Careers
Companies
Topics
Get Started
Interview Coach 1:1
Gain the confidence you need by asking our professionals any interview scenario, question, or answer you are unsure about.
Let Us Review Your Answers
Our interviewing professionals will gladly review and revise any answer you send us. Allowing you to craft perfect responses for your next job interview.
Interview Questions by Topic
Interview Questions by Career
Interview Questions by Company

Problem Solving Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 25

After you implement a solution to a problem, how do you test the effectiveness of that solution?

1000s of Interview Questions

Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.

Problem Solving Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    After you implement a solution to a problem, how do you test the effectiveness of that solution?

      The interviewer wants to see that you have strong follow-through skills and the ability to use data and analytics to support your decisions. The only way to test the effectiveness of a new solution is to keep a close eye on the immediate, and often longer-term, results!

      Depending on the situation, you can use data, run reports, and compare/contrast your findings. If you have records of the data before your problem-solving solution, you can track the results of your new solution and analyze in a month, or beyond.

      It can take time to see the results, so having a method for measuring them is essential. Give an example of a time you implemented a solution and found a way to measure the results to check its efficacy.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Last year, our company was having a very high rate of turnover due to employee burnout during overtime hours worked. I implemented a third shift which alleviated the need for excessive overtime. Yes, it did increase our payroll costs by 33%; however, it decreased our turnover which was costing us more and more every year. From the analytics I have been watching, the change will pay for itself by the end of year two."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "One solution that I recently implemented was the use of Google calendar with the executive that I support. She was rarely updating her Outlook calendar because she found it to be too difficult to do on her smartphone. Since this implementation, we have minimized our crossed wires significantly! I have measured the effectiveness of this new calendar strategy by marking down any appointments that need to be rescheduled. So far, for the month, the number of reschedules is down by 80%."

      View answer examples for this question >

  2. 2.

    How do you prioritize multiple projects when they all seem equally important?

      Prioritizing is a skill that requires practice. There are many approaches you can take. Here are some suggestions:

      1) Make a list. By thinking through and writing down each item that needs completion, you can see it on paper.
      2) Mark what is urgent or essential. Take into account deadlines and meetings.
      3) Order each task based on effort and estimated value.
      4) Consider due dates and how long it will take to do each item.

      When answering this question, show the interviewer that you have a system in place that helps you to think through what needs to happen, and when. The better you can prioritize, the more productive you will be, making you an asset to their company!

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I aim to be as effective and efficient as possible and make sure I can use all minutes of a day for a project. I have a few things going at once most of the time. I am the lead on some, the delegator on others, and the reviewer on another, for instance. This way, by splitting up the work to the appropriate parties, both my team and I can be the most efficient with our time."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I often have multiple projects due at a time, since I am the assistant to three different executives. I ask my executives to rank their need from 1-5 in the level of urgency, including its due date. I start my work on that list. If there is more than one urgent need, I will work overtime, or through my lunch, to ensure that I deliver everything on time."

      View answer examples for this question >

  3. 3.

    Tell me about a time where you had to analyze a set of data and then make a recommendation.

      Talk about your attention to detail and sharp focus when it comes to data and statistics. You may not consider yourself a highly analytical person. However, this is a skill that you have indeed exercised in the past.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I worked for a financial firm last year and had a client who was looking for investment recommendations. I gathered data on the stocks they were interested in, sorting through 12-month trends and further historical data to determine the most promising returns. The client was happy with my findings, and my manager was quite impressed with the research that I conducted."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My boss recently asked me to make a case for Oracle on Demand versus SAP Business ByDesign. Our business was growing so fast, and we needed a new CRM fast. I called both companies who took me through a webinar and a couple of online tutorials. I then gathered the data and made an informative PowerPoint presentation. My boss was very impressed with how thorough I was, and I was happy to learn something new!"

      View answer examples for this question >

  4. 4.

    In your opinion, what makes you a great problem solver?

      Employers want to know that you have a methodical approach to problem-solving. Consider the skills and qualities that help you successfully face problems. Perhaps you have a keen eye for detail. Maybe you can see opportunity when others can only focus on the issue. Share your strengths as a problem solver, and your ability to come up with innovative solutions.

      Strong problem solvers are:

      - Systematic thinkers
      - Open minded
      - Okay with being wrong sometimes
      - Always researching and exploring
      - Able to identify the core problem
      - Able to reverse engineer a challenge to avoid future issues
      - Able to come up with multiple avenues that work well for all stakeholders
      - Are do-ers and not worriers

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I am a great problem solver because I can compartmentalize all aspects of a problem before studying it. I also like to bring more experienced team members in to add to the solution. I will never try to be a hero and solve a complicated problem without tapping into the resources around me."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "What makes me a great problem solver is that I have a keen ability to research, read, and explore so that my recommendations are based on fact and study rather than guesses."

      View answer examples for this question >

  5. 5.

    How do you deal with distracting coworkers who stand in the way of your progress?

      Even the most well-meaning coworkers can distract you from getting things done at work from time to time. The funny and entertaining coworkers who like to chat online and send YouTube videos are often the ones who can get in the way of your productivity if you let them. How do you respond? Show off your ability to set professional boundaries, when needed.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I typically just set a kind, but clear, boundary and tell my coworker that I need to focus. I will offer an alternate time for a catch-up, over lunch for example. It is important for the sake of workplace culture to set aside time to be social with coworkers, so I usually just let them know when I'll be available for a quick break in the day."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I understand working relationships are significant, and I'm sure to make time for them so that I can be useful but also enjoy myself at work. With that said, I know where these relationships fall regarding prioritization of my day. I make sure that others know that, too, without being off-putting."

      View answer examples for this question >

  6. 6.

    When faced with a problem, how do you decide on the best solution?

      There may be more than one solution to a problem, and the interviewer would like to know how you make a final choice when you're in a situation like that. Effectively comparing and contrasting, or weighing the pros and cons, is essential when choosing the best way to solve a problem. The interviewer wants to see that you are capable when it comes to calculating risk vs. reward. Think about a time when you have compared the risk and reward to a potential solution.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "If I have a problem with multiple solutions, I always go back to the classic pros vs. cons method. I fully understand that although no solution is perfect, and some solutions offer lesser sacrifice while others pose potential loss. I have been trained to take the solution that is 'closest to the money' which means that if I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, I will choose the solution that is most beneficial to the company's bottom line."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "When it comes to problem-solving, I will always weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. I will also bounce my thoughts off of some co-workers if I still feel conflicted after that."

      View answer examples for this question >

  7. 7.

    What steps do you take when you have to make an immediate decision without all the relevant information?

      Sometimes we have to make decisions without all of the pertinent information at our fingertips. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of taking educated guesses and that you are confident enough in your abilities that you can make a firm decision without all pieces of the problem being present.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "When I need to decide without all of the information, I weigh the pros and cons and come up with a solution that makes the most sense. Common sense can take you a long way! Next, I may ask the opinion of someone I trust to see what they think. Even though I trust my decision-making ability, I still think it's important to get a second opinion when it comes to situations involving money or decisions that make a significant impact on others."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Being organized, I do have a checklist that I follow on all policy-related decisions and changes. If I do not have all necessary information to make an important decision, I can usually find answers in our company resource database, or I will consult an administrator more tenured than I."

      View answer examples for this question >

  8. 8.

    Tell me about the most challenging aspect of your previous job. How did you overcome it?

      Sometimes the most significant workplace challenge is a difficult task that puts you outside of your comfort zone. It could be something that requires skills you haven't mastered yet or qualities where you are not the strongest. Explain to the interviewer why it was difficult but be sure to spend more time highlighting the actions you took to overcome the challenge.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "The most challenging aspect of my last job was troubleshooting some of the older technology. We needed some serious upgrades, but they weren't in the budget. Learning how to work around this problem was quite a challenge, but I learned how by referring to old manuals and online forums. I ended up to become one of the stronger users of this program, in our entire office! I quickly became the go-to person when anyone had questions about the technology."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "In my current role, we have global offices that span four time zones. It is an incredible challenge to be continually calculating the difference in my mind when I call or email on updates for projects, for instance. I now have each locations time added to my desktop, my smartphone, and four individual clocks on my wall. These small and inexpensive changes made all the difference."

      View answer examples for this question >

  9. 9.

    Tell me about a time when you failed to solve a problem. How did you overcome the failure?

      'Success is bouncing from failure to failure without losing momentum,' or so they say. Your resilience shines through when you can learn from your mistakes and keep going. Give an example that shows you can accept fault and learn from challenging experiences.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I failed to meet an important deadline in my first job out of college because I didn't know how to prioritize properly. I kept letting other menial tasks get in the way rather than focusing on finishing the project. I learned how to manage my time wisely by setting reasonable goals and reminders on my calendar. This technique helped me to manage my time more effectively."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "Last month we were having issues with our GoToMeeting application, and it was right before a major client meeting. I was on a call with the service provider, trying to troubleshoot and unfortunately, did not deliver a fix on time. After the initial frustration, I decided to talk to my boss about having backups in place. Now, we have Skype, and Google Hangouts set up for these emergency situations."

      View answer examples for this question >

  10. 10.

    Give me a recent example of a valuable lesson you learned from a problem you faced at work.

      One of the best aspects of problem-solving is that you always have the opportunity to learn from the experience. Seeing problems as opportunities to grow, is what makes you an excellent employee! Show the interviewer that you can learn valuable lessons when there is a problem at hand. Use a work-related example, if you can.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Last month our sales team was facing a major challenge when we lost one of our primary distributors. I took action and started cold-calling, other potential distributors. I brainstormed with my team in some other ways that we could avoid a negative impact on our bottom line. We were quite successful in our recovery, and I would say that the biggest lesson I learned from the experience is that you are often only successful if you have motivated people in your corner."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "The most valuable lesson I learned from problem-solving at work is that not everyone will see your solution as the best one. Accepting change is difficult for some people, so I have found that not everyone will be on board right away."

      View answer examples for this question >

  11. 11.

    When it comes to problem solving, are you a strong collaborator?

      Show off your teamwork skills by giving an example of when you successfully collaborated with your coworkers. Be sure to demonstrate how you communicated your thoughts or opinions. Highlight how your contributions, or ability to ask for help, made a difference. Explain how you are a team player who enjoys working alongside others.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "Last month, I recruited a couple of coworkers to help me solve a problem for a client. We were looking at their financials, but something didn't add up, and I didn't have the analysis background that these two co-workers had. Together we molded our areas of expertise and created a bulletproof financial plan for our client. I enjoyed the collaboration and would do it again in a heartbeat."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I am most certainly a strong collaborator! Being an executive assistant, I am often in need of strong collaboration to complete a project for the VP who I support. I love learning new things from my coworkers and those who I report to."

      View answer examples for this question >

  12. 12.

    When you cannot seem to find the right solution to a problem, how do you deal?

      Sometimes, problems just seem too impossible to solve, at first glance. Your creative problem-solving skills may be at a stand-still from time to time, and the interviewer wants to know how you deal with that.

      Taking a brief break and stepping away from the problem can help you to see things from a different perspective. When you are in a rut, you can waste time plugging away at something, resulting in a decline in productivity. Discuss with the interviewer how you handle being in a rut like this.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "If I am stuck on a particular problem, I will take a break from trying to figure out what's wrong and ask a coworker for advice. Getting another person's perspective when you start to feel like you're hitting a wall can help one to see a problem with a fresh set of eyes. As humans, sometimes we overthink! The biggest hurdle can be asking for help, and I am not above asking for help when I'm stuck."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "If time allows - I will sleep on it! When faced with tough decisions where an answer does not come to me easily, I will take a moment to feel the issue out. When necessary I will also bring in the opinion of the administrators in a different department."

      View answer examples for this question >

  13. 13.

    What steps do you take to solve a problem?

      The interviewer would like to know that you understand the importance of taking calculated steps when problem-solving in the workplace. Most candidates want to sound like go-getters, and their first instinct would be to say that they jump right in. Jumping right in can cause costly mistakes and oversights. Assure the interviewer that you will workshop the issue before diving in!

      Here are some steps to take:

      1. Identify The Problem. Proper problem solving involves ensuring that you are very clear on the nature of the problem. Be sure that you fully understand the core of the problem before trying to repair it.

      2. Identify The Stakeholders. Ask yourself, what the best case resolution will be for all stakeholders, not just for yourself. Ask yourself what is best for the company, your coworkers, and your clients.

      3. List Your Options. The third step is to figure out what your options are when it comes to your course of action. Write them down if you need to.

      4. Evaluate Your Options. Take a look at your list of potential actions and see if you can solve the problem using just one, or a blend of them.

      5. Execute! Finally, execute your well-researched action plan. Be sure to set up a follow-up time to ensure that your solution worked.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "When I need to solve a problem, I first stop to ensure that I understand the issue at hand. Once I do, I will think of potential fixes and the pros and cons of each. Whichever solution or a blend of solutions is best for the customer; I will choose that option."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "My current company is very team-focused, and we train everyone to problem-solve with "what is best for team morale" being the question at hand. I have been with the company for twelve years so most problems I have a pretty clear idea of what will work for us, but when I need to workshop an idea, I will call in my team and have a brainstorm session."

      View answer examples for this question >

  14. 14.

    What do you think might be the greatest challenges faced in this job? How will you overcome these challenges?

      Even though it may seem like a dream job, the interviewer wants to know that you have realistic expectations of the role and that you will not be blindsided if problems or challenges present themselves. Keep your answer simple. It is okay to ask for clarification on the position if you do not fully understand what challenges are in store for you.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "I think the greatest challenges in this role will be to learn the proper operation of the equipment. Another challenge will be the physical aspect of the position as I will be required to stand and walk around most of the day. I will be sure to pay keen attention to training and ask questions along the way. In regards to the physical component - I will get used to the additional activity after just a couple of days, I'm sure."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I believe that the greatest challenge in this job will be to learn the ins and outs of your systems. I am familiar with SAP; however, will need to navigate some modules that will be new to me. If you don't mind, I would like to gain a head start on these by studying online for the next weekend or so."

      View answer examples for this question >

  15. 15.

    Tell me about a time when your analysis of a problem was deemed to be incorrect. What would you have done differently?

      Everyone makes mistakes when analyzing a situation. The interviewer isn't concerned with perfection; instead, they want to know how you deal the aftermath of rejection! Sometimes you can't correct your mistakes, but you can certainly learn from them. Highlight your ability to learn from your mistakes and move on, professionally.

      Rachelle's Answer #1

      "It was my first job as a physician's assistant, and I was trying to diagnose a patient who had severe pain in her abdomen. After running some tests, the doctor and I believed she was suffering from a gallbladder problem. We treated her, but she came back to the ER a week later. It turned out she had a problem with her pancreas. Even though we misdiagnosed her initially, we were able to use this mistake to help us identify the real problem. I've learned that sometimes making a mistake is a part of the process of solving a more complicated problem."

      Rachelle's Answer #2

      "I was asked recently to work on balancing an accounts receivable report. Math is not my strongest suit; however, I was confident in my ability to make it happen. Through a bit of research, I carefully worked on the document and was quite proud of my result. It turns out, I skipped a few important steps, and my work was, in fact, incorrect. I took it as a learning opportunity but also realized that my strengths are in other areas of business. I should have asked for the project to be placed with someone else, but I do not regret trying."

      View answer examples for this question >

  16. 16.

    Tell me about a time when you discovered a problem and went beyond regular expectations to fix it.

      View All 25 Problem Solving Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  17. 17.

    When a problem requires a quick solution, how do you respond?

      View All 25 Problem Solving Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  18. 18.

    What sources do you look to when you need to solve a complicated problem?

      View All 25 Problem Solving Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  19. 19.

    Tell me about the most challenging problem you have encountered in your professional career.

      View All 25 Problem Solving Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  20. 20.

    When a major problem arises, what is your first reaction?

      View All 25 Problem Solving Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  21. 21.

    Tell me about a time when you had to troubleshoot to solve a problem.

      View All 25 Problem Solving Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  22. 22.

    When faced with a problem, are you more likely to jump into solving it, or are you the type to carefully assess the issue first?

      View All 25 Problem Solving Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  23. 23.

    Tell me about a recurring problem that you run into in your current position, and how you handle it.

      View All 25 Problem Solving Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  24. 24.

    When change occurs in the workplace, it can create new problems. Do you see these as inconvenient problems, or opportunities to learn?

      View All 25 Problem Solving Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  25. 25.

    Rate your problem solving skills from 1-10. How do you justify your rating?

      View All 25 Problem Solving Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.