Problem Solved…Or Maybe Not?

Posted in Management Best Practices


Is "Chief Problem Creator" a key position you need to fill?


Didn't think so.


Employers like you want to hire people who solve problems – not create them. Regardless of industry or functional area, hiring managers want employees who can:


  • Look beyond "symptoms" to identify a problem's root cause.
  • Think creatively when a solution is not immediately apparent, rather than giving into frustration.
  • Identify appropriate steps to solve problems.
  • Implement the solutions they design.

Not surprisingly, hiring great people starts with great interview questions and the right assessments. The next time you need to hire a proven problem-solver, try one of these:


Interview questions to gauge problem-solving abilities


Behavioral interview questions operate on a simple principle: a candidate's past behavior is the best predictor of his future behavior. So when interviewing, customize these critical-thinking and problem-solving interview questions to suit your available position:


  • Explain a situation where you faced a complex problem. What did you do?
  • How have you anticipated or prevented problems in the workplace?
  • Have you ever suggested a better way to perform a routine task more efficiently? If so, explain.
  • Tell me about a problem you were unable to solve personally. How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome?

When a candidate responds, look for evidence that they were able to: diagnose the underlying problem; systematically troubleshoot; think creatively to identify potential solutions; persevere through successful implementation; and learn from the experience to ensure it wouldn't happen again.


Assessments to gauge problem-solving abilities


If you don't have the budget for sophisticated hiring assessments, a simple Google search will yield thousands of online resources you can use as a starting point. Here are three examples:


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Tags: Assessing Problem-Solving Skills, interviewing tips, Hiring Problem-Solvers, How To Hire Better, National Employment Agencies, Temp Staffing Agencies, Recruiting, Staffing Companies