Interview: Problem Solving Questions

  By Melanie Korn

Category: Articles

While many interviewers tend to assess a candidate on a more emotional level in the first few minutes of meeting you want to go beyond your “gut instinct” and have a more quantifiable means of evaluating each candidate. Take the time to organize and be prepared with a list of questions that will be asked during the interview.

You can prepare a list of questions centered on the key competencies you’ve defined for your ideal candidate and you will want to use a variety of techniques to learn as much as possible including open-ended questions behavioral questions and periods of silence to gauge the candidate’s responses to each interview questions fall into several main categories.

One of these categories of important questions to ask included, problem-solving questions

Problem-solving questions pose specific situations relevant to the position and ask the candidate how he would react so you can gain an understanding of the candidate’s thought process You can get a good feel for how resourceful and creative a candidate is with problem-solving questions

Examples of situational questions include:

  • How would you deal with an irate customer?
  • You find that project/product XYZ is behind schedule How do you step up the team?

Some companies go so far as to use brain teasers or riddles to evaluate a candidate’s approach to situations.

Regardless of what type of problem-solving questions you pose you can expect a good candidate to:

  • Assess and appreciate the scope of the problem
  • Communicate assumptions
  • Demonstrate quantitative analytical skills

Address the question asked (You might make note if the candidate gets lost in the analysis and solves for a different question than what was asked.

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