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!"