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Creative Thinking Interview Questions

15 Creative Thinking Interview Questions
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.

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."
Admin Example
"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."
Manager Example
"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."
Marketing Example
"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."
Retail Example
"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!"
Sales Example
"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."
Teacher Example
"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."
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Question 2 of 15
What is the most creative or innovative project you have worked on?
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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.

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."
Admin Example
"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."
Manager Example
"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."
Marketing Example
"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."
Retail Example
"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."
Sales Example
"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!"
Teacher Example
"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."
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Question 3 of 15
When have you taken an existing process and used your own creativity to make it better?
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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.

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!"
Admin Example
"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."
Manager Example
"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!"
Marketing Example
"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."
Retail Example
"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."
Sales Example
"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!"
Teacher Example
"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."
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Question 4 of 15
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?
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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.

Answer Example
"A couple of years ago I made a recommendation for scheduling that would have included some split shifts. The result was less overtime and reduced expenses for the company. My colleagues were unhappy with the idea of split shifts. I was able to see their perspective which made it much easier to bounce back from the rejection. My overall attitude is, you win some - you lose some!"
Admin Example
"I recently asked my boss if we could implement a couple of workplace planning tools that would make it easier for myself to connect with the cross-departmental teams. I was already familiar with the tool, from using in a previous role. However, my boss prefers to run the business very lean and does not want to spend any money. It was unfortunate, but I understand that some people simply like things how they are."
Manager Example
"I am often creating unique solutions or ideas in the workplace. Last year we launched an employee satisfaction survey. After reading the results, it was clear to me the work that needed to take place. We needed to train our associates better, and further equip our leaders with best practices to ensure their team's success. I suggested implementing them right away. Leadership rejected the ideas citing they wanted them to keep process simple. We did end up implementing some of the ideas over time. It was a learning experience for me on how to better gain buy-in from my peers before introducing new ideas."
Marketing Example
"At times I will have funny slogan ideas that I think we could incorporate into a project. I keep a little notebook full of weird ideas. Some of them stick, and some of them do not. This life is one of a marketing professional!"
Retail Example
"I once requested a 'suggestion box' when we experienced high turnover and employee morale issues. Ironically, management rejected my suggestion. The leadership team thought it would just turn into a complaint box. I was disappointed, but I did not let that deter me from continuing in my pursuit to help find a solution to our turnover issue. Instead, I verbally checked in with the employees, creating a safe place for them to provide feedback and suggestions."
Sales Example
"I asked my boss if we could change the sales script slightly, as some of the wording was outdated. Unfortunately, he was offended, since he wrote the script....twenty years ago. I didn't take it to heart, as he's a bit old school; however, I am hoping that he will let the idea simmer and revisit it at a later time."
Teacher Example
"Hoping to take my class to the museum to see a recent art installation I recently put in a request for a class field trip. The principal felt that the school could not justify the cost compared to the learning opportunity. I was disappointed because I knew it would be an excellent experience for the students. As a workaround, I sent a memo to the parents notifying them of this new exhibition, and how it related to our current social studies topic, in the hopes, they would take their children on the weekend."
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Question 5 of 15
Outside of work, what type of creative activities do you like to pursue?
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Question 6 of 15
When have you created a new product or service?
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Question 7 of 15
Would you consider yourself a creative person?
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Question 8 of 15
What ideas have you created in the last year that benefited your current or former employer?
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Question 9 of 15
Tell me about a project you worked on where a conventional approach was not suitable.
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Question 10 of 15
How do you like to encourage ideas in others?
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Creators of Creative Thinking Answers and Questions

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
First written on: 01/07/2017
Last modified on: 08/11/2018
Question 11 of 15
How often do you discuss work with your colleagues in order to think up new systems and styles of working?
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Question 12 of 15
When have you used an inventive method to stretch company resources beyond the normal level?
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Question 13 of 15
When did you come up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company, class, or organization was facing?
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Question 14 of 15
What does the word 'innovation' mean to you?
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Question 15 of 15
How can we inspire your creative side?
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