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Top 10 Creative Thinking Interview Questions

Question 1 of 13
When have you had to think outside of the box to solve a problem?
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Question 2 of 13
When have you used an inventive method to stretch company resources beyond the normal level?
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"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."
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.

Specific Career Examples
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 3 of 13
How often do you discuss work with your colleagues in order to think up new systems and styles of working?
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"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."
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.

Specific Career Examples
Admin Example
"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."
Manager Example
"I communicate with my coworkers, subordinates, and supervisor daily. We may not always think up new ideas, but we often discuss "what-if" scenarios."
Marketing Example
"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."
Retail Example
"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 head office. I look forward to working in a more receptive environment soon."
Sales Example
"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."
Teacher Example
"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."
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Question 4 of 13
How do you like to encourage ideas in others?
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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
Specific Career Examples
Sales Example
"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."
Marketing Example
"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."
Manager Example
"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."
Teacher Example
"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."
Retail Example
"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."
Admin Example
"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."
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Question 5 of 13
Tell me about a project you worked on where a conventional approach was not suitable.
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"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 just 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."
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.

Specific Career Examples
Manager Example
"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."
Marketing Example
"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."
Teacher Example
"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."
Retail Example
"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."
Admin Example
"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 barter 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."
Sales Example
"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."
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Question 6 of 13
What ideas have you created in the last year that benefited your current or former employer?
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Question 7 of 13
Would you consider yourself a creative person?
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Question 8 of 13
When have you created a new product or service?
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Question 9 of 13
Outside of work, what type of creative activities do you like to pursue?
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Question 10 of 13
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 11 of 13
When have you taken an existing process and used your own creativity to make it better?
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Question 12 of 13
What is the most creative or innovative project you have worked on?
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Question 13 of 13
When did you come up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company, class, or organization was facing?
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