, so I like to bring out my creative side on the weekends by attending local art events, going to the theater, or trying a new paint and sip class."
"I play the violin in a community orchestra and teach private lessons to local kids. This activity is one I have participated in for the past four years."
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.
"In my previous role I was fortunate enough to introduce my company to the idea of a gold level service where, in addition to our general customer service, we added on additional options. Our customer base responded very positively, and we kept the program running for a few years."
"I am newer to my career as an administrative assistant and have not yet found myself comfortable enough to offer a new service idea. I am creative minded, though! As an avid nature lover and lover of cooking, I was tired of carrying all of my cooking tools and equipment in and out of camping sites. I created a Camping Kitchen Kit to hold cooking and serving for up to six people. It is an easy to carry bag that makes life much easier!"
"I created a new service manual for our team, in PDF form, which had infographic styling. Making it easy to read meant that my production team paid better attention to the content inside. I am now working on a manual for our QA team."
"I create new services and product ideas every day! As a content marketer, my brain never sleeps. I am always generating ideas to use now, or in the future."
"I created a Facebook group recently, geared solely to swap clothing. It's a closed group for those interested in specific brands. So far we have over 200 local members!"
"Growing up, a lot of my neighbors had pets. I started a neighborhood dog walking, sitting, and vacation service in high school. It was highly lucrative in the summer. I made some money and helped my neighbors enjoy their vacations. I think this was when my parent knew I was gearing up for a career in sales come adulthood!"
"I recently created a Twitter account for my class so that parents could follow along with us throughout the day, and interact with their kids. We post funny pictures, tweet shout-outs to the parents, and ask questions to educational influencers. It's been a great way to blend education with technology. The kids love it."
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.
"I do consider myself to be a creative individual. One example of this would be the telephone sales scripts that I crafted for our inside sales team. They were lively and effective, and sales increased by 23% in the first 90 days of implementation."
"I am someone who alternates back and forth with the right/left brain, but I will always consider myself a very creative person. I admire the creativity and unconventional thinking in business and arts."
"That's an interesting question for me because I have never considered myself creative in the traditional sense of being artistic. I am, however, a very creative individual when it comes to new ways to motivate my team."
"I consider myself creative! I have had a flair for the arts and thinking outside of the box, ever since I was a child. My mother says I danced before I could walk and I always loved to take on new creative projects."
"Having been a musician all my life, I do believe that I am a creative person. I grew up playing the piano and still practice a couple of times per week."
"I am creative in the sense that I am great at seeing all sides of a negotiation, I can use creativity to close a deal, and I am a solid writer. With that said, give me a paintbrush, and I will have no idea what to do. I suppose creativity comes in all forms!"
"Yes, I do consider myself to be a creative individual. I will often work with my students on hands-on projects. I believe in the use of multi-media to teach, and learn."
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.
"This past year I have benefited my current employer through my creation of a new sales training program for our sales trainees. It simplified the process and made it much easier to teach our new staff."
"I made a couple of recommendations on planning and organizational apps that we have recently incorporated. Most notable were the use of Google Docs and Trello."
"I'm a creator by nature and constantly thinking up new ways to benefit the organization and improve processes. Most recently, I saw a gap in the new hire training and created a practice to teach new team members the information they need to be equipped and successful on the job. We continue to build upon it with training materials and incorporation of top talent into the program as mentors."
"We had a large client who was not loving the marketing plan that our team presented. One weekend it just hit me that they needed a clean, simple brand strategy that spoke to their millennial audience. I storyboarded my ideas and presented them on Monday to my team. We collectively tweaked areas and presented it the following week. The client loved the new strategy."
"I suggested to my employer that we change our inventory system from Excel to a cloud-based program like AssetPanda. We are currently doing some recon to see what programs are most useful and affordable."
"I recommended to my employer that we begin switching to electric company cars as part of our mandate to help the environment. Many of our clients are very involved in environmental sustainability, so it just made sense for us. Soon, we will be replacing all of our company trucks with the Nissan Leaf. It will help our brand but also eliminate the need to give gas cards to all of our territory sales reps."
"This year I incorporated a morning fitness option for students who wanted to become more active. With kids getting so much screen time these days it is important to me that they take the time, every day, to move. Kids have the option of coming to school 20 minutes early every day. I lead them in a variety of stretches, and then we play fun games like dodgeball, soccer, and flag football."
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.
"In 2009 our economy suffered, and a lot of businesses were struggling to keep their doors open. At that time, a conventional approach was to take out additional ads on the radio or TV. Social media was starting to become a major advertising outlet - and it was free. I launched a social media campaign that was very successful. We were able to generate new and repeat business while coming in under our advertising budget."
"As an executive assistant, I often have to pull strings, ask for favors, and assume that no is never an answer that I should take. I will bargain with vendors and come up with highly creative solutions at times to make a plan come together. I love the fast pace of it all and the challenge that comes with supporting a high-level executive."
"I recently worked on a project that was ahead of its time and federal guidelines. If you want to achieve something you never have before, you have to do something you have never done. We took an unconventional approach to federal research and licensing technology through the Office of Technology Transfer in a way never done before. It was a necessary step to achieve the bigger picture."
"I was on a marketing team where we had to alter our processes to meet our customer's environmental impact challenge. We had to completely change the way we built their advertising plan, keeping zero waste in mind. It was a fun challenge where our entire campaign was digital."
"Our company has ten stores total. Head office announced a merchandising contest where we all had to come up with a theme and execute it, in the shop front window. Our team decided to take a very unconventional approach and gained inspiration from Anthropologie's memorable store experiences. Our eclectic style won and we all earned a $50 in-store credit, along with bragging rights."
"A conventional approach is rarely suitable for sales - ever! I love to come up with new ways to get my weekly calls in, and I create new phone scripts for myself to keep things interesting for myself and my clients. The original sales scripts provided to me were not effective or creative, so I chose to make my own."
"I often have to work around very tight budgets where a conventional approach is not even an option. When we need supplies, I will ask the parents if they have items they can donate to the school. I will partner with local businesses to see if they have any items they could donate. And, my friend who owns a bookstore has committed to donating five new children's books per month. It makes for great collaboration and networking in the community."
The interviewer would like to know how you have encouraged others to think creatively. Encouragement to others is a great skill to possess. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to promote creative ideas in your team members. Here are some ways that you can encourage ideas in others: - Get to know them and what they like to work on - Send an encouraging email letting them know you like their plan or ideas - Publicly praise their efforts - If they are doing a great job, offer them more related opportunities - If you are a leader, then tell them that you like their ideas - Say things like 'Well done' or 'Nice work' on a regular basis - Show that you believe in their quality of work before they even deliver it
"I like to encourage ideas in others by sending them nice emails. I am not one to publicly praise someone, primarily because that would embarrass me, but I will send them a quick note of encouragement."
"I like to encourage other people to be creative in their thinking and present ideas to the company, no matter how off the wall they may seem. Some of our most successful employees are ones who are confident in their ability to bring forward their unique ideas. I encourage participation through an open door policy and strong praise for those who show initiative."
"I try to leave crumbs of knowledge and ideas around the office. You know - things that inspire me like magazines, articles, photographs, and even certain music. These are all great ways to spark conversations and get my marketing team thinking."
"When I hire new people for our sales floor or a new cashier, I will heavily encourage them as they are training through kind words. It's amazing how much confidence you can infuse into a new trainee simply by saying "wow, you are learning so fast!" or "I have yet to train someone who catches on as quickly as you."
"I encourage my sales representatives to tap into the best parts of themselves. It helps to ask probing questions to get them to generate ideas on their own. I have found that by painting a long-term vision for where I want to go, my team will often jump in with creative solutions to get us there."
"As a teacher, I have found that by showing my belief in their quality of work before they even deliver it, my students go into a project much more confident."
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.
"I have a policy with my team that if they have an innovative and helpful idea they can bring it to me at any time. If the idea or system is something that I think could work, we then create a plan together to present it to our head office. This policy has generated some powerful ideas in our office over the past three years including a work-share program and some health and safety initiatives."
"I think it is important to discuss work with colleagues in a collaborative nature to encourage all types of ideas to come forth. Often, when people put their heads together, they will create something better than something one individual could have done alone."
"I communicate with my coworkers, subordinates, and supervisor daily. We may not always think up new ideas, but we often discuss "what-if" scenarios."
"My current environment is a collaborative one 99% of the time. Our offices do not have walls, and we often eat lunch together in the boardroom."
"The company which I work for does not have wiggle room for new ideas, or working styles. We are very much mandated to follow scripts and policy to a tee. Our team often wonders how we can better implement certain policies; however, we rarely discuss these as they are not well-received by the head office. I look forward to working in a more receptive environment soon."
"My team collaborates all the time! When one of us closes a huge sale, we send an email to the entire team to let them know how we do it. We can all learn from each other's work methods which are encouraging and helpful."
"Each year at Teacher's Convention we spend two full days learning and attending workshops. I find that after these conventions, myself and my faculty have a new sense of excitement for our jobs and educational styling. This time of year is when we collaborate the most."
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.
"I have recently implemented a schedule that allows for ride-sharing rewards which have cut down on our company's fuel expense by $9000 per month. I am quite proud of this initiative because it is not only financially responsible but also environmentally friendly."
"This is a practice I often utilize to maximize company resources and optimize value to the clients. I recycle a lot of company materials to make the most of our resources. I also do this with people regarding cross-training and sharing understanding across departments."
"In my previous role as floor manager, I saw that we were leaving a lot of "extra" material on the first cut and trimming it later. This method caused a lot of scraps. I implemented a new measurement tool for cutting material more accurately the first time."
"We have many clients who are on a budget. For that reason, I have created an e-guide called "How to Market on Zero Dollars." It's a guide they can follow, with some actionable advice they can implement on their own. It also saves my agency time because we put the onus on our clients to follow these steps on their own."
"I recommended to our head office that we swap from paper bags to cloth bags that we sell. Just like a grocery store, we now offer large canvas totes for $2. They have great designs and are reusable, multi-purpose bags. Some clients complain, but overall, most people love it! This action saved our company $50,000 this year, and we are doing our part for the planet."
"I have started to keep all of my client data in the cloud so that I can access it on my iPad. I have also created fillable PDF's, downloaded DocuSign, and other apps that save me from having to print long forms and documents. It has saved our company money, and I encourage my fellow reps to do the same."
"As you know, public schools do not have a lot of extra funding. One Saturday per month go to the local used bookstore for donations. They now set books aside for me - perhaps books that are not sell-able or repeats on the shelf. It has been a great way to build our library for free. In exchange, I always let our parents know in the e-newsletter, that this bookstore is the place to go for their literary needs as they support literacy for our students."
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.
"I was asked to assess which available project management applications were best for our business. My boss wanted me to narrow it down to three potential purchases, using parameters such as cost, ease of user interface, and customer reviews. I was able to narrow things down for him within two days' time and presented my findings. He went with my #1 recommendation which felt great."
"Our company was not communicating important information effectively to our second and third shift operations. I obtained approval to hang televisions in various places which we connected to a secure computer where I could input all announcements for everyone to see."
"I recently wrapped up an organizational effectiveness survey with my team. I analyzed the results by leader, location, and department then came up with recommendations of how the company can improve trouble areas."
"Bounce rates for our website were at 65%, meaning visitors would visit the blog, but 65% of them would only stay on the page they landed on. I had to analyze their behavior. I found that 80% of visitors never scrolled down to view the rest of the content on the homepage. By analyzing that data, I knew a problem existed at the top of the page. I made a recommendation to the web design team to remove 50% of the graphics and text. This change enticed our visitors to scroll down to view the rest of the content. By removing the clutter, our bounce rate dropped by 15 percent."
"As simple as it sounds, I figured out a better way to distribute breaks across the department. Somehow it had become that the newest hire had to go last, or whenever the more seasoned employees hadn't called "dibs," which is unfair and silly. Now, breaks are on a sliding scale of sales in the previous week. Whoever has the highest % to quota, gets first dibs for the week of when they take their break. This method not only makes it fair for all, but it improves productivity as well."
"Our sales development managers were having a high no-show rate of about 65% for their appointments set across the board. I developed copy for an email template that was sent the day before the meeting. This email was a meeting reminder, but more importantly, it included the "why" of it. Why did they agree to the meeting in the first place? How would we make their life easier? And what was the upside for them? After a month of using the templates, the no-show rate dropped to 42%."
"I bought myself a cart to travel from class to class. Sounds silly and rudimentary, but it's super effective. When the school population grew, they needed my classroom for a core subject, so I've been running from class to class teaching lessons all over the school. The cart has been great. I load up what I need for that grade and zip between classrooms. Other teachers that have lost their classrooms have also started using this method."
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.
"To me, innovation means presenting a new idea or making an existing idea better. It's important to be innovative in the workplace, but often it's a misunderstood concept. An example of when I was innovative was when our company was facing budget cuts. I suggested that we begin to operate as though the cuts were already made, in an attempt to preemptively save funds. The concept worked well, and we were able to eliminate many unnecessary expenditures."
"Innovation means introducing a new process, or breakthrough in the workplace. A time when I have been innovative was when I built a new tracking system in our company's CRM. I wanted to create a more accurate way to track projects with a simple option for our sales team to update the project stage. The owner of the company loved my creation, and now it's implemented company-wide."
"I encourage my team to be innovative by asking the impossible of themselves, and their coworkers. We will get together once per week and bring up situations that we think are out of our scope and then reverse engineer these ideas to see how we could go about putting them into action. To me, this is being innovative in the workplace."
"This year I introduced a virtual idea box to my agency, as a way to encourage creative ideas from our employees and freelancers. This initiative is a concept that we have now introduced to our clients. This 'idea box' allows for anonymous, or named, employees and even clients to give their two cents without feeling the pressure of brainstorm meetings. To me, innovation can mean taking existing ideas and transforming them to make them work for today's digital age."
"The store where I currently work had a lot of trouble with selling add-on products. I did some research and learned how to better merchandise for our store layout. From there, I made a presentation to the owners to show how we could better position the products and encourage add-on items near the checkout. This merchandising idea is not a new concept; however, I altered it slightly to be a concept that would interest the store owners and still work with their design concept."
"I believe there are many opportunities to be innovative in a sales environment. To me, innovation is transforming a concept or introducing a breakthrough. Last year I introduced new types of sales scripts that incorporated NLP, or neuro-linguistic programming, concepts. The scripts were well-received by the leaders in my organization."
"In my classroom, I introduced the 'innovation awards' for my students. We take the science concepts that we have learned through the year and then host a competition. The kids can have their ideas and run with them. I believe that innovation is the conceptualization of new ideas and revolutions, all of which are important to encourage in students."
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!
"I appreciate your concern for my needs! The best way to inspire my creative side is to provide me with the space that I need to work. I come up with my best ideas when I can brainstorm and work through my ideas on paper, or on my computer."
"I appreciate you asking this question! I tend to concentrate heavily on my work, and sometimes I forget to take breaks. If you can encourage me to take my breaks to refresh my mind, I can create some excellent and creative work!"
"It's great that you are concerned with the creativity of your employees. I encourage creativity in my team by asking them to bring me their ideas - fun, weird, challenging, and clever. All of them! If you can do the same for me, that is when I am at my creative best."
"Thank you for asking! For me, a flexible work schedule and a moveable workspace are all factors that allow me to be at my most creative. For instance, in my current role, we can start late and stay late, or come in early to have a quiet coffee and get our day going. Also, I am not chained to one specific desk. Our workspaces flow all throughout the office."
"I love to exercise my creativity, so - thank you for asking! I am at my best, creatively speaking when a team mentality is encouraged. This mentality could mean group huddles at the beginning of the day, group coffee breaks, or after-work drinks."
"I am my most creative when I have the resources that I need to get my job done. These resources could mean technological, or even access to a mentor, and continued education opportunities. Thanks for asking! I highly value creative ideas in the workplace."
"I realize that the public school system has limited resources; however, one of the best ways that I get my creativity flowing is through mixed media and other visual aids. I like to introduce these aids into my classroom for my students and encourage their creativity, in return."