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What steps do you take to solve a problem?

13 Answer Examples

By: Rachelle Enns

How to Answer

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.

Professional Answer Examples
Admin
Answer example

"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."

Manager
Answer example

"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."

Marketing
Answer example

"Problem-solving in Marketing can be unique because you have to truly balance the customers' pain point with the solutions that are currently available. Also, some clients like trying new marketing methods and others want to remain conservative, using only tried and true advertising methods, for instance. When I approach a problem, I first identify the personality of the client and their business and research options from there."

Retail
Answer example

"Problem-solving in a retail environment is challenging in the sense that the issue is often something that needs to be fixed immediately, like a faulty product or an upset customer. When faced with a problem, I ask questions first, to ensure that I fully understand the core of the issue. Once I fully understand the core of the problem, I can more easily troubleshoot from there."

Sales
Answer example

"Every customer is different, with unique needs, so when I need to problem-solve, I am often coming across a brand new problem or a different version of a problem I have seen before. Our company is big on chasing the money, and so I have been trained that every solution I choose must have the business' bottom line top of mind. My process is to understand the issue, address who the stakeholders are, and create a solution where everyone feels they won in some small way."

Teacher
Answer example

"Problem-solving in the classroom is a challenge because it is often on the fly. Or, a student will ask a question in a new way and I won't necessarily have the answer! When a problem arises, I like to involve my class, have a brainstorm session, and discuss as a group what we could do. This method turns an issue into a conversation where we have the opportunity to come up with some unique solutions."

Budget Analyst
Answer example

"While solving a problem my first step is to define the problem. Then I gather all the relevant data and examine what could be the cause. I then scale the problem and come up with possible solutions based on the analysis. The next step is always to analyze the solutions and figure out which one could be the best. Then, I make the suggestions to my superiors."

Audio Engineer
Answer example

"I consider myself someone who wants to resolve an issue before asking for help. I first analyze exactly what is wrong, and if I see that it is something I can fix myself, I fix it on my own time. However, I am not afraid to ask for help if it means protecting equipment."

Bacteriologist
Answer example

"One of the things that I do often prepare technical reports and recommendations based upon research outcomes. I had months worth of information and I had a hard time getting started. I created an outline of all my information which helped me stay on track and provide a great product. "

Bacteriology Technician
Answer example

"Before making a decision I think about the problem and ask what the outcome is that I want. I determine who needs to be involved and what steps I need to take in order to get the answers I want."

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Written by:

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: 04/06/2018
Last modified on: 12/23/2018
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