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

This question has been answered 8 times by professional recruiters and hiring managers. View their answers below.

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.

Admin answer example
"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."
Allergist answer example
"I had been treating a patients asthma for 3 months and had to do extensive research because I couldn't seem to get his symptoms under control. After requesting the patient keep a journal I was able to determine that they were not avoiding their triggers which was impeding on our treatment. We were able to come up with a new plan and control his asthma."
Basic answer example
"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."
Maintenance answer example
"Recently I came across a major plumbing concern in one of our residential buildings. The situation was severe and required more specific expertise than I could offer. I had to call in additional resources. If I come across a problem where I do not personally have a solution, I have no concern calling other industry professionals for assistance."
Manager answer example
"If I cannot come to a solution that feels right I will check in with other leaders whom I work with and, depending on the situation, my business mentor. It's important to check in with those that I admire as they have unique ideas and some have more industry tenure as well."
Retail answer example
"It can be frustrating when a solution does not come fluidly. However, sometimes trying a solution and seeing it fail, will lead you to a lightbulb moment. I am an active person, so I like to walk and talk things out. Usually, as I do that, I don't filter my ideas. This way, something slips out that I would have edited out as "ridiculous" if I were writing down a list. I have found that this free-flowing problem-solving session often leads to the most creative and impactful solutions which I would have nixed from the get-go had another not failed."
Sales answer example
"If I'm stuck on a problem, I try to take some time away from the issue, ideally by taking a step away from the screen and get my blood flowing. Walking away seems to help me get reinvigorated and more creative. I also find it valuable to talk it out with someone, even if that person is not a stakeholder in the situation."
Teacher answer example
"If I am stuck in a rut or can't seem to figure out the best approach, I am fortunate enough that I have so many other tasks and classes that I can focus on. Usually, if I clear my mind and fill it with something else, a great idea hits me when I least expect it. If I am stuck on a problem and cannot take the time to step away, I usually rely on my students to help me shake it off!"

More Interview Questions

View user-submitted Answers

When you cannot seem to find the right solution to a problem, how do you deal?
Recently I faced a problem with regards to the low dissolved oxygen level I was having with my biological treatment. I read books and articles about biological treatment on wastewater and didn't find any significant clue to my problem. I therefore, asked our process control team to help me in generating data per process of my treatment plant. With about 6 months of data, I was able to correlate the problem and found an explanation and solution.
I searched from the internet because the resources is in our hands nowadays why not we use it.
I searched in internet and friends.
I was unsure of the type of process that was calling for and I used the internet and the AWS website to verify and validate that the process would work and using upon my own personal experience. I also went ahead and tried out the process before we went ahead and used it to ensure that process would work and yeild the results that we wanted.
When you asked about my future goal and for that ill see first in myself.
I had trouble with a math problem in synthetic division and looked at my notes for reference.
An operator brought me a drain valve that was failing testing, I inspected the component parts for non-conformance's, however the parts were good. Next, I reviewed the drawing and test procedure and had the operator perform the assembly process as I watched and the test the valve, the valve still failed test. I requested design engineering support, and as team the operator, manufacturing engineer, and design engineer, we concluded that the test procedure was vague and was open for interpretation which the operator thought was a failure. The test procedure was corrected to prevent the issue from returning.
The new programing code that I had to work on had little resources available, to figure out and solve error. I posted my query in many forums and figured it out.
Contact supervisor, then take direction. Report what I did.
Steel strong valves sanad. My job roal maintenance engg. 3yers and 6 month exp.
Ask a specific professional for advice . You can't know everything .
Asking my superior, happens in everydays practises.
I would go and see my team leader and ask what is the best way to deal with it or I would ask a member of the team.
Ask for advice or look up information when a large pipe had blocked and needed to pump out a drain pit to get to the problem.
Ask supervisor for direction or research issue. Dealing with an irate customer.

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