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Top 15 Creative Thinking Interview Questions

Question 1 of 15
When have you had to think outside of the box to solve a problem?
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Question 2 of 15
What does the word 'innovation' mean to you?
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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.

Answer Example
"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."
Admin Example
"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."
Manager Example
"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."
Marketing Example
"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."
Retail Example
"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."
Sales Example
"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."
Teacher Example
"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."
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Question 3 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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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.

Answer Example
"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."
Admin Example
"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."
Manager Example
"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."
Marketing Example
"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."
Retail Example
"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."
Sales Example
"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%."
Teacher Example
"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."
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Question 4 of 15
When have you used an inventive method to stretch company resources beyond the normal level?
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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.

Answer Example
"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."
Admin Example
"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."
Manager Example
"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."
Marketing Example
"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."
Retail Example
"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."
Sales Example
"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."
Teacher Example
"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."
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Question 5 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 6 of 15
How do you like to encourage ideas in others?
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Question 7 of 15
Tell me about a project you worked on where a conventional approach was not suitable.
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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
Would you consider yourself a creative person?
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Question 10 of 15
When have you created a new product or service?
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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

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Question 11 of 15
Outside of work, what type of creative activities do you like to pursue?
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Question 12 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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Question 13 of 15
When have you taken an existing process and used your own creativity to make it better?
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Question 14 of 15
What is the most creative or innovative project you have worked on?
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Question 15 of 15
How can we inspire your creative side?
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