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26 Good Examples of Problem Solving (Interview Answers)
By Biron Clark
Published: November 15, 2023
Employers like to hire people who can solve problems and work well under pressure. A job rarely goes 100% according to plan, so hiring managers will be more likely to hire you if you seem like you can handle unexpected challenges while staying calm and logical in your approach.
But how do they measure this?
They’re going to ask you interview questions about these problem solving skills, and they might also look for examples of problem solving on your resume and cover letter. So coming up, I’m going to share a list of examples of problem solving, whether you’re an experienced job seeker or recent graduate.
Then I’ll share sample interview answers to, “Give an example of a time you used logic to solve a problem?”
It is the ability to identify the problem, prioritize based on gravity and urgency, analyze the root cause, gather relevant information, develop and evaluate viable solutions, decide on the most effective and logical solution, and plan and execute implementation.
Problem-solving also involves critical thinking, communication , listening, creativity, research, data gathering, risk assessment, continuous learning, decision-making, and other soft and technical skills.
Solving problems not only prevent losses or damages but also boosts self-confidence and reputation when you successfully execute it. The spotlight shines on you when people see you handle issues with ease and savvy despite the challenges. Your ability and potential to be a future leader that can take on more significant roles and tackle bigger setbacks shine through. Problem-solving is a skill you can master by learning from others and acquiring wisdom from their and your own experiences.
It takes a village to come up with solutions, but a good problem solver can steer the team towards the best choice and implement it to achieve the desired result.
Watch: 26 Good Examples of Problem Solving
Examples of problem solving scenarios in the workplace.
- Correcting a mistake at work, whether it was made by you or someone else
- Overcoming a delay at work through problem solving and communication
- Resolving an issue with a difficult or upset customer
- Overcoming issues related to a limited budget, and still delivering good work through the use of creative problem solving
- Overcoming a scheduling/staffing shortage in the department to still deliver excellent work
- Troubleshooting and resolving technical issues
- Handling and resolving a conflict with a coworker
- Solving any problems related to money, customer billing, accounting and bookkeeping, etc.
- Taking initiative when another team member overlooked or missed something important
- Taking initiative to meet with your superior to discuss a problem before it became potentially worse
- Solving a safety issue at work or reporting the issue to those who could solve it
- Using problem solving abilities to reduce/eliminate a company expense
- Finding a way to make the company more profitable through new service or product offerings, new pricing ideas, promotion and sale ideas, etc.
- Changing how a process, team, or task is organized to make it more efficient
- Using creative thinking to come up with a solution that the company hasn’t used before
- Performing research to collect data and information to find a new solution to a problem
- Boosting a company or team’s performance by improving some aspect of communication among employees
- Finding a new piece of data that can guide a company’s decisions or strategy better in a certain area
Problem Solving Examples for Recent Grads/Entry Level Job Seekers
- Coordinating work between team members in a class project
- Reassigning a missing team member’s work to other group members in a class project
- Adjusting your workflow on a project to accommodate a tight deadline
- Speaking to your professor to get help when you were struggling or unsure about a project
- Asking classmates, peers, or professors for help in an area of struggle
- Talking to your academic advisor to brainstorm solutions to a problem you were facing
- Researching solutions to an academic problem online, via Google or other methods
- Using problem solving and creative thinking to obtain an internship or other work opportunity during school after struggling at first
You can share all of the examples above when you’re asked questions about problem solving in your interview. As you can see, even if you have no professional work experience, it’s possible to think back to problems and unexpected challenges that you faced in your studies and discuss how you solved them.
Interview Answers to “Give an Example of an Occasion When You Used Logic to Solve a Problem”
Now, let’s look at some sample interview answers to, “Give me an example of a time you used logic to solve a problem,” since you’re likely to hear this interview question in all sorts of industries.
Example Answer 1:
At my current job, I recently solved a problem where a client was upset about our software pricing. They had misunderstood the sales representative who explained pricing originally, and when their package renewed for its second month, they called to complain about the invoice. I apologized for the confusion and then spoke to our billing team to see what type of solution we could come up with. We decided that the best course of action was to offer a long-term pricing package that would provide a discount. This not only solved the problem but got the customer to agree to a longer-term contract, which means we’ll keep their business for at least one year now, and they’re happy with the pricing. I feel I got the best possible outcome and the way I chose to solve the problem was effective.
Example Answer 2:
In my last job, I had to do quite a bit of problem solving related to our shift scheduling. We had four people quit within a week and the department was severely understaffed. I coordinated a ramp-up of our hiring efforts, I got approval from the department head to offer bonuses for overtime work, and then I found eight employees who were willing to do overtime this month. I think the key problem solving skills here were taking initiative, communicating clearly, and reacting quickly to solve this problem before it became an even bigger issue.
Example Answer 3:
In my current marketing role, my manager asked me to come up with a solution to our declining social media engagement. I assessed our current strategy and recent results, analyzed what some of our top competitors were doing, and then came up with an exact blueprint we could follow this year to emulate our best competitors but also stand out and develop a unique voice as a brand. I feel this is a good example of using logic to solve a problem because it was based on analysis and observation of competitors, rather than guessing or quickly reacting to the situation without reliable data. I always use logic and data to solve problems when possible. The project turned out to be a success and we increased our social media engagement by an average of 82% by the end of the year.
Answering Questions About Problem Solving with the STAR Method
When you answer interview questions about problem solving scenarios, or if you decide to demonstrate your problem solving skills in a cover letter (which is a good idea any time the job description mention problem solving as a necessary skill), I recommend using the STAR method to tell your story.
STAR stands for:
It’s a simple way of walking the listener or reader through the story in a way that will make sense to them. So before jumping in and talking about the problem that needed solving, make sure to describe the general situation. What job/company were you working at? When was this? Then, you can describe the task at hand and the problem that needed solving. After this, describe the course of action you chose and why. Ideally, show that you evaluated all the information you could given the time you had, and made a decision based on logic and fact.
Finally, describe a positive result you got.
Whether you’re answering interview questions about problem solving or writing a cover letter, you should only choose examples where you got a positive result and successfully solved the issue.
Situation : We had an irate client who was a social media influencer and had impossible delivery time demands we could not meet. She spoke negatively about us in her vlog and asked her followers to boycott our products. (Task : To develop an official statement to explain our company’s side, clarify the issue, and prevent it from getting out of hand). Action : I drafted a statement that balanced empathy, understanding, and utmost customer service with facts, logic, and fairness. It was direct, simple, succinct, and phrased to highlight our brand values while addressing the issue in a logical yet sensitive way. We also tapped our influencer partners to subtly and indirectly share their positive experiences with our brand so we could counter the negative content being shared online. Result : We got the results we worked for through proper communication and a positive and strategic campaign. The irate client agreed to have a dialogue with us. She apologized to us, and we reaffirmed our commitment to delivering quality service to all. We assured her that she can reach out to us anytime regarding her purchases and that we’d gladly accommodate her requests whenever possible. She also retracted her negative statements in her vlog and urged her followers to keep supporting our brand.
What Are Good Outcomes of Problem Solving?
Whenever you answer interview questions about problem solving or share examples of problem solving in a cover letter, you want to be sure you’re sharing a positive outcome.
Below are good outcomes of problem solving:
- Saving the company time or money
- Making the company money
- Pleasing/keeping a customer
- Obtaining new customers
- Solving a safety issue
- Solving a staffing/scheduling issue
- Solving a logistical issue
- Solving a company hiring issue
- Solving a technical/software issue
- Making a process more efficient and faster for the company
- Creating a new business process to make the company more profitable
- Improving the company’s brand/image/reputation
- Getting the company positive reviews from customers/clients
Every employer wants to make more money, save money, and save time. If you can assess your problem solving experience and think about how you’ve helped past employers in those three areas, then that’s a great start. That’s where I recommend you begin looking for stories of times you had to solve problems.
Tips to Improve Your Problem Solving Skills
Throughout your career, you’re going to get hired for better jobs and earn more money if you can show employers that you’re a problem solver. So to improve your problem solving skills, I recommend always analyzing a problem and situation before acting. When discussing problem solving with employers, you never want to sound like you rush or make impulsive decisions. They want to see fact-based or data-based decisions when you solve problems.
Next, to get better at solving problems, analyze the outcomes of past solutions you came up with. You can recognize what works and what doesn’t. Think about how you can get better at researching and analyzing a situation, but also how you can get better at communicating, deciding the right people in the organization to talk to and “pull in” to help you if needed, etc.
Finally, practice staying calm even in stressful situations. Take a few minutes to walk outside if needed. Step away from your phone and computer to clear your head. A work problem is rarely so urgent that you cannot take five minutes to think (with the possible exception of safety problems), and you’ll get better outcomes if you solve problems by acting logically instead of rushing to react in a panic.
You can use all of the ideas above to describe your problem solving skills when asked interview questions about the topic. If you say that you do the things above, employers will be impressed when they assess your problem solving ability.
If you practice the tips above, you’ll be ready to share detailed, impressive stories and problem solving examples that will make hiring managers want to offer you the job. Every employer appreciates a problem solver, whether solving problems is a requirement listed on the job description or not. And you never know which hiring manager or interviewer will ask you about a time you solved a problem, so you should always be ready to discuss this when applying for a job.
Related interview questions & answers:
- How do you handle stress?
- How do you handle conflict?
- Tell me about a time when you failed
About the Author
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What Are Problem-Solving Skills?
Definition & Examples of Problem-Solving Skills
- Problem-solving skills help you determine why an issue is happening and how to resolve that issue.
Learn more about problem-solving skills and how they work.
Problem-solving skills help you solve issues quickly and effectively. It's one of the key skills that employers seek in job applicants, as employees with these skills tend to be self-reliant. Problem-solving skills require quickly identifying the underlying issue and implementing a solution.
Problem-solving is considered a soft skill (a personal strength) rather than a hard skill that's learned through education or training. You can improve your problem-solving skills by familiarizing yourself with common issues in your industry and learning from more experienced employees.
How Problem-Solving Skills Work
Problem-solving starts with identifying the issue. For example, a teacher might need to figure out how to improve student performance on a writing proficiency test. To do that, the teacher will review the writing tests looking for areas of improvement. They might see that students can construct simple sentences, but they're struggling with writing paragraphs and organizing those paragraphs into an essay.
To solve the problem, the teacher would work with students on how and when to write compound sentences, how to write paragraphs, and ways to organize an essay.
Theresa Chiechi / The Balance
There are five steps typically used in problem-solving.
1. Analyze Contributing Factors
To solve a problem, you must find out what caused it. This requires you to gather and evaluate data, isolate possible contributing circumstances, and pinpoint what needs to be addressed for a resolution.
To do this, you'll use skills like :
- Data gathering
- Data analysis
- Historical analysis
2. Generate Interventions
Once you’ve determined the cause, brainstorm possible solutions. Sometimes this involves teamwork since two (or more) minds are often better than one. A single strategy is rarely the obvious route to solving a complex problem; devising a set of alternatives helps you cover your bases and reduces your risk of exposure should the first strategy you implement fail.
This involves skills like :
- Creative thinking
- Project design
- Project planning
3. Evaluate Solutions
Depending on the nature of the problem and your chain of command, evaluating best solutions may be performed by assigned teams, team leads, or forwarded to corporate decision-makers. Whoever makes the decision must evaluate potential costs, required resources, and possible barriers to successful solution implementation.
This requires several skills, including:
- Test development
4. Implement a Plan
Once a course of action has been decided, it must be implemented along with benchmarks that can quickly and accurately determine whether it’s working. Plan implementation also involves letting personnel know about changes in standard operating procedures.
This requires skills like:
- Project management
- Project implementation
- Time management
- Benchmark development
5. Assess the Solution's Effectiveness
Once a solution is implemented, the best problem-solvers have systems in place to evaluate if and how quickly it's working. This way, they know as soon as possible whether the issue has been resolved or whether they’ll have to change their response to the problem mid-stream.
- Customer feedback
Here's an example of showing your problem-solving skills in a cover letter.
When I was first hired as a paralegal, I inherited a backlog of 25 sets of medical records that needed to be summarized, each of which was hundreds of pages long. At the same time, I had to help prepare for three major cases, and there weren’t enough hours in the day. After I explained the problem to my supervisor, she agreed to pay me to come in on Saturday mornings to focus on the backlog. I was able to eliminate the backlog in a month.
Here's another example of how to show your problem-solving skills in a cover letter:
When I joined the team at Great Graphics as Artistic Director, the designers had become uninspired because of a former director who attempted to micro-manage every step in the design process. I used weekly round-table discussions to solicit creative input and ensured that each designer was given full autonomy to do their best work. I also introduced monthly team-based competitions that helped build morale, spark new ideas, and improve collaboration.
Highlighting Problem-Solving Skills
- Since this is a skill that's important to most employers, put them front and center on your resume, cover letter, and in interviews.
If you're not sure what to include, look to previous roles—whether in academic, work, or volunteer settings—for examples of challenges you met and problems you solved. Highlight relevant examples in your cover letter and use bullet points in your resume to show how you solved a problem.
During interviews, be ready to describe situations you've encountered in previous roles, the processes you followed to address problems, the skills you applied, and the results of your actions. Potential employers are eager to hear a coherent narrative of the ways you've used problem-solving skills .
Interviewers may pose hypothetical problems for you to solve. Base your answers on the five steps and refer to similar problems you've resolved, if possible. Here are tips for answering problem-solving interview questions , with examples of the best answers.
- It's one of the key skills that employers seek in job applicants.
- Problem-solving starts with identifying the issue, coming up with solutions, implementing those solutions, and evaluating their effectiveness.
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7 Problem-Solving Skills That Can Help You Be a More Successful Manager
Discover what problem-solving is, and why it's important for managers. Understand the steps of the process and learn about seven problem-solving skills.
1Managers oversee the day-to-day operations of a particular department, and sometimes a whole company, using their problem-solving skills regularly. Managers with good problem-solving skills can help ensure companies run smoothly and prosper.
If you're a current manager or are striving to become one, read this guide to discover what problem-solving skills are and why it's important for managers to have them. Learn the steps of the problem-solving process, and explore seven skills that can help make problem-solving easier and more effective.
What is problem-solving?
Problem-solving is both an ability and a process. As an ability, problem-solving can aid in resolving issues faced in different environments like home, school, abroad, and social situations, among others. As a process, problem-solving involves a series of steps for finding solutions to questions or concerns that arise throughout life.
The importance of problem-solving for managers
Managers deal with problems regularly, whether supervising a staff of two or 100. When people solve problems quickly and effectively, workplaces can benefit in a number of ways. These include:
Increased job fulfillment
Satisfied clients or customers
Better cooperation and cohesion
Improved environments for employees and customers
7 skills that make problem-solving easier
Companies depend on managers who can solve problems adeptly. Although problem-solving is a skill in its own right, a subset of seven skills can help make the process of problem-solving easier. These include analysis, communication, emotional intelligence, resilience, creativity, adaptability, and teamwork.
As a manager , you'll solve each problem by assessing the situation first. Then, you’ll use analytical skills to distinguish between ineffective and effective solutions.
Effective communication plays a significant role in problem-solving, particularly when others are involved. Some skills that can help enhance communication at work include active listening, speaking with an even tone and volume, and supporting verbal information with written communication.
3. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage emotions in any situation. People with emotional intelligence usually solve problems calmly and systematically, which often yields better results.
Emotional intelligence and resilience are closely related traits. Resiliency is the ability to cope with and bounce back quickly from difficult situations. Those who possess resilience are often capable of accurately interpreting people and situations, which can be incredibly advantageous when difficulties arise.
When brainstorming solutions to problems, creativity can help you to think outside the box. Problem-solving strategies can be enhanced with the application of creative techniques. You can use creativity to:
Approach problems from different angles
Improve your problem-solving process
Spark creativity in your employees and peers
Adaptability is the capacity to adjust to change. When a particular solution to an issue doesn't work, an adaptable person can revisit the concern to think up another one without getting frustrated.
Finding a solution to a problem regularly involves working in a team. Good teamwork requires being comfortable working with others and collaborating with them, which can result in better problem-solving overall.
Steps of the problem-solving process
Effective problem-solving involves five essential steps. One way to remember them is through the IDEAL model created in 1984 by psychology professors John D. Bransford and Barry S. Stein [ 1 ]. The steps to solving problems in this model include: identifying that there is a problem, defining the goals you hope to achieve, exploring potential solutions, choosing a solution and acting on it, and looking at (or evaluating) the outcome.
1. Identify that there is a problem and root out its cause.
To solve a problem, you must first admit that one exists to then find its root cause. Finding the cause of the problem may involve asking questions like:
Can the problem be solved?
How big of a problem is it?
Why do I think the problem is occurring?
What are some things I know about the situation?
What are some things I don't know about the situation?
Are there any people who contributed to the problem?
Are there materials or processes that contributed to the problem?
Are there any patterns I can identify?
2. Define the goals you hope to achieve.
Every problem is different. The goals you hope to achieve when problem-solving depend on the scope of the problem. Some examples of goals you might set include:
Gather as much factual information as possible.
Brainstorm many different strategies to come up with the best one.
Be flexible when considering other viewpoints.
Articulate clearly and encourage questions, so everyone involved is on the same page.
Be open to other strategies if the chosen strategy doesn't work.
Stay positive throughout the process.
3. Explore potential solutions.
Once you've defined the goals you hope to achieve when problem-solving , it's time to start the process. This involves steps that often include fact-finding, brainstorming, prioritizing solutions, and assessing the cost of top solutions in terms of time, labor, and money.
4. Choose a solution and act on it.
Evaluate the pros and cons of each potential solution, and choose the one most likely to solve the problem within your given budget, abilities, and resources. Once you choose a solution, it's important to make a commitment and see it through. Draw up a plan of action for implementation, and share it with all involved parties clearly and effectively, both verbally and in writing. Make sure everyone understands their role for a successful conclusion.
5. Look at (or evaluate) the outcome.
Evaluation offers insights into your current situation and future problem-solving. When evaluating the outcome, ask yourself questions like:
Did the solution work?
Will this solution work for other problems?
Were there any changes you would have made?
Would another solution have worked better?
As a current or future manager looking to build your problem-solving skills, it is often helpful to take a professional course. Consider Improving Communication Skills offered by the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera. You'll learn how to boost your ability to persuade, ask questions, negotiate, apologize, and more.
You might also consider taking Emotional Intelligence: Cultivating Immensely Human Interactions , offered by the University of Michigan on Coursera. You'll explore the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills common to people with emotional intelligence, and you'll learn how emotional intelligence is connected to team success and leadership.
Tennessee Tech. “ The Ideal Problem Solver (2nd ed.) , https://www.tntech.edu/cat/pdf/useful_links/idealproblemsolver.pdf.” Accessed December 6, 2022.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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What Are Problem-Solving Skills? (Examples Included)
Mike Simpson 0 Comments
By Mike Simpson
Problem-solving skills are important not just for work. In the words of Karl Popper , “All life is problem-solving.”
What on earth does that mean? Simply that being alive means facing challenges. With problem-solving skills, you can navigate issues with greater ease, making hard times, well, less hard.
But what are problem-solving skills? How do you know if you have them or not? Why do they matter to your job search? And what should you do if you don’t feel yours are up to snuff? Luckily, we’re about to get into all of that.
If you’re curious about the world of problem-solving skills, here’s what you need to know.
What Are Problem-Solving Skills?
Before we dig into any examples, let’s focus first on an important question: what are problem-solving skills.
To answer that question, let’s start with the barebones basics. According to Merriam-Webster , problem-solving is “the process or act of finding a solution to a problem.” Why does that matter? Well, because it gives you insight into what problem-solving skills are.
Any skill that helps you find solutions to problems can qualify. And that means problem-solving skills aren’t just one capability, but a toolbox filled with soft skills and hard skills that come together during your time of need.
The ability to solve problems is relevant to any part of your life. Whether your writing a grocery list or dealing with a car that won’t start, you’re actually problem-solving.
The same is true at work, too. Most tasks actually involve a degree of problem-solving. Really? Really.
Think about it this way; when you’re given an assignment, you’re being asked, “Can you do this thing?” Doing that thing is the problem.
Then, you have to find a path that lets you accomplish what you need to do. That is problem-solving.
Yes, sometimes what you need to handle isn’t “challenging” in the difficulty sense. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.
Besides, some of what you need to do will legitimately be hard. Maybe you’re given a new responsibility, or something goes wrong during a project. When that happens, you’ll have to navigate unfamiliar territory, gather new information, and think outside of the box. That’s problem-solving, too.
That’s why hiring managers favor candidates with problem-solving skills. They make you more effective in your role, increasing the odds that you can find solutions whenever the need arises.
How Are Problem-Solving Skills Relevant to a Job Search?
Alright, you probably have a good idea of what problem-solving skills are. Now, it’s time to talk about why they matter to your job search.
We’ve already touched on one major point: hiring managers prefer candidates with strong problem-solving skills. That alone makes these capabilities a relevant part of the equation. If you don’t show the hiring manager you’ve got what it takes to excel, you may struggle to land a position.
But that isn’t the only reason these skills matter. Problem-solving skills can help you during the entire job search process. After all, what’s a job search but a problem – or a series of problems – that needs an answer.
You need a new job; that’s the core problem you’re solving. But every step is its own unique challenge. Finding an opening that matches your skills, creating a resume that resonates with the hiring manager, nailing the interview, and negotiating a salary … those are all smaller problems that are part of the bigger one.
So, problem-solving skills really are at the core of the job search experience. By having strong capabilities in this area, you may find a new position faster than you’d expect.
Okay, you may be thinking, “If hiring managers prefer candidates with problem-solving skills, which ones are they after? Are certain problem-solving capabilities more important today? Is there something I should be going out of my way to showcase?”
While any related skills are worth highlighting, some may get you further than others. Analysis, research, creativity, collaboration , organization, and decision-making are all biggies. With those skills, you can work through the entire problem-solving process, making them worthwhile additions to your resume.
But that doesn’t mean you have to focus there solely. Don’t shy away from showcasing everything you bring to the table. That way, if a particular hiring manager is looking for a certain capability, you’re more likely to tap on what they’re after.
How to Highlight Problem-Solving Skills for Job Search
At this point, it’s ridiculously clear that problem-solving skills are valuable in the eyes of hiring managers. So, how do you show them that you’ve got all of the capabilities they are after? By using the right approach.
When you’re writing your resume or cover letter , your best bet is to highlight achievements that let you put your problem-solving skills to work. That way, you can “show” the hiring manager you have what it takes.
Showing is always better than telling. Anyone can write down, “I have awesome problem-solving skills.” The thing is, that doesn’t really prove that you do. With a great example, you offer up some context, and that makes a difference.
How do you decide on which skills to highlight on your resume or cover letter? By having a great strategy. With the Tailoring Method , it’s all about relevancy. The technique helps you identify skills that matter to that particular hiring manager, allowing you to speak directly to their needs.
Plus, you can use the Tailoring Method when you answer job interview questions . With that approach, you’re making sure those responses are on-point, too.
But when do you talk about your problem-solving capabilities during an interview? Well, there’s a good chance you’ll get asked problem-solving interview questions during your meeting. Take a look at those to see the kinds of questions that are perfect for mentioning these skills.
However, you don’t have to stop there. If you’re asked about your greatest achievement or your strengths, those could be opportunities, too. Nearly any open-ended question could be the right time to discuss those skills, so keep that in mind as you practice for your interview.
How to Develop Problem-Solving Skills If You Don’t Have Them
Developing problem-solving skills may seem a bit tricky on the surface, especially if you think you don’t have them. The thing is, it doesn’t actually have to be hard. You simply need to use the right strategy.
First, understand that you probably do have problem-solving skills; you simply may not have realized it. After all, life is full of challenges that you have to tackle, so there’s a good chance you’ve developed some abilities along the way.
Now, let’s reframe the question and focus on how to improve your problem-solving skills. Here’s how to go about it.
Understand the Problem-Solving Process
In many cases, problem-solving is all about the process. You:
- Identify the problem
- Analyze the key elements
- Look for potential solutions
- Examine the options for viability and risk
- Decide on an approach
- Review the outcome for lessons
By understanding the core process, you can apply it more effectively. That way, when you encounter an issue, you’ll know how to approach it, increasing the odds you’ll handle the situation effectively.
Try Puzzles and Games
Any activity that lets you take the steps listed above could help you hone your problem-solving skills. For example, brainteasers, puzzles, and logic-based games can be great places to start.
Whether it’s something as straightforward – but nonetheless challenging – as Sudoku or a Rubik’s Cube, or something as complex as Settlers of Catan, it puts your problem-solving skills to work. Plus, if you enjoy the activity, it makes skill-building fun, making it a win-win.
Look for Daily Opportunities
If you’re looking for a practical approach, you’re in luck. You can also look at the various challenges you face during the day and think about how to overcome them.
For example, if you always experience a mid-day energy slump that hurts your productivity, take a deep dive into that problem. Define what’s happening, think about why it occurs, consider various solutions, pick one to try, and analyze the results.
By using the problem-solving approach more often in your life, you’ll develop those skills further and make using these capabilities a habit. Plus, you may find ways to improve your day-to-day living, which is a nice bonus.
Volunteer for “Stretch” Projects
If you’re currently employed, volunteering for projects that push you slightly outside of your comfort zone can help you develop problem-solving skills, too. You’ll encounter the unknown and have to think outside of the box, both of which can boost critical problem-solving-related skills.
Plus, you may gain other capabilities along the way, like experience with new technologies or tools. That makes the project an even bigger career booster, which is pretty awesome.
List of Problem-Solving Skills
Alright, we’ve taken a pretty deep dive into what problem-solving skills are. Now, it’s time for some problem-solving skills examples.
As we mentioned above, there are a ton of capabilities and traits that can support better problem-solving. By understanding what they are, you can showcase the right abilities during your job search.
So, without further ado, here is a quick list of problem-solving skill examples:
- Attention to Detail
- Active Listening
- Critical Thinking
Do you have to showcase all of those skills during your job search individually? No, not necessarily. Instead, you want to highlight a range of capabilities based on what the hiring manager is after. If you’re using the Tailoring Method, you’ll know which ones need to make their way into your resume, cover letter, and interview answers.
Now, are there other skills that support problem-solving? Yes, there certainly can be.
Essentially any skill that helps you go from the problem to the solution can, in its own right, be a problem-solving skill.
All of the skills above can be part of the equation. But, if you have another capability that helps you flourish when you encounter an obstacle, it can count, too.
Reflect on your past experience and consider how you’ve navigated challenges in the past. If a particular skill helped you do that, then it’s worth highlighting during a job search.
If you would like to find out more about skills to put on a resume , we’ve taken a close look at the topic before. Along with problem-solving skills, we dig into a variety of other areas, helping you choose what to highlight so that you can increase your odds of landing your perfect job.
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, problem-solving skills are essential for professionals in any kind of field. By honing your capabilities and showcasing them during your job search, you can become a stronger candidate and employee. In the end, that’s all good stuff, making it easier for you to keep your career on track today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com.
His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others.
Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .
About The Author
Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .
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How to Nail your next Technical Interview
You may be missing out on a 66.5% salary hike*, nick camilleri, how many years of coding experience do you have, free course on 'sorting algorithms' by omkar deshpande (stanford phd, head of curriculum, ik).
What are problem-solving skills? (Examples included!)
Life in the 21st century is all about efficiency and development. The unending quench of discovering the unknown, materializing one dream after another, has helped push the limits through the sky. But have you ever thought what the key to all of these astronomical successes is?
It is the zeal to solve a problem with the resources available to generate the best possible results.
Here's what this article will cover:
What are problem-solving skills , how do problem-solving skills help or act as your pillars of success, how do employers assess your problem-solving skills , steps to execute problem-solving skills, skills to hone for an apt solution-finder, examples of problem-solving techniques.
Dos and Don'ts in interviews
How to improve your problem-solving skills ?
How to highlight problem-solving skills .
Problem-solving is hunting; it is a savage pleasure, and we are born to it." –Thomas Harris .
The truth is, problem-solving skills are acquirable for some people while others adapt to it like fish in the water. Working in IT, web development, coding, machine learning, and the likes demand the ability to make decisions at a moment's notice.
So, do you want to back off when the time comes or take it up as a challenge?
Brush up your problem-solving skills or better, enhance them, and make them your forte by reading this article. No technical interview preparation guide is complete without tips to improve such problem-solving skills.
Also read: Why do FAANG companies test for problem-solving skills in their interviews.
Larry and his team suddenly face a major crisis. Not a single developer in his team who is good with String is coming to the office, but there is an urgent client requirement. Larry asks his team if anybody is confident enough to pull it through, and surprisingly, he sees one solitary hand of Jim in the mix. But it is a 4-men job, at least. Realizing that there is no way out other than working with another team(s), he wastes no time. He sends out emails to other teams asking for at least two more developers, counting himself and Jim. 4 more fellow coders came to the rescue and delivered the project before the deadline!
Problem-solving skills enable you to observe the situation and determine the contributing factors of the issue. Identifying the root cause and the ability to take necessary steps with available resources are integral in finessing your problem-solving ability.
All technical interview preparation courses , therefore, cover this crucial aspect.
Employers seek problem-solving skills in their employees . And why not?
Who wouldn't want to have an efficient employee like Larry? The knack of not backing down from a challenge is the perfect catalyst for business expansion.
Problem-solving skills help you attain insight into the source of the problem and figuring out an ideal solution. However, several skills and their correct implementation are essential, which are listed below.
- Patient listener : To identify a problem, you must first be all ears to gain information about the situation.
- Eye for detail : Once you start listening minutely, you now need to identify the data's discrepancies and have an intuitive eye for detail.
- Thorough research : Background research and data verification is bread and butter for efficient problem-solvers.
- Innovative approach : It is not just about getting it done. It's about taking a challenging approach in a mission to maximize results.
- Communication skills: Flawless communication skills are necessary to negate any misunderstanding and ensure conveying the message with clarity. You can indeed consider this as a great time saver!
- Composure : Your ability to remain calm even in a demanding situation will always earn you dividends in the path to success. It is not a quality that you can imbibe easily, but rigorous practice can do the trick for you.
- Decision-making ability : Having a knack for making the right decisions under pressure is a highly sought-after attribute by employers when hiring people. Taking quick decisions in dire straits is the reason why the company is paying you the big bucks.
- Team player : Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your team is instrumental in maintaining team spirit. Higher the team spirit, the better the performance!
Employers today prioritize hiring people with soft skills like problem-solving abilities to maximize business output even when the going gets tough. Your problem-solving ability is judged based on:
- If you have accomplished any remarkable feat in a taxing situation. This gives an insight into the upper benchmark of your performance.
- Presenting hypothetical problems for the interviewee to solve is another commonly used trick to ascertain your productivity metrics and creative problem-solving techniques in tough conditions.
- Some organizations may even line up some challenging tests and exercises to have a firsthand look at the execution and effectiveness of your technical skills in the approach to problem-solving.
"We cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created them." – Albert Einstein
- Analyze contributing factors
James was getting an error code during the execution of specific UI updates. He started analyzing the code and rechecking the repository for any possible mistake. To his delight, his hunch turned out to be accurate. He immediately made the necessary changes, and the updates were successfully executed.
Analysis of contributing factors and its repercussions in the ebb and flow of the task is a preliminary attribute of an able problem-solver. To acquire perfection in analysis and problem-solving skills, you must ensure a thorough:
- Gathering of data
- Diligent study of the collected data
- Scrutiny to filter relevant data
- Historical analysis
- Generate interventions
Working at a software development firm, Donald is perturbed by the lack of advancement in the deep learning project. Lack of idea and innovation is leading to nowhere. He decided that enough is enough. He asked for a group session to brainstorm in the hope of generating some leads. The session was a huge success, and Donald was finally able to catch a breather.
It is not an unknown fact that 'we' is always more productive than 'I' under any circumstance.
Utilizing the versatility of your available resources with the help of various sessions can work miracles. Such sessions can be for:
- Creative thinking
- Planning a project
- Forecasting future trends
- Prediction of possible outcomes
- Designing your project with originality, etc.
- Evaluate solutions
This is more up the alley for managers and team leads. To become adept at evaluating solutions, one must gain prolonged experience in corporate decision-making. The evaluation process needs to consider potential costs, available resources, and possible hurdles of project completion.
Yes, he is a team lead, and therefore, he had the authority to initiate a brainstorming session with multiple teams to bring in new ideas.
The secret to evaluating solutions?
- Identifying change in trends
- Implement a plan
Choosing the right course of action is the preliminary step to solve the problems. The success of the execution is streamlined with the help of quality benchmarks to indicate its effectiveness.
"A problem is a chance for you to do the best!" – Duke Ellington .
Knowing the right people to do it for you is essential for successful implementation. It is also crucial that you are accustomed to your organization's operating procedures before you formulate the best possible strategy.
Skills you need are:
- Project management
- Implementation of project strategy
- Time management
- Developing appropriate quality benchmark
- Assess the solution's effectiveness
An ideal way to detect whether a solution is effective or not is to check if the problem still exists after applying the solution. Benchmarks need to be set as per organizational standards to help them assess the situation and if any further changes are required in the interim.
- Data analysis
- Close follow-ups
"A problem well stated is a problem half solved." –John Dewey
- Research: Problem-solving is not complete without extensive research. It is otherwise impossible to identify the problem without gathering enough data on the errors and their analysis. Consulting with your team gives you an edge to find the solution quicker.
- Analysis: Analysis of the situation is a must. Analytical skills further assist you in identifying the discrepancies and the possible actions which can resolve the issue.
- Decision-making: The ability to make decisions in hours of need defines your mettle. The onus is on you to be proactive and choose the right course of action.
- Communication: Are you great at conversations? If so, communication skills can help you garner much-required assistance for the project. Communication of the issues and how you want the project done are critical for the problem-solving process's smooth flow.
- Dependability: Having dependable members boosts the morale of the team. If you are a problem-solver, taking responsibility and taking it on the chin to solve the issues needs to be your forte.
- Select an example or situation that you can handle without any issue.
- Do not stray off topic and stay on track.
- Do not use jargon in your interview. So, choose your example and words wisely.
- Do not choose a redundant issue.
Sam has come to an interview for a team-lead profile. The recruiter asks a situation-based problem in regards to machine learning software. Though tricky, Sam knew the exact way around for the problem and answered it precisely to the point. The recruiter is delighted and hires Sam for the position.
- Thirst for knowledge : An insatiable thirst for knowledge is the secret door to success in problem-solving skills. If Sam was unaware of the tweaks needed to solve the problem, do you think the manager would have been impressed? No, managers at companies like Google and Facebook are looking for people who can act independently with their available resources. The question is, are you the problem solver who can be a catch to any company?
- An intuition for challenge : You need to be intuitive and have a sharp nose for challenges. The more you take up difficult situations and handle them with panache and ease, the more you can hone your problem-solving skills .
- Practice and more practice: Practice makes a man perfect – truer words have never been said. Effective problem solving is achieved not by slacking off but by acquainting yourself with various situations and applying your skills to resolve them. Remember, experience can never be substituted, and you have to take the long route to success!
- Keen and observant eyes : Do you have an eye for detail, and are you quick to point out discrepancies in data analysis? If yes, you are already one step towards becoming a valued problem solver in your company. Also, if you are a person who observes closely what is being done and why others do it, it helps develop your decision-making skills in future. Don't forget to mention this in your resume.
Tom has been applying frantically for a job since he moved to Arizona but seemed unable to find just the right one. When he sees his attempts are futile, he decides to add some of his previous company's achievements, thinking it might help. Oh, boy, did it help! Tom writes about when he was asked to handle a team of 12 single-handedly while his manager suddenly went on a sabbatical. Tom had no prior experience of leading a team but appeared to come out of this fix with flying colors.
Megan is currently looking for a step up in her career. She carefully drafts a cover letter that entails her achievements with clarity. The cover letter explained her contributions in reviving team spirit in the office after her predecessor, with his poor man-management, had successfully built a wall of distrust among the employees.
- Problem-solving skills for resume : You can convey your achievements or even your hobbies to the person sitting in front of you, or not, depending on his/her nature. But you cannot afford to miss the chance to showcase your best achievement. It is in your best interest to build your CV around the achievements to give it maximum traction and attention. Mention the problem you faced and jot down the course of action you took to nullify the situation. Nobody can stop you if this is done right!
- Problem-solving skills for cover letter : Use it as an opportunity to let the company delve into your success story so far and the factors leading to it. If you have done your research on the organization you're applying for, it will not hurt your chances of identifying some challenges of the company and suggesting some solutions. It goes down a long way if you indeed join forces!
If you are adequately seasoned with problem-solving skills with dedication and practice, you're already almost there. Proper interview preparation tips can further help you in this regard.
Attend our free webinar on how to nail your next technical interview.
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What Are Problem-Solving Skills? (Definition, Examples, And How To List On A Resume)
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Find a Job You Really Want In
Summary. Problem-solving skills include analysis, creativity, prioritization, organization, and troubleshooting. To solve a problem, you need to use a variety of skills based on the needs of the situation.
Most jobs essentially boil down to identifying and solving problems consistently and effectively. That’s why employers value problem-solving skills in job candidates for just about every role.
We’ll cover problem-solving methods, ways to improve your problem-solving skills, and examples of showcasing your problem-solving skills during your job search .
If you can show off your problem-solving skills on your resume , in your cover letter , and during a job interview, you’ll be one step closer to landing a job.
Companies rely on employees who can handle unexpected challenges, identify persistent issues, and offer workable solutions in a positive way.
It is important to improve problem solving skill because this is a skill that can be cultivated and nurtured so you can become better at dealing with problems over time.
Types of Problem-Solving Skills
How to improve your problem-solving skills, example answers to problem-solving interview questions, how to show off problem-solving skills on a resume, example resume and cover letter with problem-solving skills, more about problem-solving skills, problem solving skills faqs.
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Problem-solving skills are skills that help you identify and solve problems effectively and efficiently . Your ability to solve problems is one of the main ways that hiring managers and recruiters assess candidates, as those with excellent problem-solving skills are more likely to autonomously carry out their responsibilities.
A true problem solver can look at a situation, find the cause of the problem (or causes, because there are often many issues at play), and then come up with a reasonable solution that effectively fixes the problem or at least remedies most of it.
The ability to solve problems is considered a soft skill , meaning that it’s more of a personality trait than a skill you’ve learned at school, on the job, or through technical training.
That being said, your proficiency with various hard skills will have a direct bearing on your ability to solve problems. For example, it doesn’t matter if you’re a great problem-solver; if you have no experience with astrophysics, you probably won’t be hired as a space station technician .
Problem-solving is considered a skill on its own, but it’s supported by many other skills that can help you be a better problem solver. These skills fall into a few different categories of problem-solving skills.
Problem recognition and analysis. The first step is to recognize that there is a problem and discover what it is or what the root cause of it is.
You can’t begin to solve a problem unless you’re aware of it. Sometimes you’ll see the problem yourself and other times you’ll be told about the problem. Both methods of discovery are very important, but they can require some different skills. The following can be an important part of the process:
Create possible solutions. You know what the problem is, and you might even know the why of it, but then what? Your next step is the come up with some solutions.
Most of the time, the first solution you come up with won’t be the right one. Don’t fall victim to knee-jerk reactions; try some of the following methods to give you solution options.
Evaluation of solution options. Now that you have a lot of solution options, it’s time to weed through them and start casting some aside. There might be some ridiculous ones, bad ones, and ones you know could never be implemented. Throw them away and focus on the potentially winning ideas.
This step is probably the one where a true, natural problem solver will shine. They intuitively can put together mental scenarios and try out solutions to see their plusses and minuses. If you’re still working on your skill set — try listing the pros and cons on a sheet of paper.
Evaluating and weighing
Solution implementation. This is your “take action” step. Once you’ve decided which way to go, it’s time to head down that path and see if you were right. This step takes a lot of people and management skills to make it work for you.
Evaluation of the solution. Was it a good solution? Did your plan work or did it fail miserably? Sometimes the evaluation step takes a lot of work and review to accurately determine effectiveness. The following skills might be essential for a thorough evaluation.
You now have a ton of skills in front of you. Some of them you have naturally and some — not so much. If you want to solve a problem, and you want to be known for doing that well and consistently, then it’s time to sharpen those skills.
Develop industry knowledge. Whether it’s broad-based industry knowledge, on-the-job training , or very specific knowledge about a small sector — knowing all that you can and feeling very confident in your knowledge goes a long way to learning how to solve problems.
Be a part of a solution. Step up and become involved in the problem-solving process. Don’t lead — but follow. Watch an expert solve the problem and, if you pay attention, you’ll learn how to solve a problem, too. Pay attention to the steps and the skills that a person uses.
Practice solving problems. Do some role-playing with a mentor , a professor , co-workers, other students — just start throwing problems out there and coming up with solutions and then detail how those solutions may play out.
Go a step further, find some real-world problems and create your solutions, then find out what they did to solve the problem in actuality.
Identify your weaknesses. If you could easily point out a few of your weaknesses in the list of skills above, then those are the areas you need to focus on improving. How you do it is incredibly varied, so find a method that works for you.
Solve some problems — for real. If the opportunity arises, step in and use your problem-solving skills. You’ll never really know how good (or bad) you are at it until you fail.
That’s right, failing will teach you so much more than succeeding will. You’ll learn how to go back and readdress the problem, find out where you went wrong, learn more from listening even better. Failure will be your best teacher ; it might not make you feel good, but it’ll make you a better problem-solver in the long run.
Once you’ve impressed a hiring manager with top-notch problem-solving skills on your resume and cover letter , you’ll need to continue selling yourself as a problem-solver in the job interview.
There are three main ways that employers can assess your problem-solving skills during an interview:
By asking questions that relate to your past experiences solving problems
Posing hypothetical problems for you to solve
By administering problem-solving tests and exercises
The third method varies wildly depending on what job you’re applying for, so we won’t attempt to cover all the possible problem-solving tests and exercises that may be a part of your application process.
Luckily, interview questions focused on problem-solving are pretty well-known, and most can be answered using the STAR method . STAR stands for situation, task, action, result, and it’s a great way to organize your answers to behavioral interview questions .
Let’s take a look at how to answer some common interview questions built to assess your problem-solving capabilities:
At my current job as an operations analyst at XYZ Inc., my boss set a quarterly goal to cut contractor spending by 25% while maintaining the same level of production and moving more processes in-house. It turned out that achieving this goal required hiring an additional 6 full-time employees, which got stalled due to the pandemic. I suggested that we widen our net and hire remote employees after our initial applicant pool had no solid candidates. I ran the analysis on overhead costs and found that if even 4 of the 6 employees were remote, we’d save 16% annually compared to the contractors’ rates. In the end, all 6 employees we hired were fully remote, and we cut costs by 26% while production rose by a modest amount.
I try to step back and gather research as my first step. For instance, I had a client who needed a graphic designer to work with Crello, which I had never seen before, let alone used. After getting the project details straight, I began meticulously studying the program the YouTube tutorials, and the quick course Crello provides. I also reached out to coworkers who had worked on projects for this same client in the past. Once I felt comfortable with the software, I started work immediately. It was a slower process because I had to be more methodical in my approach, but by putting in some extra hours, I turned in the project ahead of schedule. The client was thrilled with my work and was shocked to hear me joke afterward that it was my first time using Crello.
As a digital marketer , website traffic and conversion rates are my ultimate metrics. However, I also track less visible metrics that can illuminate the story behind the results. For instance, using Google Analytics, I found that 78% of our referral traffic was coming from one affiliate, but that these referrals were only accounting for 5% of our conversions. Another affiliate, who only accounted for about 10% of our referral traffic, was responsible for upwards of 30% of our conversions. I investigated further and found that the second, more effective affiliate was essentially qualifying our leads for us before sending them our way, which made it easier for us to close. I figured out exactly how they were sending us better customers, and reached out to the first, more prolific but less effective affiliate with my understanding of the results. They were able to change their pages that were referring us traffic, and our conversions from that source tripled in just a month. It showed me the importance of digging below the “big picture” metrics to see the mechanics of how revenue was really being generated through digital marketing.
You can bring up your problem-solving skills in your resume summary statement , in your work experience , and under your education section , if you’re a recent graduate. The key is to include items on your resume that speak direclty to your ability to solve problems and generate results.
If you can, quantify your problem-solving accomplishments on your your resume . Hiring managers and recruiters are always more impressed with results that include numbers because they provide much-needed context.
This sample resume for a Customer Service Representative will give you an idea of how you can work problem solving into your resume.
Michelle Beattle 111 Millennial Parkway Chicago, IL 60007 (555) 987-6543 [email protected] Professional Summary Qualified Customer Services Representative with 3 years in a high-pressure customer service environment. Professional, personable, and a true problem solver. Work History ABC Store — Customer Service Representative 01/2015 — 12/2017 Managed in-person and phone relations with customers coming in to pick up purchases, return purchased products, helped find and order items not on store shelves, and explained details and care of merchandise. Became a key player in the customer service department and was promoted to team lead. XYZ Store — Customer Service Representative/Night Manager 01/2018 — 03/2020, released due to Covid-19 layoffs Worked as the night manager of the customer service department and filled in daytime hours when needed. Streamlined a process of moving customers to the right department through an app to ease the burden on the phone lines and reduce customer wait time by 50%. Was working on additional wait time problems when the Covid-19 pandemic caused our stores to close permanently. Education Chicago Tech 2014-2016 Earned an Associate’s Degree in Principles of Customer Care Skills Strong customer service skills Excellent customer complaint resolution Stock record management Order fulfillment New product information Cash register skills and proficiency Leader in problem solving initiatives
You can see how the resume gives you a chance to point out your problem-solving skills and to show where you used them a few times. Your cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself and list a few things that make you stand out from the crowd.
Michelle Beattle 111 Millennial Parkway Chicago, IL 60007 (555) 987-6543 [email protected] Dear Mary McDonald, I am writing in response to your ad on Zippia for a Customer Service Representative . Thank you for taking the time to consider me for this position. Many people believe that a job in customer service is simply listening to people complain all day. I see the job as much more than that. It’s an opportunity to help people solve problems, make their experience with your company more enjoyable, and turn them into life-long advocates of your brand. Through my years of experience and my educational background at Chicago Tech, where I earned an Associate’s Degree in the Principles of Customer Care, I have learned that the customers are the lifeline of the business and without good customer service representatives, a business will falter. I see it as my mission to make each and every customer I come in contact with a fan. I have more than five years of experience in the Customer Services industry and had advanced my role at my last job to Night Manager. I am eager to again prove myself as a hard worker, a dedicated people person, and a problem solver that can be relied upon. I have built a professional reputation as an employee that respects all other employees and customers, as a manager who gets the job done and finds solutions when necessary, and a worker who dives in to learn all she can about the business. Most of my customers have been very satisfied with my resolution ideas and have returned to do business with us again. I believe my expertise would make me a great match for LMNO Store. I have enclosed my resume for your review, and I would appreciate having the opportunity to meet with you to further discuss my qualifications. Thank you again for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Michelle Beattle
You’ve no doubt noticed that many of the skills listed in the problem-solving process are repeated. This is because having these abilities or talents is so important to the entire course of getting a problem solved.
In fact, they’re worthy of a little more attention. Many of them are similar, so we’ll pull them together and discuss how they’re important and how they work together.
Communication, active listening, and customer service skills. No matter where you are in the process of problem-solving, you need to be able to show that you’re listening and engaged and really hearing what the problem is or what a solution may be.
Obviously, the other part of this is being able to communicate effectively so people understand what you’re saying without confusion. Rolled into this are customer service skills , which really are all about listening and responding appropriately — it’s the ultimate in interpersonal communications.
Analysis (data and historical), research, and topic knowledge/understanding. This is how you intellectually grasp the issue and approach it. This can come from studying the topic and the process or it can come from knowledge you’ve gained after years in the business. But the best solutions come from people who thoroughly understand the problem.
Creativity, brainstorming, troubleshooting, and flexibility. All of you creative thinkers will like this area because it’s when your brain is at its best.
Coming up with ideas, collaborating with others, leaping over hurdles, and then being able to change courses immediately, if need be, are all essential. If you’re not creative by nature, then having a team of diverse thinkers can help you in this area.
Dependability, believability, trustworthiness, and follow-through. Think about it, these are all traits a person needs to have to make change happen and to make you comfortable taking that next step with them. Someone who is shifty and shady and never follows through, well, you’re simply not going to do what they ask, are you?
Leadership, teambuilding, decision-making, and project management. These are the skills that someone who is in charge is brimming with. These are the leaders you enjoy working for because you know they’re doing what they can to keep everything in working order. These skills can be learned but they’re often innate.
Prioritizing, prediction, forecasting, evaluating and weighing, and process flow. If you love flow charts, data analysis, prediction modeling, and all of that part of the equation, then you might have some great problem-solving abilities.
These are all great skills because they can help you weed out bad ideas, see flaws, and save massive amounts of time in trial and error.
What is a good example of problem-solving skills?
Good examples of porblem-solving skills include research, analysis, creativity, communciation, and decision-making. Each of these skills build off one another to contribute to the problem solving process. Research and analysis allow you to identify a problem.
Creativity and analysis help you consider different solutions. Meanwhile, communication and decision-making are key to working with others to solve a problem on a large scale.
What are 3 key attributes of a good problem solver?
3 key attributes of a good problem solver are persistence, intellegince, and empathy. Persistence is crucial to remain motivated to work through challenges. Inellegince is needed to make smart, informed choices. Empathy is crucial to maintain positive relationships with others as well as yourself.
What can I say instead of problem-solving skills?
Instead of saying problem-solving skills, you can say the following:
Using different words is helpful, especially when writing your resume and cover letter.
What is problem-solving in the workplace?
Problem-solving in the workplace is the ability to work through any sort of challenge, conflict, or unexpected situation and still achieve business goals. Though it varies by profession, roblem-solving in the workplace is very important for almost any job, because probelms are inevitable. You need to have the appropriate level of problem-solving skills if you want to succeed in your career, whatever it may be.
Department of Labor – Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
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Kristin Kizer is an award-winning writer, television and documentary producer, and content specialist who has worked on a wide variety of written, broadcast, and electronic publications. A former writer/producer for The Discovery Channel, she is now a freelance writer and delighted to be sharing her talents and time with the wonderful Zippia audience.
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39 Best Problem-Solving Examples
Problem-solving is a process where you’re tasked with identifying an issue and coming up with the most practical and effective solution.
This indispensable skill is necessary in several aspects of life, from personal relationships to education to business decisions.
Problem-solving aptitude boosts rational thinking, creativity, and the ability to cooperate with others. It’s also considered essential in 21st Century workplaces.
If explaining your problem-solving skills in an interview, remember that the employer is trying to determine your ability to handle difficulties. Focus on explaining exactly how you solve problems, including by introducing your thoughts on some of the following frameworks and how you’ve applied them in the past.
1. divergent thinking.
Divergent thinking refers to the process of coming up with multiple different answers to a single problem. It’s the opposite of convergent thinking, which would involve coming up with a singular answer .
The benefit of a divergent thinking approach is that it can help us achieve blue skies thinking – it lets us generate several possible solutions that we can then critique and analyze .
In the realm of problem-solving, divergent thinking acts as the initial spark. You’re working to create an array of potential solutions, even those that seem outwardly unrelated or unconventional, to get your brain turning and unlock out-of-the-box ideas.
This process paves the way for the decision-making stage, where the most promising ideas are selected and refined.
Go Deeper: Divervent Thinking Examples
2. Convergent Thinking
Next comes convergent thinking, the process of narrowing down multiple possibilities to arrive at a single solution.
This involves using your analytical skills to identify the best, most practical, or most economical solution from the pool of ideas that you generated in the divergent thinking stage.
In a way, convergent thinking shapes the “roadmap” to solve a problem after divergent thinking has supplied the “destinations.”
Have a think about which of these problem-solving skills you’re more adept at: divergent or convergent thinking?
Go Deeper: Convergent Thinking Examples
Brainstorming is a group activity designed to generate a multitude of ideas regarding a specific problem. It’s divergent thinking as a group , which helps unlock even more possibilities.
A typical brainstorming session involves uninhibited and spontaneous ideation, encouraging participants to voice any possible solutions, no matter how unconventional they might appear.
It’s important in a brainstorming session to suspend judgment and be as inclusive as possible, allowing all participants to get involved.
By widening the scope of potential solutions, brainstorming allows better problem definition, more creative solutions, and helps to avoid thinking “traps” that might limit your perspective.
Go Deeper: Brainstorming Examples
4. Thinking Outside the Box
The concept of “thinking outside the box” encourages a shift in perspective, urging you to approach problems from an entirely new angle.
Rather than sticking to traditional methods and processes, it involves breaking away from conventional norms to cultivate unique solutions.
In problem-solving, this mindset can bypass established hurdles and bring you to fresh ideas that might otherwise remain undiscovered.
Think of it as going off the beaten track when regular routes present roadblocks to effective resolution.
5. Case Study Analysis
Analyzing case studies involves a detailed examination of real-life situations that bear relevance to the current problem at hand.
For example, if you’re facing a problem, you could go to another environment that has faced a similar problem and examine how they solved it. You’d then bring the insights from that case study back to your own problem.
This approach provides a practical backdrop against which theories and assumptions can be tested, offering valuable insights into how similar problems have been approached and resolved in the past.
See a Broader Range of Analysis Examples Here
6. Action Research
Action research involves a repetitive process of identifying a problem, formulating a plan to address it, implementing the plan, and then analyzing the results. It’s common in educational research contexts.
The objective is to promote continuous learning and improvement through reflection and action. You conduct research into your problem, attempt to apply a solution, then assess how well the solution worked. This becomes an iterative process of continual improvement over time.
For problem-solving, this method offers a way to test solutions in real-time and allows for changes and refinements along the way, based on feedback or observed outcomes. It’s a form of active problem-solving that integrates lessons learned into the next cycle of action.
Go Deeper: Action Research Examples
7. Information Gathering
Fundamental to solving any problem is the process of information gathering.
This involves collecting relevant data , facts, and details about the issue at hand, significantly aiding in the understanding and conceptualization of the problem.
In problem-solving, information gathering underpins every decision you make.
This process ensures your actions are based on concrete information and evidence, allowing for an informed approach to tackle the problem effectively.
8. Seeking Advice
Seeking advice implies turning to knowledgeable and experienced individuals or entities to gain insights on problem-solving.
It could include mentors, industry experts, peers, or even specialized literature.
The value in this process lies in leveraging different perspectives and proven strategies when dealing with a problem. Moreover, it aids you in avoiding pitfalls, saving time, and learning from others’ experiences.
9. Creative Thinking
Creative thinking refers to the ability to perceive a problem in a new way, identify unconventional patterns, or produce original solutions.
It encourages innovation and uniqueness, often leading to the most effective results.
When applied to problem-solving, creative thinking can help you break free from traditional constraints, ideal for potentially complex or unusual problems.
Go Deeper: Creative Thinking Examples
10. Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution is a strategy developed to resolve disagreements and arguments, often involving communication, negotiation, and compromise.
When employed as a problem-solving technique, it can diffuse tension, clear bottlenecks, and create a collaborative environment.
Effective conflict resolution ensures that differing views or disagreements do not become roadblocks in the process of problem-solving.
Go Deeper: Conflict Resolution Examples
11. Addressing Bottlenecks
Bottlenecks refer to obstacles or hindrances that slow down or even halt a process.
In problem-solving, addressing bottlenecks involves identifying these impediments and finding ways to eliminate them.
This effort not only smooths the path to resolution but also enhances the overall efficiency of the problem-solving process.
For example, if your workflow is not working well, you’d go to the bottleneck – that one point that is most time consuming – and focus on that. Once you ‘break’ this bottleneck, the entire process will run more smoothly.
12. Market Research
Market research involves gathering and analyzing information about target markets, consumers, and competitors.
In sales and marketing, this is one of the most effective problem-solving methods. The research collected from your market (e.g. from consumer surveys) generates data that can help identify market trends, customer preferences, and competitor strategies.
In this sense, it allows a company to make informed decisions, solve existing problems, and even predict and prevent future ones.
13. Root Cause Analysis
Root cause analysis is a method used to identify the origin or the fundamental reason for a problem.
Once the root cause is determined, you can implement corrective actions to prevent the problem from recurring.
As a problem-solving procedure, root cause analysis helps you to tackle the problem at its source, rather than dealing with its surface symptoms.
Go Deeper: Root Cause Analysis Examples
14. Mind Mapping
Mind mapping is a visual tool used to structure information, helping you better analyze, comprehend and generate new ideas.
By laying out your thoughts visually, it can lead you to solutions that might not have been apparent with linear thinking.
In problem-solving, mind mapping helps in organizing ideas and identifying connections between them, providing a holistic view of the situation and potential solutions.
15. Trial and Error
The trial and error method involves attempting various solutions until you find one that resolves the problem.
It’s an empirical technique that relies on practical actions instead of theories or rules.
In the context of problem-solving, trial and error allows you the flexibility to test different strategies in real situations, gaining insights about what works and what doesn’t.
16. SWOT Analysis
SWOT is an acronym standing for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
It’s an analytic framework used to evaluate these aspects in relation to a particular objective or problem.
In problem-solving, SWOT Analysis helps you to identify favorable and unfavorable internal and external factors. It helps to craft strategies that make best use of your strengths and opportunities, whilst addressing weaknesses and threats.
Go Deeper: SWOT Analysis Examples
17. Scenario Planning
Scenario planning is a strategic planning method used to make flexible long-term plans.
It involves imagining, and then planning for, multiple likely future scenarios.
By forecasting various directions a problem could take, scenario planning helps manage uncertainty and is an effective tool for problem-solving in volatile conditions.
18. Six Thinking Hats
The Six Thinking Hats is a concept devised by Edward de Bono that proposes six different directions or modes of thinking, symbolized by six different hat colors.
Each hat signifies a different perspective, encouraging you to switch ‘thinking modes’ as you switch hats. This method can help remove bias and broaden perspectives when dealing with a problem.
19. Decision Matrix Analysis
Decision Matrix Analysis is a technique that allows you to weigh different factors when faced with several possible solutions.
After listing down the options and determining the factors of importance, each option is scored based on each factor.
Revealing a clear winner that both serves your objectives and reflects your values, Decision Matrix Analysis grounds your problem-solving process in objectivity and comprehensiveness.
20. Pareto Analysis
Also known as the 80/20 rule, Pareto Analysis is a decision-making technique.
It’s based on the principle that 80% of problems are typically caused by 20% of the causes, making it a handy tool for identifying the most significant issues in a situation.
Using this analysis, you’re likely to direct your problem-solving efforts more effectively, tackling the root causes producing most of the problem’s impact.
21. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyze facts to form a judgment objectively.
It involves logical, disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence.
For problem-solving, critical thinking helps evaluate options and decide the most effective solution. It ensures your decisions are grounded in reason and facts, and not biased or irrational assumptions.
Go Deeper: Critical Thinking Examples
22. Hypothesis Testing
Hypothesis testing usually involves formulating a claim, testing it against actual data, and deciding whether to accept or reject the claim based on the results.
In problem-solving, hypotheses often represent potential solutions. Hypothesis testing provides verification, giving a statistical basis for decision-making and problem resolution.
Usually, this will require research methods and a scientific approach to see whether the hypothesis stands up or not.
Go Deeper: Types of Hypothesis Testing
23. Cost-Benefit Analysis
A cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is a systematic process of weighing the pros and cons of different solutions in terms of their potential costs and benefits.
It allows you to measure the positive effects against the negatives and informs your problem-solving strategy.
By using CBA, you can identify which solution offers the greatest benefit for the least cost, significantly improving efficacy and efficiency in your problem-solving process.
Go Deeper: Cost-Benefit Analysis Examples
24. Simulation and Modeling
Simulations and models allow you to create a simplified replica of real-world systems to test outcomes under controlled conditions.
In problem-solving, you can broadly understand potential repercussions of different solutions before implementation.
It offers a cost-effective way to predict the impacts of your decisions, minimizing potential risks associated with various solutions.
25. Delphi Method
The Delphi Method is a structured communication technique used to gather expert opinions.
The method involves a group of experts who respond to questionnaires about a problem. The responses are aggregated and shared with the group, and the process repeats until a consensus is reached.
This method of problem solving can provide a diverse range of insights and solutions, shaped by the wisdom of a collective expert group.
26. Cross-functional Team Collaboration
Cross-functional team collaboration involves individuals from different departments or areas of expertise coming together to solve a common problem or achieve a shared goal.
When you bring diverse skills, knowledge, and perspectives to a problem, it can lead to a more comprehensive and innovative solution.
In problem-solving, this promotes communal thinking and ensures that solutions are inclusive and holistic, with various aspects of the problem being addressed.
Benchmarking involves comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics to the best practices from other companies or industries.
In problem-solving, it allows you to identify gaps in your own processes, determine how others have solved similar problems, and apply those solutions that have proven to be successful.
It also allows you to compare yourself to the best (the benchmark) and assess where you’re not as good.
28. Pros-Cons Lists
A pro-con analysis aids in problem-solving by weighing the advantages (pros) and disadvantages (cons) of various possible solutions.
This simple but powerful tool helps in making a balanced, informed decision.
When confronted with a problem, a pro-con analysis can guide you through the decision-making process, ensuring all possible outcomes and implications are scrutinized before arriving at the optimal solution. Thus, it helps to make the problem-solving process both methodical and comprehensive.
29. 5 Whys Analysis
The 5 Whys Analysis involves repeatedly asking the question ‘why’ (around five times) to peel away the layers of an issue and discover the root cause of a problem.
As a problem-solving technique, it enables you to delve into details that you might otherwise overlook and offers a simple, yet powerful, approach to uncover the origin of a problem.
For example, if your task is to find out why a product isn’t selling your first answer might be: “because customers don’t want it”, then you ask why again – “they don’t want it because it doesn’t solve their problem”, then why again – “because the product is missing a certain feature” … and so on, until you get to the root “why”.
30. Gap Analysis
Gap analysis entails comparing current performance with potential or desired performance.
You’re identifying the ‘gaps’, or the differences, between where you are and where you want to be.
In terms of problem-solving, a Gap Analysis can help identify key areas for improvement and design a roadmap of how to get from the current state to the desired one.
31. Design Thinking
Design thinking is a problem-solving approach that involves empathy, experimentation, and iteration.
The process focuses on understanding user needs, challenging assumptions , and redefining problems from a user-centric perspective.
In problem-solving, design thinking uncovers innovative solutions that may not have been initially apparent and ensures the solution is tailored to the needs of those affected by the issue.
32. Analogical Thinking
Analogical thinking involves the transfer of information from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target).
In problem-solving, you’re drawing parallels between similar situations and applying the problem-solving techniques used in one situation to the other.
Thus, it allows you to apply proven strategies to new, but related problems.
33. Lateral Thinking
Lateral thinking requires looking at a situation or problem from a unique, sometimes abstract, often non-sequential viewpoint.
Unlike traditional logical thinking methods, lateral thinking encourages you to employ creative and out-of-the-box techniques.
In solving problems, this type of thinking boosts ingenuity and drives innovation, often leading to novel and effective solutions.
Go Deeper: Lateral Thinking Examples
Flowcharting is the process of visually mapping a process or procedure.
This form of diagram can show every step of a system, process, or workflow, enabling an easy tracking of the progress.
As a problem-solving tool, flowcharts help identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies in a process, guiding improved strategies and providing clarity on task ownership and process outcomes.
Multivoting, or N/3 voting, is a method where participants reduce a large list of ideas to a prioritized shortlist by casting multiple votes.
This voting system elevates the most preferred options for further consideration and decision-making.
As a problem-solving technique, multivoting allows a group to narrow options and focus on the most promising solutions, ensuring more effective and democratic decision-making.
36. Force Field Analysis
Force Field Analysis is a decision-making technique that identifies the forces for and against change when contemplating a decision.
The ‘forces’ represent the differing factors that can drive or hinder change.
In problem-solving, Force Field Analysis allows you to understand the entirety of the context, favoring a balanced view over a one-sided perspective. A comprehensive view of all the forces at play can lead to better-informed problem-solving decisions.
TRIZ, which stands for “The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving,” is a problem-solving, analysis, and forecasting methodology.
It focuses on finding contradictions inherent in a scenario. Then, you work toward eliminating the contraditions through finding innovative solutions.
So, when you’re tackling a problem, TRIZ provides a disciplined, systematic approach that aims for ideal solutions and not just acceptable ones. Using TRIZ, you can leverage patterns of problem-solving that have proven effective in different cases, pivoting them to solve the problem at hand.
38. A3 Problem Solving
A3 Problem Solving, derived from Lean Management, is a structured method that uses a single sheet of A3-sized paper to document knowledge from a problem-solving process.
Named after the international paper size standard of A3 (or 11-inch by 17-inch paper), it succinctly records all key details of the problem-solving process from problem description to the root cause and corrective actions.
Used in problem-solving, this provides a straightforward and logical structure for addressing the problem, facilitating communication between team members, ensuring all critical details are included, and providing a record of decisions made.
39. Scenario Analysis
Scenario Analysis is all about predicting different possible future events depending upon your decision.
To do this, you look at each course of action and try to identify the most likely outcomes or scenarios down the track if you take that course of action.
This technique helps forecast the impacts of various strategies, playing each out to their (logical or potential) end. It’s a good strategy for project managers who need to keep a firm eye on the horizon at all times.
When solving problems, Scenario Analysis assists in preparing for uncertainties, making sure your solution remains viable, regardless of changes in circumstances.
How to Answer “Demonstrate Problem-Solving Skills” in an Interview
When asked to demonstrate your problem-solving skills in an interview, the STAR method often proves useful. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
Situation: Begin by describing a specific circumstance or challenge you encountered. Make sure to provide enough detail to allow the interviewer a clear understanding. You should select an event that adequately showcases your problem-solving abilities.
For instance, “In my previous role as a project manager, we faced a significant issue when our key supplier abruptly went out of business.”
Task: Explain what your responsibilities were in that situation. This serves to provide context, allowing the interviewer to understand your role and the expectations placed upon you.
For instance, “It was my task to ensure the project remained on track despite this setback. Alternative suppliers needed to be found without sacrificing quality or significantly increasing costs.”
Action: Describe the steps you took to manage the problem. Highlight your problem-solving process. Mention any creative approaches or techniques that you used.
For instance, “I conducted thorough research to identify potential new suppliers. After creating a shortlist, I initiated contact, negotiated terms, assessed samples for quality and made a selection. I also worked closely with the team to re-adjust the project timeline.”
Result: Share the outcomes of your actions. How did the situation end? Did your actions lead to success? It’s particularly effective if you can quantify these results.
For instance, “As a result of my active problem solving, we were able to secure a new supplier whose costs were actually 10% cheaper and whose quality was comparable. We adjusted the project plan and managed to complete the project just two weeks later than originally planned, despite the major vendor setback.”
Remember, when you’re explaining your problem-solving skills to an interviewer, what they’re really interested in is your approach to handling difficulties, your creativity and persistence in seeking a resolution, and your ability to carry your solution through to fruition. Tailoring your story to highlight these aspects will help exemplify your problem-solving prowess.
Go Deeper: STAR Interview Method Examples
Benefits of Problem-Solving
Problem-solving is beneficial for the following reasons (among others):
- It can help you to overcome challenges, roadblocks, and bottlenecks in your life.
- It can save a company money.
- It can help you to achieve clarity in your thinking.
- It can make procedures more efficient and save time.
- It can strengthen your decision-making capacities.
- It can lead to better risk management.
Whether for a job interview or school, problem-solving helps you to become a better thinking, solve your problems more effectively, and achieve your goals. Build up your problem-solving frameworks (I presented over 40 in this piece for you!) and work on applying them in real-life situations.
Chris Drew (PhD)
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 10 Secondary Data Sources
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 13 Secondary Data Examples
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 31 Instinct Examples (In Humans and Animals)
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ Montessori vs Reggio Emilia vs Steiner-Waldorf vs Froebel
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31 examples of problem solving performance review phrases
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You're doing great
You should think of improving
Tips to improve
Use these practical examples of phrases, sample comments, and templates for your performance review , 360-degree feedback survey, or manager appraisal.
The following examples not only relate to problem-solving but also conflict management , effective solutions, selecting the best alternatives, decision making , problem identification, analyzing effectively, and generally becoming an effective problem-solving strategist. Start using effective performance review questions to help better guide your workforce's development.
Problem solving appraisal comments: you're doing great
- You always maintain an effective dialogue with clients when they have technical problems. Being clear and articulate makes sure our customers' faults are attended to promptly.
- You constantly make sure to look beyond the obvious you never stop at the first answer. You’re really good at exploring alternatives. Well done!
- Keeping the supervisors and managers informed of status changes and requests is important. You’re really good at communicating the changes to the projects at all times. Keep it up!
- You stay cool and collected even when things aren’t going according to plan or up in the air. This is a great trait to possess. Well done!
- You’re excellent at giving an honest and logical analysis. Keep it up! Effectively diagnosing complex problems and reaching sustainable solutions is one of your strong points.
- Your ability to ability to make complex systems into simple ones is truly a unique skill to possess. Well done!
- You often identify practical solutions to every roadblock. You’re a real asset to the team! Great job.
- You always listen actively and attentively to make sure you understand what the exact problem is and you come up with solutions in an effective manner.
- You have an amazing ability to clearly explain options and solutions effectively and efficiently. Well done!
- When driving projects, you can shift to other areas comfortably and easily. making sure the project runs smoothly. Great job!
Problem solving performance review phrases: you should think of improving
- You always seem too overwhelmed when faced with multiple problems. Try to think of ways to make problems more manageable so that they can be solved in a timely and effective manner.
- Avoiding conflicts constantly with people is not a good idea as you will only build up personal frustration and nothing will be done to remedy the situation. Try to face people when there are problems and rectify problems when they occur.
- Don’t allow demanding customers to rattle your cage too much. If they become too demanding, take a step back, regulate your emotions , and try to make use of online support tools to help you rectify problems these tools can help a lot!
- It’s necessary that you learn from your past mistakes . You cannot keep making the same mistakes , as this is not beneficial to the company.
- You tend to ask the same questions over and over again. Try to listen more attentively or take notes when colleagues are answering!
- Providing multiple solutions in an indirect and creative approach will allow you to be more effective at problem-solving . if you struggle with this typically through viewing the problem in a new and unusual light.
- You fail to provide staff with the appropriate amount of structure and direction. They must know the direction you wish them to go in to achieve their goals .
- You need to be able to recognize repetitive trends to solve problems promptly.
- You tend to have problems troubleshooting even the most basic of questions. As a problem solver and customer support person, it’s imperative that you can answer these questions easily.
- Read through your training manual and make sure you fully understand it before attempting questions again.
Performance review tips to improve problem solving
- Try to complain less about problems and come up with solutions to the problems more often. Complaining is not beneficial to progression and innovation.
- As a problem solver, it’s important to be able to handle multiple priorities under short deadlines.
- You need to be able to effectively distinguish between the cause and the symptoms of problems to solve them in an efficient and timely manner.
- Try to anticipate problems in advance before they become major roadblocks down the road.
- Try to view obstacles as opportunities to learn and thrive at the challenge of solving the problem.
- Remember to prioritize problems according to their degree of urgency. It's important that you spend the majority of your time on urgent tasks over menial ones.
- When putting plans into place, stick to them and make sure they are completed.
- When solving problems, try to allocate appropriate levels of resources when undertaking new projects. It is important to become as efficient and as effective as possible.
- Try to learn to pace yourself when solving problems to avoid burnout . You’re a great asset to the team and we cannot afford to lose at this point.
- Meeting regularly with your staff to review results is vital to the problem-solving process.
- Staff that has regular check-ins understand what it is that is required of them, what they are currently achieving, and areas they may need to improve. Try to hold one-on-one meetings every week.
Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelor's in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, she's usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.
10 performance review tips to drastically move the needle
How a performance review template improves the feedback process, 25 performance review questions (and how to use them), 37 innovation and creativity appraisal comments, 6 surefire ways to reach optimal peak performance, agile performance management: how to improve an agile team, 5 tactics for managing managers effectively — and why it matters, 18 questions to ask in a performance self-evaluation, sleep isn’t just a personal issue, it’s a business imperative, similar articles, 10 problem-solving strategies to turn challenges on their head, teamwork skills self-appraisal comments: 40 example phrases, your complete guide to self-assessments (with examples), 30 communication feedback examples, effective problem statements have these 5 components, finding your version of success: 29 tips to accomplish your goals, 30 customer service review examples to develop your team, 8 creative solutions to your most challenging problems, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..
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10 Best Examples Of Problem-Solving Skills For Interviews
March 13, 2023 by Hannah Morgan
Being prepared to speak about your problem-solving skills is essential if you want to be a competitive applicant for any job. But many job-seekers aren’t sure where to start!
This guide will help you come up with great examples of your problem-solving skills, so you can impress the interviewer.
Table of contents
The importance of demonstrating problem-solving skills, tips for sharing examples of problem-solving in the workplace, problem-solving examples, how to find examples if this is your first job.
Problem-solving skills are a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to your success in any position. Things often veer off course and rarely go according to the plans you make on the job. Because of this, employers want to hire people who can pivot when necessary and resolve problems quickly and efficiently.
Showcasing your problem-solving skills to interviewers is a great way to prove you’re up for any challenge. It’s about showing that you know how to assess a situation, identify issues that arise, get to the root of those problems, and take the necessary steps with available resources to finesse your way out of any pickle. Highlighting your ability to navigate tough situations reassures hiring managers that you’re well-equipped to serve the company’s bottom line no matter what.
It’s an essential skill that will serve you well in any industry. From entry-level jobs up to C-suite executive roles, knowing how to solve problems will take you far.
Interviewers may ask you directly to provide examples of your problem-solving skills in action. Alternatively, they may use a series of questions to gauge your ability to overcome hurdles. Either way, you should use every opportunity to provide examples and prove that you’re capable of filling the role and using your skills to succeed.
There are many ways to discuss your problem-solving skills in the workplace. However, some examples are more effective than others. Follow these tips to choose moments that are impactful enough to leave a lasting impression.
1. Pick Examples That are Relevant to the Position You Want
The best approach when sharing examples is to choose situations that are relevant to the job you want to get. Think about the role and its responsibilities. Study the job description and research as much as you can about what this role entails.
Your goal is to identify common problems you’ll face if offered the position. Some examples are easily translatable across industries. For example, everyone’s had to deal with difficult clients or navigate tight deadlines.
If you want to deliver a memorable answer, choose unique examples that easily tie into the position. Maybe you faced similar challenges in roles you’ve already held in this industry. Or, you might want to provide examples that speak to common hurdles the hiring managers are all-too-familiar tackling.
Keep it related to the position you are interviewing for to make things easier for hiring decision-makers to envision you working in this position. It’s your chance to show precisely how you’d react to the challenges you face in this position.
2. Explain the Process
When giving your example, do more than keep it high level. You want to set the stage, provide some context, and fully explain your process and the skills you used.
That’s what hiring managers are interested in learning more about when speaking to you. Anyone can say they’ve experienced problems and fixed them. That doesn’t provide any meat to your response and barely scratches the surface of what interviewers want to know. (This is a great time to use the STAR interview method ).
Employers are interested in learning about your approach to problem-solving. What steps do you take to find a solution? Do you throw everything at the wall until something sticks? Or are you more methodical?
Hopefully, you’re the latter. Go into detail about what you do to navigate tough situations and find the solutions that work. Let them into your thought process and show them how you operate when push comes to shove.
3. Be Prepared for Follow-Up Questions
If there’s any time that interviewers will ask for follow-ups, it’ll be when talking about your problem-solving skills. This is their chance to poke for more information and gain deeper insight into your methods. You can expect follow-ups.
Don’t find yourself looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
Think about your examples and refresh your memory as much as possible. Because you’re preparing before your interview, consider taking notes about those examples.
Recall specific details. Use the acronym PEPI (Productivity, Efficiency, Profitability, Impact) to quantify your answer. Use values such as dollars or percentage saved, number of people impacted, or time saved.
It’s impossible to know what interviewers will ask, so you need to be well-versed in the events you are talking about. It would be best to remember it as clear as day so that you’re fully prepared to answer any follow-up questions.
4. Keep It Positive
Our final tip is to keep things positive.
Everyone has come up short when trying to resolve a problem. Those moments are teachable and help you grow as a person. But should you talk about them during your interview?
Ideally, you should stick to problem-solving examples with positive outcomes. And never blame or bad-mouth others. Leave out the fact that your boss was a micromanager or that the client had unrealistic expectations. Instead, focus on how the challenging situation helped in your professional development.
Go over what you learned and how you did things differently to make future problems smoother. Employers love to see growth and initiative. Ending on a positive note can make your response memorable while indicating that you’re not done learning.
You should also touch on what positive outcomes came from your efforts. That could be something as simple as avoiding disaster for your company or as impactful as increasing revenue. Highlighting your contributions can make interviewers want you even more.
Need some inspiration? The problem-solving scenarios you discuss should be unique to your own experiences, but we have also provided some solid examples you can use as a jumping-off point.
Here’s a common problem you’ll have to overcome at many jobs. Whether you work in sales or marketing, budget restrictions can severely impact how you work.
Companies operate on limited budgets, and you must often find creative solutions to maximize your resource spending to create a killer final product. This example works because it demonstrates a desired skill: Resourcefulness.
You can provide a real-world example of problem-solving where you had to get resourceful with your work without sacrificing productivity or quality. Detail how you developed a plan of attack, where you found ways to save, and the results of your work.
Using budgetary restrictions as an example of problem-solving shows that you can work with what you have. It reassures hiring managers that you can make the most out of any budget and aren’t afraid to get resourceful when necessary.
Another great example you can use is to talk about a time when you took the initiative to meet with a supervisor about a problem you anticipated.
This is a situation that can determine how successful any given employee is. Your goal is to maximize profits and maintain efficient operations. If you see something that’s not right, employers want you to take action.
That’s why this problem-solving example works so well. Not only does it give you a chance to talk about how you discovered the problem and what steps you took to resolve it, but it shows that you have the initiative to do something, even if it’s outside your wheelhouse.
Detail the problem and explain how you discovered it. Then, go into how you broached the issue with your immediate supervisor and how your initiative saved your company from a major disaster. Think critically about the cost savings this saved the company.
Everyone makes mistakes. But not everyone is willing to admit they did or take steps to resolve the subsequent problems they cause.
This example is a fantastic way to show hiring managers that you do not ignore the problems you create. It takes a lot of guts to own up to your mistakes, let alone talk about them openly during a job interview. Usually, the goal would be to avoid discussing anything that could paint you in a bad light.
But this is an exception.
Reflect on the mistake and detail how you discovered it. Then, share what actions you took. How did you get to the root of the problem, and what did you do to resolve it? You don’t need to go deep into the details of the problem. Instead, focus on the steps you took to correct the misstep.
Don’t be afraid to discuss the self-inflicted nature of the issue. However, make sure to emphasize the positive outcome and touch on the lessons you learned to avoid similar problems in the future.
Navigating Timeline Issues
Scheduling conflicts are another common occurrence in the workplace. Deadlines can pile up, forcing you to reevaluate your time-management skills or be at risk of delivering subpar work.
A good way to talk about your problem-solving skills is to reference when you had to actively change how you prioritize your work . Consider sharing a situation where the timelines were stressful, and the resources were too tight to pass your work to someone else.
Explain how you discovered that your workload was too much to handle. Then, detail what you did to reassess and reprioritize. Highlight the changes you made and why they were impactful.
End on a positive note to show the good results of your problem-solving skills. Include the value of getting the project back on track. You can also bring up the lessons you learned and how this situation helped you evolve as an employee and avoid similar problems in the future.
Sometimes, projects experience a rough start. This is especially true if you’re working on a multi-department effort that requires coordination between multiple teams.
That means a great example of problem-solving skills is talking about a time when you helped turn a project around for the better. Reflect on a situation that required your direct intervention to turn around.
This example is superb because it shows you know how to solve issues under intense pressure. It also proves that you’re capable of interdepartmental collaboration and can overcome hurdles that cause others to falter.
Describe how you reinvigorated the project by meeting with every department and explaining how the effort was at risk of falling behind. Explain your communication process and what changes you implemented to get everything back on track. Perhaps you created a new deliverables timeline and scheduled follow-up meetings to check progress.
End on the positive results and how the finished project benefited from your intervention. Use specific numbers or percentages to emphasize time saved.
Taking Action to Get Clarity
Here’s a suitable example for those who don’t have much real-world experience. Though, you can adjust the example if you have a similar story about on-the-job challenges.
In this example, you can talk about a time when you had to speak up to get clarity, despite seemingly being the only one confused about what was expected of you.
It’s a common scenario that occurs in meetings. You may sit through part of a presentation being utterly confused about the subject matter. You’re probably not the only one, but no one else feels like speaking up to ask questions.
Describe how you took the initiative to make sure everything was crystal clear. Talk about how you spoke up in the room or scheduled a meeting with your manager to ensure that you’re all on the same page. Also, think about including what didn’t happen. It could have extended a timeline by days or cost the company tens of thousands of dollars.
It sounds like a simple enough solution, but it’s one that many fail to reach.
We live in a data-heavy world, and organizations often use data to guide their decision-making. But it’s not a perfect science.
Companies can make sweeping changes based on outdated or biased information. One example you can use to display your problem-solving skills is about a time when you found additional insights that changed how your company moved forward with a big decision.
Whether you were in charge of data acquisition or not, you might have taken the initiative because you felt the information provided was inaccurate.
Describe how you came to that conclusion and why you felt the company was headed in the wrong direction. What were the red flags, and how did you get to the core of the problem?
Detail what you did to obtain the proper research and present it to key decision-makers. End on a positive outcome, and be sure to include the cost savings this had for your company. This helps you prove you’re an asset to the company you’re currently interviewing for.
Here’s an example hiring managers would love to hear more about during your interview.
If you have a moment from your past that allowed you to directly boost company profits, don’t hesitate to discuss it! Employers want to hear about major contributions like this because it shows how you can be an asset to the bottom line.
Think about when you realized you could find ways to make new or existing products more profitable. Your plan might have involved adjustments to current sales strategies, the development of new marketing initiatives, innovative sales ideas, etc.
Whatever the case, describe how you found room for growth. Explain your thought process and go into detail about how you pitched your ideas to sales leaders. Quantify the profit you contributed by bringing the idea forward. l
Once again, this example is about problem-solving and taking action. Furthermore, it highlights your creative thinking and illustrates a relevant skill that can make a difference in a sales-focused job.
Far too many people are content with doing things the way they’ve always been done. It’s fear of “rocking the boat” or hesitation to make pitches that fall outside standard job responsibilities.
An example of problem-solving that involves you making suggestions on how to streamline and improve operations can leave a lasting impact on hiring managers. These examples work because they show how you solved a relevant problem in any industry. Every organization can benefit from better efficiency.
Talk about the problems you noticed and how they affected the bottom line. Detail how you came to that conclusion and what rabbit holes you followed to get there. Describe the root of the problem and what ideas you bounced around to solve it.
Whether it was a simple change that resulted in substantial operational cost savings or an exploration into brand-new tools that took productivity through the roof, use numbers to prove your point. This example can significantly improve your chances of continuing in the hiring process.
Our final example of problem-solving is to talk about a situation when a former company was in dire need of better communication. Maybe important information got lost by the wayside due to a lack of a centralized communication hub. Or perhaps the managerial hierarchy left too much room for miscommunication.
Whatever the case, showing that you know how to solve communication barriers can work in your favor. Good communication is crucial to the success of countless industries. Detailing how you solved these problems can make you look like a skilled innovator ready to tackle the organization’s current issues.
Explain how you discovered the communication errors and what it took to understand your company’s core problem. Describe the changes you recommended and how they ultimately improved efficiency for the organization.
If this is your first job, you may feel that you don’t have enough work experience to provide meaningful examples of your problem-solving skills.
But that’s not the case. There are plenty of non-work related avenues to go.
Think about your education. You may have experience working in a collaborative environment rife with issues. Or, you could have experienced workload management problems that forced you to reevaluate and find solutions that helped you stay on top of your responsibilities.
You can also reflect on volunteering opportunities, internships, and even part-time jobs you held during your education. Get creative and think outside the job to develop examples illustrating your problem-solving skills.
Being ready to give examples of your problem-solving skills in action will go a long way when it comes to getting a job offer.
If you follow our recommendations and use our examples for inspiration, you’ll be well on your way!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success .
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Common Problem-Solving Interview Questions and Answers
By Status.net Editorial Team on November 22, 2023 — 9 minutes to read
As you walk into a problem-solving interview, it’s normal to feel nervous about what to expect. These interviews are aimed at assessing how well you can analyze a problem, develop an approach, and arrive at a solution. Employers want to see how you think, break down complex situations into manageable parts, and use creativity to find answers. To help you navigate these interviews, let’s go over some common types of problem-solving questions and answers.
“Can you describe a difficult problem you faced at work and how you solved it?”
When answering this question, choose a specific problem that you faced at work. Make sure to provide a clear description of the issue, the steps you took to address it, and the outcome. Demonstrating that you’re capable of breaking down problems and taking a logical, methodical approach to finding a solution is key.
Example: “At my previous job, our team was struggling with meeting sales targets. I conducted a thorough analysis of our sales data and identified trends in customer behavior. Based on the findings, I recommended a new marketing strategy, which led to a significant increase in sales.”
“Share a time when you had to think creatively to overcome a challenge.”
This question is all about highlighting your ability to think outside the box. Choose an instance where you had to develop a creative solution to solve a problem and demonstrate how your innovative thinking helped achieve a positive outcome.
Example: “When I was working as a project manager, our team was facing budget constraints that threatened the project’s timeline. I came up with an idea to streamline processes and reduce expenses by utilizing free online collaboration tools, which ultimately saved resources and allowed the project to stay on track.”
“How do you approach handling tight deadlines and multiple tasks?”
Employers want to know that you can handle pressure and prioritize your workload effectively. To answer this question, describe specific strategies you’ve used to juggle multiple tasks and meet tight deadlines, such as setting daily goals, using time management tools, or delegating tasks when appropriate.
Example: “When facing multiple tasks and tight deadlines, I start by making a detailed to-do list and assigning each task a priority level. I then tackle the most time-sensitive and essential tasks first and work my way down the list. If necessary, I’ll reach out to my colleagues for assistance or delegate some tasks to ensure everything gets completed on time.”
“Tell me about a time when your team faced a conflict, and how did you help resolve it?”
This question is aimed at understanding your conflict resolution skills and ability to work well in a team. Describe a specific instance where your team faced a conflict and explain the steps you took to address the issue, making sure to highlight your communication and collaboration skills.
Example: “When I was leading a team project, two team members had a disagreement regarding the project’s direction. I organized a meeting where everyone could express their opinions and concerns. Together, we were able to come to a consensus and adjust the project plan accordingly, leading to a successful outcome.”
“What steps do you take to identify and prioritize issues when problems arise?”
Showcase your problem-solving process by providing a clear description of the steps you take to identify and prioritize issues. Emphasize your ability to analyze situations, stay organized, and make well-informed decisions.
Example: “When problems arise, I first gather information to get a clear understanding of the situation. Next, I assess the severity and urgency of each issue and prioritize them based on their impact on the project or business objective. Once the priorities are established, I create an action plan to address the most pressing issues first and continue working down the list.”
“Describe an instance where you used your analytical skills to find a solution.”
Employers value analytical thinking as it helps assess complex situations and make sound decisions. Choose a specific example where your analytical skills were put to the test and explain how your analysis led to a successful outcome.
Example: “While working as a financial analyst, I spotted discrepancies in a client’s financial reports. By conducting a thorough examination of the data and identifying irregularities in their expenses, I helped the client uncover a case of fraudulent activity. This led to the implementation of stricter internal controls, preventing future fraud occurrences.”
Related: How to Answer 9 Common Situational Interview Questions
How to Answer 11 Common Behavioral Interview Questions
Types of Problem-Solving Interview Questions
These questions focus on your ability to collect and analyze information, as well as make deductions based on your findings. Employers want to see that you can dig deep and uncover relevant points before arriving at a conclusion. A couple examples of fact-finding questions include:
- How would you investigate an issue with falling sales numbers?
- Can you walk me through how you would analyze the performance of a new product?
To answer fact-finding questions, pay attention to details, use concrete examples, and demonstrate a structured approach to the problem at hand.
Logic and Reasoning Questions
Logic and reasoning questions assess your ability to think critically and objectively to identify the underlying cause of a problem. Employers want to see if you can apply logic to make informed decisions based on sound reasoning. Some examples of logic and reasoning questions include:
- If you were given a problem with two seemingly correct solutions, how would you determine the best course of action?
- How do you decide on the correct priority when faced with various tasks or issues?
When answering logic and reasoning questions, think out loud and reveal your thought process. Incorporate critical thinking techniques and showcase your ability to weigh the pros and cons of different solutions.
Creative Thinking Questions
Creative thinking questions evaluate your ability to come up with original ideas or unconventional approaches to solving problems. Your potential employer wants to see if you can think outside the box and innovate when faced with new situations. Some examples of creative thinking questions may be:
- Describe a situation where you had to solve a problem using an unexpected approach. How did you develop this solution?
- Can you provide an example of when you collaborated on a project that required unique ideas to meet a deadline?
To answer creative thinking questions, highlight your ability to brainstorm and be resourceful. Show that you can adapt and find new solutions to unexpected challenges.
Issue Resolution Questions
Issue resolution questions focus on your ability to resolve conflicts and reach a compromise while working with others. Employers want to ensure that you can effectively communicate, negotiate, and work with people in difficult situations. A few examples of issue resolution questions are:
- Describe a conflict that occurred within a team, and explain how you helped resolve it.
- How do you handle circumstances when two team members have differing opinions on a project?
In responding to issue resolution questions, emphasize your active listening skills, diplomacy, and ability to empathize with others’ perspectives. Show that you can find a resolution that benefits all parties involved, while maintaining a positive and productive working environment.
Crafting Effective Responses
Understanding the problem.
To craft an effective response to a problem-solving interview question, first, make sure you understand the problem. Listen carefully and take notes if necessary. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or additional information to ensure you have a complete understanding of the problem. This will show the interviewer that you are thorough and detail-oriented.
Creating a Plan
Next, break down the problem into smaller, manageable steps. This will help you structure your response and demonstrate your ability to think logically. Outline the steps you would take to solve the problem and prioritize them according to importance or urgency.
- Identify the root cause : Determine the primary issue that needs to be addressed.
- Gather necessary information : Collect data and consult with relevant parties to get a complete understanding of the situation.
- Develop possible solutions : Brainstorm different approaches to tackle the problem and list the pros and cons of each solution.
Once you have a plan in place, be prepared to discuss how you would implement your chosen solution. This may include elements such as identifying resources and stakeholders, setting a timeline for completion, and assigning tasks to relevant team members. Use specific examples to illustrate your points, and be prepared to explain your rationale for each decision.
For instance, you might say, “I would first gather a team of experts in the field to analyze the data and come up with recommendations. We would create and assign tasks to the team members with deadlines to ensure timely progress. Regular check-ins and progress updates would be scheduled to keep everyone on track and address any issues that arise.”
After discussing how you would implement your solution, describe how you would evaluate its effectiveness. This might involve tracking and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs), gathering feedback from stakeholders, or conducting post-implementation reviews to identify lessons learned.
Make your evaluation process concrete by providing examples like these:
- Measuring KPIs : “We would track metrics such as customer satisfaction and retention rates to determine the effectiveness of our solution.”
- Stakeholder feedback : “We would collect feedback from team members and stakeholders to better understand the impact of our solution on the larger organization.”
- Post-implementation reviews : “We would conduct periodic reviews to identify areas where we can improve and optimize our solution.”
Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Too much detail.
Sometimes, you might go into too much detail when answering problem-solving interview questions. It’s important to strike a balance between being thorough and being concise. To avoid this mistake, practice summarizing your experience and the steps you took in solving problems. Use bullet points to help you stay organized and focused on the key points.
- Identify the key elements of the problem
- Outline your thought process and steps briefly
- Don’t get lost in unrelated details
Not Enough Detail
On the other hand, not providing enough detail in your answers can leave the interviewer with a lack of understanding about your problem-solving skills. To avoid this, make sure you’re clear about the problem, the steps you took to address it, and the outcomes you achieved. Back up your answers with examples from your past experiences.
- Explain the problem and why it was significant
- Share specific steps you took to solve the problem
- Discuss the outcomes and any lessons learned
Failing to Relate to Job Role
Another common mistake is failing to connect your answers to the job role you’re interviewing for. Always keep the job requirements and responsibilities in mind when talking about your problem-solving skills. Show how your experiences and approach to problem-solving will directly benefit their organization in the position you’re interviewing for.
- Understand the job requirements and responsibilities
- Relate your answers to the specific context of the job
- Explain how your problem-solving skills will directly benefit the organization
Misunderstanding the Question
It can be easy to miss the point of a question or not understand what the interviewer is asking. Misunderstanding the question can lead to an irrelevant answer. To prevent this, take a moment to process the question and, if necessary, ask the interviewer to clarify. This shows that you’re attentive and genuinely interested in giving a thoughtful answer.
- Listen carefully to the question and take a moment to process it
- If needed, ask the interviewer for clarification
- Respond with a focused and relevant answer
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10 Problem Solving Skills Examples: How To Improve
Problem-solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment. This process has some effective steps, with examples of every possible skill, and how to demonstrate that you have strong problem-solving skills with examples. When employers talk about analytical and problem-solving skills examples, they often mention the ability to work in difficult places and in complex business challenges to handle difficult or unexpected situations.
Companies can both evaluate and reliably depend on people who can solve the solution by dint of problem-solving examples in the workplace.
Problem-solving skills are what you are capable of doing. Although problem-solving skills are valued by employers, they are also very beneficial in relation to relationships and other areas of lifestyle decisions.
Related: Problem Solving Skills – Definitions, Importance, Steps, and Examples
What are problem-solving skills?
A soft skill (a personal strength, in contrast to the difficult skills, learned through education or training), the competence to solve creative and functional problems, yet, employers are among the most valuable qualities of their job applicants. Problem-solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment.
For example, a cable television technician is trying to solve customer problems with weak signals. A teacher needs to determine how to improve the performance of his students in the writing skills test. A store manager might try to reduce the theft of goods. A computer expert may be looking for a way to speed up a slow program.
The problem-solving skills help you to determine the source of the problem and find effective solutions. Although problem-solving is often identified as its own skill, other skills contribute to problem-solving interview questions and answer examples.
Some important problem-solving skills include:
- Active hearing
- Decision was taken
- Form a team
Problem-solving skills are important in each career at each level. As a result, industrial or work-specific technical skills may be needed to solve the effective problem.
For example, a registered nurse needs active listening and communication skills in interacting with patients, but also requires effective technical knowledge about diseases and medicines. In many cases, a nurse will need to know when consulting a doctor for a patient’s treatment as part of the solution.
Problem-solving skills examples
To solve a problem effectively, you probably need to use a few different skills. Here are some problem-solving skills selection criteria answers you can use to solve problems here:
Problem-solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment. When identifying possible solutions, you need to know how to communicate the problem to others.
If you want help, you need to know which communication channels are most appropriate. Once finding solutions, it will be easy to communicate clearly and reduce confusion and implement the solution.
Dependency is one of the most important skills for problem solvers. The problem is solved in a timely manner. Employers can trust both very valuable person to identify and then implement quick and effective solutions.
An essential skill related to research problem-solving. As a troubleshooter, you will be able to identify the cause of the problem and fully understand it.
You can begin to gather more information about an issue by consulting with other team members, collecting more experienced information, giving advice to more experienced colleagues, or acquiring knowledge through online research or curriculum.
The first step to solving the problem is to analyze the situation. Your analytical skills will help you to understand the problem and develop solutions effectively.
You need analytical skills during research to help differentiate between effective and viable solutions. Problem-solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment.
5. Decision making
Finally, you have to decide on the solution to the problems that you solve. At times (and with industry experience), you can be able to make quick decisions and good examples of problem-solving for an interview.
How to show the problem-solving skills
Showing your problem-solving skills in your resume and cover letter can help you understand how Employers can be quick to their team as a part of examples of problem-solving interview questions.
The problem-solving problem for your resume can only be considered if it is particularly relevant to the position you have applied for For example, customer service, engineering, and management positions, with the ability to solve problems, will be good candidates.
Problem-solving skills for resume
In your resume, you can highlight your problem-solving skills in various places: By giving a specific example in the “Skills” section, the “Success” category, troubleshooting solutions in your “Experience” section, and application of life skills and solving the problem in a real-life situation.
In the proficiency section, you can list the key problem-solving skills you have instead of just writing more complicated terms “problem solving”. For example, you can keep certain technical skills with you that will help you solve problems or solve soft skills, such as your research ability or your ability to make decisions.
Remember, stories are powerful. Keep a specific example in mind while you solve a problem. This is useful for your resume but will help you to answer the interview question, “Tell me about the obstruction that you have me.”
Problem Solving Skills for Cover Letter
Your cover letter is also a great opportunity to expand your problem solving skills. Here, you can give a brief example of the time to successfully solve a problem. Otherwise, you can identify a challenge that this potential employer is trying to solve and explain how you can solve a proactive approach to problem solving examples.
For example, if a job posting mentions that the company is looking for someone to help improve its social media presence, you can identify how to help increase awareness of the brand through various social media platforms.
The steps to solve the problem
Now you’ve made a list of possible issues intelligent, your next step is to think of effective solutions for this problem, to mention the skills needed to solve them. Here are some of the most commonly used steps in solving problems, their related skills, and the different career areas where they are used.
1. Analysis of reasons or reasons contributing to unwanted situations
To solve a problem, you must first determine the reason for this. For this, you have to identify and evaluate the data, detach the potential given situations, and identify the main reasons for resolving the problem as a part of demonstrated analytical and problem-solving skills examples.
- Historical analysis
- Reason Analysis
- Process Analysis
- Need identification
- Data collection
- Data analysis
Examples: Determining illness, identifying the causes of social problems, explaining the data to determine the extent of problems, conflicts of marital affidavits, recognition of illegal research models
2. Create a set of alternative interventions to achieve your last goal
Once you are making a problem once, it’s time to come up with possible alternative solutions. Sometimes this involves teamwork, two (or more) minds are often better than one. This is a complex strategy that is the obvious way of solving complex problems; Creating a set of options helps you cover your bases and helps reduce your risk exposure that your first strategy fails.
- Project design
- Project planning
- Creative thinking
Examples: Brainstorming Solutions, Development Treatment Plans, Devising and Testing Hypotheses
3. Best solution evaluation
Depending on the nature of the problem and your discipline, the best solutions can be guided by the evaluated teams, parties, or leadership, or may move forward to big corporate decision-makers.
Anyone who decides on possible costs, necessary resources, and possible breakthroughs to implement successful solutions should be evaluated for effective problem-solving skills in nursing examples.
- Test development
For example: evaluating alternate options to reduce pressure, offering diplomatic solutions in conflict, opting out of employees during business hours, troubleshooting computer goods
4. Implement a plan
Once a decision has been made, it must be applied, with a benchmark that can quickly and accurately determine whether it is working to solve a problem. The implementation of the plan generally involves the workers being careful to change their standard operating system (SOPs).
- Time management
- Benchmark development
- Project management
- Project implementation
For example implementation barrier, implementation solution, interpersonal conflict intermediation, repair of retrofitted equipment, as a part of analytical and problem-solving skills selection criteria answers
5. Evaluate the effectiveness of your intervention
Once the solution is implemented, the best problem-solvent system is to determine how quickly and fast its function is, as well as business problem-solving examples. In this way, they will know whether the problem has been solved as soon as possible, or alternatively, they will know whether their reaction to the medium flow is changed.
- Customer feedback
- Problem solve
For example Surveying End Users, Comparing Production Statistics, YYY Sales Statistics Evaluation
Tips for answering a question about the problem solving interview
You do not have to answer a cookie-cutter. Employers are always interested in people who can think out of the box and present new solutions, especially when older people do not work.
The most important thing is to show your answers to your problem solving skills. If interviews offer a possible problem, share how you would solve it.
When you explain your thinking process, use the steps listed above (from the analysis of the reason for evaluating the effectiveness of your interventions). Or, share an example of the problem you solved in the previous introduction. Explain how and why you solved this problem.
Sample interview answer skills solution skills
Problem solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment and problem-solving skills examples for resume. Here are some examples of how job applicants can describe their problem-solving skills in different occupations:
As a nurse practitioner, my primary responsibility is to use my problem-solving skills to diagnose illnesses and develop treatment plans. With each patient, I can determine whether we can determine whether they can analyze their medical history, their symptoms, and their possible exposure to various diseases, or see immediately if we need blood tests. I then develop a care plan and, if warranted, perform follow-up calls to check the recovery process.
When I first rented as parallel, I inherited a set of 35 backlinks that needed summary summaries, each hundred pages were long. However, at the same time, I had to help in preparing the attorney for three main cases, and there was not enough time just for the day. After explaining the problem to my supervisor, he and the attorney agreed to pay me for the coming Saturday morning to focus on the backlog. I was thus able to extract it in one month.
When I joined Great Graphics as an article director, the designer becomes deficient and unknowable due to being a former director trying to micromanage at every stage of the design process as creative problem-solving examples for interviews.
I used weekly round-table talks to request creative inputs and made sure that every designer was given full autonomy to do their best work. I also introduced the monthly team-based competition that helped build psychology, spread exciting new ideas, and improve cooperation.
Interviews can also provide an example of possible problems and then ask you to outline the steps to address them. To prepare, the problem arising from your case is usually brainstorming.
More problem solving solutions
The list below includes general strategies involved in solving problems. An answer to this problem-solving problem can be useful to include your answers to an interview question.
- Implementation barriers
- Interference Performance Evaluation
- Brainstorming Solutions
- Define the causes of stress effects
- Development Planning Plan
- Devising a classroom management plan to address student abuse
- Devising hypothesis
- Draw a compromise around a set of solutions
- Optional strategy assessment to reduce pressure
- Find Middle Ground
- Flexibility to try new methods
- Identify the reasons for social problems
- Identify the interests of all parties
- Implementation solution
- Explain the information to explain the problem
- Interpersonal conflict intermediation
- Contribution to the marital plight of discretion
- The resolution of diplomatic solutions to settle border disputes
- Recognition of illegal research models
- Recommend ways to improve communication between relationships
- Repair of repair equipment
- A customer complaint solution
- A budget reconstruction after a fiscal short-cut
- Selection of Lay Off staff during a business recession
- Test hypotheses
- Computer Malfunctions Problem Solving
- Verifying the data to correctly identify the problem
The solution to the problem is to be reasonable, to imagine, to create a situation, and to bring an intelligent solution. In fact, the best troubleshooter hopes for possible potential future problems and works to prevent them or reduce their effects.
The problem-solving skills are associated with other skills, including:
- Analytical skills
- Innovative and creative thinking
- A difference mentality
- Adaptation and flexibility
- Layer locks
- Elasticity (for reassessing when your first idea does not work)
- team working (problem-solving is a team effort)
- Skills Impact (get colleagues, clients, and bosses to accept your solution).
Problem detection is often an essential component of the new business or product idea – and, for example, the entrepreneur of solving problems. It is an important element of good leadership.
Why all graduates need skills to solve problems at work
Turn around to find some graduate career solutions – for example, engineering, management consulting, scientific research, and technology as a part of analytical and problem-solving skills selection criteria examples.
Meanwhile, other staff graduates may be expected to resolve their growing times of employment: For example, coach managers should deal with operational problems (such as delays in the supply chain) or resolve conflicts between group members.
In fact, the ability to solve the problem is an essential part of an employee’s skill set, even if it is not specific to the job description.
How will employers evaluate your problem-solving skills?
Your problem-solving skills can be evaluated in three ways: before you ask the examples of time to solve a problem; Present certain imaginary scenarios and how you react to them, And see how many experiments and exercises apply to your problem-solving skills.
Interview questions about skill-based application and problem solving
For example, when you solve the problem of an application form – for example, an engineering company’s application form already includes the question ‘Please tell us a problem when using our technical expertise and knowledge’. But more likely to problem-solving interview questions examples include:
- Give me an example of when you run into a problem in a project. What did you do ?
- Give me an example of a difficult problem to solve outside of your course. How do you communicate it?
- Tell me about the time you work through a problem as a team.
- Have you ever disagreed with the team members? How was it resolved?
- When you see a possible problem, give it an example and it takes steps to become one.
- Give me an example of when you are managing a big crisis.
- Let me give you an example of thinking as well.
Hypothetical interview questions about problem-solving
Interviewers also want to know how to contact you with problems you might encounter at work. Specific interview questions will vary according to work, but the common ones include:
- How would you deal with the conflict at work? (Especially trainer managers and graduate HR professionals can be asked.)
- What to do if you have an unexpected delay due to supply chain issues? (This can be specifically asked in construction, supply, or retail interview).
- What do you do if a client or customer raises a complaint?
- Do you notice if a colleague is fighting with their work?
- How would you react if given a negative reaction by a director of an aspect of your performance?
- How do you judge how you will use your own initiative or ask for help?
Examination for problem-solving and undergraduate work
Various tests that employers can determine skills to solve your problem include:
Online skills, captivating, and power test. These are usually taken part in the application stage, although they can be repeated in an evaluation center. The tests for evaluating your problem-solving skills are situational judgment tests and your reasonable assessment or graphical reasoning tests that evaluate your logic.
Video ‘Immersion Experience’, game-based recruitment practice, or virtual reality assessment. These methods are not yet widely used, but they are becoming more common. They are usually interviewed before facing the interview or evaluation center.
Case study exercises. Work on this general evaluation center. You set a business problem, usually associated with the sector you are working in, and it has been asked to recommend separately or in groups to resolve it. You will usually be asked to outline your proposals in your presentation or written form, a task that will verify your ability to interpret your problem-solving process.
In-tray (or e-tray) exercise. These are always set in an evaluation center but can be part of the online testing phase nowadays. In practice, practice your time management skills initially, but assess your ability to identify a potential problem and take steps to solve it.
Job-specific or task-specific exercises are given in an evaluation center or an interview. If set, it will be related to the role you are implementing, and you will need to fix any issues or fix errors with analytical thinking and problem-solving examples.
For example, for Civil and structural engineering candidates, the answers to the client’s short and-answer questions need to be sketched in a design, and the editorial role can be asked to prove the copies or spot errors in the pages of the candidate’s page (publishing fully designed pages).
How to develop your problem-solving skills and showcase
Here are some tips on how to develop problem-solving strategies for employers.
Find opportunities to get a solution
Dealing with any problems in the following situations will help you to get the problem-solving skills, without even realizing it:
- Sort your technical problem with your phone, device, or computer.
- To solve a dispute with a clever landlord to get your deposit back.
- DIY carry out.
- A claim is to serve the customer or to resolve a complaint.
- Find a way to round a fund shortage to pay for travel or a gap year.
- Turning towards financing or increasing the membership of a struggling student community.
- Organize a student society trip abroad, unexpected difficulties beyond the way.
- A course rep and played as a mentor for other students.
You should also have the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills through your research. In many areas such as engineering and computer science, many hiring has evolved to solve the problem in a clear way, for example, there are no article articles in English literature. However, then, English literary students may also face difficulties in determining educational issues such as the best source elements.
Some professional organizations (for example, to build) compete for students, which often advocate solving problems faced by students of the industry; This can provide good evidence of your problem-solving skills.
Sudoku and chess games can strengthen your ability to think strategically and creatively.
Prior to the recruitment practice
Any candidate, a high-flying affair, can be added to an online exam or an assessment center for the first time, so please do whatever you can to practice beforehand. Free and paid-for-us-access links. Contact your carrier service and book a comedic interview or a mock assessment center.
Remember the solution to this problem
If you are available with a scenario or case study during the graduate recruitment process, you can try using the IDEAL model described in Solver, to Brandford and Stein in their book Ideal Problem Solutions. Break the problem you have to solve in order to solve the problem:
- Mark the problem
- Define the barrier
- Check your options
- Action on an agreed course of action
- See how it is active, and whether you need to make any changes.
Give the details of your answer
Explain how you have identified the problem, solve it, and implement it with examples of problem-solving skills in the workplace.
Quantifiable results are good, and perhaps in more complicated situations, more successful outcomes Qualifications-based interview questions follow the star strategy described in our article.
If you face a problem as part of a team, explain how important your role is to ensure a positive solution, but explain how your group worked together. These may be the opportunity to promote your team working skills as well.
How to Stand Out Your Skills
Highlight your skills in your resume: Your problem-solving skills should show your cover letter, resume, and application materials. Be prepared to discuss phone calls and specific ways of using your skills to solve problems during the interview.
Specify the relevant skills in your cover letter: See the previous roles-whether in academic, work, or volunteer settings-for examples of challenges and for solving your problems while carrying out each function with examples of problem-solving scenarios in the workplace.
You can highlight relevant examples in your cover letter. You can frame bullet points in your resume to show how you can solve the problem.
Be prepared to describe how you can solve the problem: At the time of the interview, the situations that you face in previous roles, to solve the problems, be prepared to describe the procedures you follow, the skills you apply, and the results of your operation. Possible employers are eager to hear a coherent description of the specific ways you’ve used the skills to solve the problem.
How to Improve skills
Dedicated research and solid analytical skills can facilitate those who have less experience in their field. There may be times when a solution may take some time or it can increase the problem to a person who is able to solve the problem.
There are several useful ways you can be able to improve your problem-solving skills. Whether you are looking for a job or working now, improving your problem-solving skills and related skills will help you to support a strong candidate and employee with examples of problem solving interview answers.
Earn more technical knowledge of your case. Depending on your industry, if you have technical knowledge of powerful work, it can be easier to solve the problem. You can make more technical knowledge through additional coursework, training, or practice.
Practice problems While learning to develop your problem-solving skills, practice, and roles may be useful tools to play. You can find solutions to professional practice books and online troubleshooting solutions for your industry. How you can solve that problem and determine whether your potential solutions are effective.
For example, how do you manage customer service such as “How to manage a gross customer?” Or “How do the customers show their reaction?” Can find a scenario like this. When they get to the job, the industry can help them with quick solutions with problem-solving interview answers examples.
Find solutions to the problem by dint of problem-solving examples for performance review.
By putting yourself in new situations, you are more likely to open up opportunities to solve the problem. In your current role, new projects have the opportunity to be volunteers, outside of the workplace for other organizations or outside the organization.
Observe how others solve the problem. The skilled problem solver who can have your colleagues. How those colleagues solve the problem can help you improve your own skills.
If possible, ask one of your more experienced colleagues if you can follow their strategy. Asking relevant questions can be helpful in applying your own career.
1. Participate in Yoga
The highly effective mixture of body consciousness, breathing, and meditation that’s required throughout yoga observe has been proven to considerably increase cognitive take look at scores.
Other outcomes from a University of Illinois research embrace shorter response times, more accuracy, and increased consideration based on problem-solving skills selection criteria example.
2. Play Some Soccer
A link has been discovered between our mind’s “executive functions” and sports activities’ success with problem solving scenario interview questions.
When in motion, our brains are shortly multitasking between shifting, anticipating, strategizing, reacting, and performing. Doing all these items directly requires an unlimited quantity of mental exercise.
This may be associated with our working world once we plan, motivate, monitor our actions, and problem-solve suddenly. Therefore, it could be concluded that if you play soccer or some other fast-moving sport, you’re rewiring your mind to be quicker at considering, processing, and reacting to issues.
3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
More than some other sleeping or awake state, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep straight enhances creative processing within the mind with analytical problem solving skills examples.
REM sleep helps “stimulate associative networks, allowing the brain to make new and useful associations between unrelated ideas” and is “not due to selective memory enhancements” equivalent to reminiscence consolidation, which happens when awake.
4. Eat Some Cheerios
The Cheerios Effect is the name physicists have given to the occasion that occurs when the previous few cheerios in a bowl at all times cling to one another. The explanation for this incidence is floor stress with the help of thinking and problem solving soft skills examples.
The takeaway is that in relation to experiencing stress while attempting to resolve an issue, cling to those around you. Rely on others’ experiences and concepts, even these from totally different professional fields. Draw connections. Brainstorm. Work collectively to get the job carried out.
5. Dance Your Heart Out
Did you recognize that dancing has an optimistic effect on neural processing, probably growing new neural pathways to go around dopamine-depleted blockages within the mind?
This signifies that for those who have interaction in ballet or one other type of structured dance, doing so could facilitate convergent considering. In different phrases, it could assist you to discover a single, applicable reply to an issue examples of problem solving skills in administration.
If you need assistance with divergent considering (discovering a number of solutions to an issue), participating in additional improvised kinds of dance equivalent to hip-hop or faucet would possibly just do the trick.
6. Keep an “Idea Journal” with You
Problem solving with a journal you’ll be capable of shortly filing vital ideas, writing down private experiences, making sketches, and discovering concepts if you hold “Idea Journal” with you always with problem solving selection criteria examples.
Working out issues by sorting your ideas on paper after which viewing them more objectively is less complicated than having all of your ideas caught in your head (and can present higher problem-solving methods).
7. Use Mind Maps to Help Visualize the Problem
Mind Maps, a visible snapshot of an issue and its doable options, can assist focus thoughts, stimulate the brain, improve the capability for creative considering, and generate more concepts for options.
Make a Mind Map by drawing your drawback because of the central concept. Add “main branches” consisting of all the explanations for the issue. Use “sub-branches” to discover further particulars.
Next, make a separate Mind Map of all doable options to the central drawback. Add “main branches” exhibiting all of the ways in which your drawback may be solved, equivalent to colleagues that may assist, methods you may apply, and different assets you need to use.
Add “sub-branches” to additional discover the small print. Make a remaining department with essentially the most appropriate resolution for the main drawback. Use “sub-branches” for details for example of fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
8. Create “Psychological Distance”
What is the psychological distance? According to the construal degree theory (CLT), it’s “anything that we do not experience as occurring now, here, and to ourselves.” Some examples include taking one other particular person’s perspective or considering the issue as unlikely.
Scientists have proven that by rising the psychological distance between us and our drawbacks, we’ll have a rise in inventive options such as examples of problem-solving in everyday life.
This occurs as a result of considering more abstractly helps us kind unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated ideas, thus permitting our minds to extend their problem-solving capacity.
9. Work out to Some Tunes
Research on cardiac rehabilitation sufferers examined verbal fluency after exercising with and without music without problem-solving scenarios in job interviews.
Results confirmed that after they listened to music understanding, members greater than doubled their scores on verbal fluency assessments in distinction to those after they worked out in silence.
According to the research’s lead author, “The combination of music and exercise may stimulate and increase cognitive arousal while helping to organize the cognitive output.”
10. Work out Your Brain with Logic Puzzles or Games
The profitable technique when enjoying chess, Sudoku, a Rubik’s Cube, or different brain-boosting games is definitely to work the issue backward, not ahead. The identical technique can apply to realistic strategic-thinking conditions.
To construct your mind muscle and develop new problem-solving methods, observe some logic puzzles and different games, as an example of problem-solving skills
Problem-solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment. Your problem-solving skills will be an advantage for you at every step of your career and problem-solving skills examples for the interview.
Starting from the application, in job interview interviews, the ability to effectively deal with problems can be very valuable to you after the valuable resources and candidates for the job. Here are some examples of problem-solving scenarios:
Examples of problem-solving scenarios
- Stuck in traffic and was late for work, again. – Think Alternatives
- What is that stain on the living room carpet? – Diagnose the cause and Develop Action Plan
- Why is the baby crying? – Investigation and Attention
- What is that smell coming from my teenage son’s room? – Mitigate and Make a Solution
- I don’t think the car is supposed to make that thumping noise – Diagnose and Assess the Impact
- Someone flushed an entire roll of toilet paper and water is backing up in the tub. – Thinking Quickly
- The proposal deadline got moved up to this afternoon! – Meet Deadline
- What’s for dinner? – Planning
- My daughter has a science project – due tomorrow – Action Plan
- What should I get my spouse for his/her birthday? – Decision Making
In almost every career sector, the solution to the problem is that employers are one of the key skills of finding a job applicant. It is difficult to find a blue-collar, administrative, managerial, or professional position, which does not require skill-solving skills.
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How Students Can Rethink Problem Solving
Finding, shaping, and solving problems puts high school students in charge of their learning and bolsters critical-thinking skills.
As an educator for over 20 years, I’ve heard a lot about critical thinking , problem-solving , and inquiry and how they foster student engagement. However, I’ve also seen students draw a blank when they’re given a problem to solve. This happens when the problem is too vast for them to develop a solution or they don’t think the situation is problematic.
As I’ve tried, failed, and tried again to engage my students in critical thinking, problem-solving, and inquiry, I’ve experienced greater engagement when I allow them to problem-find, problem-shape, and problem-solve. This shift in perspective has helped my students take direct ownership over their learning.
Encourage Students to Find the Problem
When students ask a question that prompts their curiosity, it motivates them to seek out an answer. This answer often highlights a problem.
For example, I gave my grade 11 students a list of topics to explore, and they signed up for a topic that they were interested in. From that, they had to develop a research question. This allowed them to narrow the topic down to what they were specifically curious about.
Developing a research question initiated the research process. Students launched into reading information from reliable sources including Britannica , Newsela , and EBSCOhost . Through the reading process, they were able to access information so that they could attempt to find an answer to their question.
The nature of a good question is that there isn’t an “answer.” Instead, there are a variety of answers. This allowed students to feel safe in sharing their answers because they couldn’t be “wrong.” If they had reliable, peer-reviewed academic research to support their answer, they were “right.”
Shaping a Problem Makes Overcoming It More Feasible
When students identify a problem, they’re compelled to do something about it; however, if the problem is too large, it can be overwhelming for them. When they’re overwhelmed, they might shut down and stop learning. For that reason, it’s important for them to shape the problem by taking on a piece they can handle.
To help guide students, provide a list of topics and allow them to choose one. In my experience, choosing their own topic prompts students’ curiosity—which drives them to persevere through a challenging task. Additionally, I have students maintain their scope at a school, regional, or national level. Keeping the focus away from an international scope allows them to filter down the number of results when they begin researching. Shaping the problem this way allowed students to address it in a manageable way.
Students Can Problem-Solve with Purpose
Once students identified a slice of a larger problem that they could manage, they started to read and think about it, collaborate together, and figure out how to solve it. To further support them in taking on a manageable piece of the problem, the parameters of the solution were that it had to be something they could implement immediately. For example, raising $3 million to build a shelter for those experiencing homelessness in the community isn’t something that students can do tomorrow. Focusing on a solution that could be implemented immediately made it easier for them to come up with viable options.
With the problem shaped down to a manageable piece, students were better able to come up with a solution that would have a big impact. This problem-solving process also invites ingenuity and innovation because it allows teens to critically look at their day-to-day lives and experiences to consider what actions they could take to make a difference in the world. It prompts them to look at their world through a different lens.
When the conditions for inquiry are created by allowing students to problem-find, problem-shape and problem-solve, it allows students to do the following:
- Critically examine their world to identify problems that exist
- Feel empowered because they realize that they can be part of a solution
- Innovate by developing new solutions to old problems
Put it All Together to Promote Change
Here are two examples of what my grade 11 students came up with when tasked with examining the national news to problem-find, problem-shape, and problem-solve.
Topic: Indigenous Issues in Canada
Question: How are Indigenous peoples impacted by racism?
Problem-find: The continued racism against Indigenous peoples has led to the families of murdered women not attaining justice, Indigenous peoples not being able to gain employment, and Indigenous communities not being able to access basic necessities like healthcare and clean water.
Problem-shape: A lot of the issues that Indigenous peoples face require government intervention. What can high school teens do to combat these issues?
Problem-solve: Teens need to stop supporting professional sports teams that tokenize Indigenous peoples, and if they see a peer wearing something from such a sports team, we need to educate them about how the team’s logo perpetuates racism.
Topic: People With Disabilities in Canada
Question: What leads students with a hearing impairment to feel excluded?
Problem-find: Students with a hearing impairment struggle to engage with course texts like films and videos.
Problem-shape: A lot of the issues that students with a hearing impairment face in schools require teachers to take action. What can high school teens do to help their hearing-impaired peers feel included?
Problem-solve: When teens share a video on social media, they should turn the closed-captioning on, so that all students can consume the media being shared.
Once my students came up with solutions, they wanted to do something about it and use their voices to engage in global citizenship. This led them to create TikTok and Snapchat videos and Instagram posts that they shared and re-shared among their peer group.
The learning that students engaged in led to their wanting to teach others—which allowed a greater number of students to learn. This whole process engendered conversations about our world and helped them realize that they aren’t powerless; they can do things to initiate change in areas that they’re interested in and passionate about. It allowed them to use their voices to educate others and promote change.
Analytical skills: What are they and how to add them to your resumé
Understanding information is one thing, but analysing it? That’s a whole other skill set. That’s where your analytical skills come in – they allow you to draw conclusions from information, so you can make informed decisions.
Analytical thinking plays a big role in our day-to-day lives, allowing us to examine a problem or a data set to find a solution. This ‘solution’ could be insights, trends or ways to overcome a challenge. In the workplace it’s often required for data-specific tasks, but analystical skills are also transferable , so they come in handy in almost all areas of life.
There are many different types of analytical skills that are useful at work, including critical thinking, problem solving and data interpretation. A retail assistant may have to think outside the box to help a customer, while a project manager would need data analysis skills to report on the potential risks of a job.
Whatever your role, you’ll learn everything you need to know about different analytical skills and how to make the use of them in this guide.
What are analytical skills?
Analytical skills involve the ability to gather, interpret and assess information to make informed decisions or solve problems. Using critical thinking, problem solving and analytical skills can help you advise on or make decisions based on what is most likely to provide the best outcome.
Why is having an analytical mindset important?
We make decisions all day everyday – some consciously, and many more subconsciously. Being able to make the right decisions about more complex problems can greatly impact the outcome. Developing better analytical abilities can help you:
- Break down complex problems to get to the bottom of the issue. From there, you can come up with effective solutions
- Make informed decisions, helping save money, time and stress
- Appear and feel confident and in control of situations
- Find creative solutions to difficult challenges
- Increase efficiency and productivity
- Adapt to new situations by being able to adjust strategies as needed
Examples of analytical skills
Let’s take a look at some examples of analytical thinking and the different ways you can use these skills.
Problem solving is the skill of finding solutions to difficult situations. Using analytical and problem solving skills involves:
- identifying the problem,
- gathering the relevant information,
- coming up with potential solutions and
- assessing their suitability before taking action.
Being able to solve problems is essential skill in the workplace, especially if you’re interested in management roles. Employees with good problem-solving skills help companies run more efficiently. Here are two examples of problem-solving skills in different careers:
- You’re a mechanic servicing a car with a strange rattle, but the diagnostic tests aren’t showing anything mechanically wrong. A good problem solver will try to think of other causes for the rattle, such as something loose in the glove compartment.
- In some roles, like human resources manager , problem solving might be a core part of the job. In HR, you’d be resolving conflicts, sourcing hard-to-find talent and helping to streamline your company’s policies.
- Critical thinking
Critical thinking is the process of analysing information, concepts, situations or problems to make judgements. It involves being able to evaluate arguments, claims and evidence in an unbiased way, to come to a solution.
It’s likely you use critical thinking every day without even knowing it. For example, when you see an article on social media, you’ll use your critical thinking skills to evaluate the credibility of the news source, consider potential biases and verify the information.
There are certain fields, like law and medicine, where critical thinking is an essential part of the job, in order to provide accurate guidance and diagnoses. But that’s not to say other professions don’t benefit from these skills. Almost every job imaginable requires some level of critical thinking.
- Data analysis
Data analysis is the method of examining and interpreting data. It involves a number of techniques, including:
- collecting relevant data (such as from databases, surveys, etc.),
- cleaning the data (removing errors),
- exploring patterns and trends,
- interpreting what this information means and
- drawing conclusions from the analysis.
As a data analyst , you may also need to present the data in an easy-to-understand way, using visual communication tools like graphs or charts.
The specific methods of collecting data and analysing it will depend on the role. Here are two examples of what these skills may look like in different careers:
- A marketing strategist may use platform data collection tools, like Google Analytics and Meta Business Manager, to monitor performance and make informed choices about campaigns.
- A business analyst may use Excel, Power BI and other data management tools to track performance and gain customer insights. Data analysis skills are useful to anyone who has measurable data they can use to improve outcomes of their work.
Research skills are techniques used to locate, evaluate and use information to find solutions, answer questions or explore specific topics. Not only are they important for students, academics and professionals, they’re an important skill set in your personal life too.
There are many different types of research: collecting existing data, case studies, surveys, experiments and more. Here are two examples of careers that use research skills:
- Engineers will use controlled experiments to test the properties and performance of materials and structures, while a marketing specialist may conduct consumer research and surveys to evaluate the potential impact advertising campaigns will have for a business.
- Journalism is a good example of a career using multiple research methods. Journalists will conduct interviews, surveys and polls, use field reporting to gather first-hand evidence, seek out historical evidence and refer to online resources.
Decision-making is an important analytical skill as it involves a systematic and rational approach to processing information. There are many steps you can take to improve your decision-making process, including analysing data, assessing risks and using critical thinking to make sound judgements without bias.
Everyone benefits from better decision-making skills. They come into play in every aspect of work, whether that’s deciding what colour to make a banner ad or narrowing down venue options for the next office party. No matter what your role or industry, you’ll be able to make decisions more effectively and confidently when you improve your analytical skills.
How to improve your analytical skills
Like soft skills , analytical skills are something everyone can work on. They can help you make better decisions, communicate why a decision should be made and even help you progress in your career . Taking courses , being observant, reading books – these are all ways you can develop your analytical, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
Resources for improving your analytical skills
From early childhood, our analytical skills are constantly developing. To give them a boost, there are resources you can tap into that target specific analytical skills. These include:
- Online courses to learn data platforms, data analysis and more
- Leadership and communication courses through university and colleges
- Books on analytical thinking or problem solving for your industry
- Online communities and forums to help with specific problems
- Training in analytics software
- On-the-job training or mentoring
- Podcasts, online research and other digital informational sources
No matter your age, budget or needs, there is always a way to improve your analytical skills.
How to highlight analytical skills on your resumé
Employers are always looking for people with strong analytical skills, especially those with specialised technical skills, like knowledge of data platforms or accounting software. Here are some of the different ways you can add your analytical skills to your resumé to help you stand out.
Adding analytical skills to the skills section
Analytical skills can be grouped in with the rest of the skills on your resumé. List out all the specific analytical skills you have, naming any relevant software or database platforms.
Top analytical skills to add to your resumé’s skill section include:
- Specific platforms you have used
- Pattern recognition
Tailor your skills to the job you’re applying for, using the phrases used in the job description, so it’s clear to the hiring manager that you’re a good match for the role.
Incorporating analytical skills in your work experience section
If you have used analytical skills in your past roles, you should add them to the work experience section of your resumé. Use action verbs and add in specific results where possible to demonstrate the impact of your skills.
Some examples of analytical skills to put in your work experience section include:
- Used Google Analytics to optimise ads and increase conversion by 22% in 12 months
- Deployed employee surveys to improve team retention by 90% YoY under my leadership
- Used Sprinklr dashboard to grow social media engagement by 30% in 90 days
- Used problem-solving skills to achieve a 4.9/5 customer service rating 12 months in a row
By giving specific results of how you used your skills, you demonstrate to hiring managers that you are able to use data to drive performance.
Showcasing analytical skills in your summary or objective section
You don’t always need to include a summary or objective section on your resumé, but if you have extensive or specialised experience you’d like to highlight, it can be a great way to make yourself stand out. Your summary should only be one or two sentences long, giving the reader an instant overview of who you are, what you’re looking for and what you bring to the table. As with the analytical skills on your resumé, you should customise your objective statement to each role you apply for.
Highlighting your analytical skills in a career objective can give you an edge over other job seekers, particularly if you’re applying for leadership roles. Examples of analytical and problem solving skills selection criteria answers may include:
- Motivated and detail-oriented business and IT graduate with a strong foundation in data analysis, statistics and programming. Seeking entry-level data analyst role to uncover insights and contribute to data-driven decision-making in a dynamic setting.
- Experienced retail manager of more than 10 years, with a proven track record of developing and implementing data-driven strategies to improve sales by a minimum of 60%. Seeking a challenging role in a forward-thinking organisation where I can leverage my analytical, problem-solving and leadership skills to drive growth and innovation.
When you’re updating your resumé with new skills, it’s important to understand the meaning of analytical skills as they apply to your specific area of work. Keep your resumé up-to-date with these skills, as they’ll differentiate you from the crowd. Even if you’re not looking for a new job and you just want to improve in your current role, enhancing your analytical, problem-solving and decision-making skills could be the secret to standing out and getting ahead.
Why are communication skills important in analytical work?
Communication skills are vital in analytical work because they allow for effective data sharing and collaboration. Being able to clearly communicate helps convey findings, insights and recommendations with technical and non-technical stakeholders, ensuring they can make informed decisions. It also helps foster a productive work environment when working with others on analytical projects.
Why are collaboration skills important in analytical work?
Collaboration skills are crucial in analytical work because they enhance problem solving, foster diverse perspectives and improve data interpretation. Effective teamwork helps uncover insights, promotes data accuracy and streamlines decision-making, driving better analytical outcomes.
Why is creativity important in analytical work?
Creativity is vital in analytical work as it helps you find innovative solutions and identify patterns in data. It empowers analysts to generate fresh insights, develop new approaches and adapt to evolving challenges. It enhances the effectiveness and competitiveness of their analytical efforts.
Why is emotional intelligence important in analytical work?
Using emotional intelligence in analytical work fosters empathy, effective communication and collaboration. Analytical people with high emotional intelligence can navigate interpersonal dynamics more easily, build stronger relationships and more clearly understand stakeholder needs, leading to insightful, actionable results.
Why is continuous learning important in analytical work?
Continuous learning is essential in analytical work to stay updated with evolving tools, techniques and data trends. It allows analysts to adapt, enhance their skills and provide more accurate and valuable insights.
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