26 Good Examples of Problem Solving (Interview Answers) (2024)

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?”

Problem-Solving Defined

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.

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:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

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.

Example answer:

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.

Conclusion

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
26 Good Examples of Problem Solving (Interview Answers) (2024)

FAQs

26 Good Examples of Problem Solving (Interview Answers)? ›

One great example of problem-solving a candidate can reference in a job interview is a time they worked through a limited budget. Finding creative solutions to money problems is always a desired characteristic, even outside accounting. It shows a candidate knows how to make use of what they have.

What is a good example of problem-solving for interview? ›

One great example of problem-solving a candidate can reference in a job interview is a time they worked through a limited budget. Finding creative solutions to money problems is always a desired characteristic, even outside accounting. It shows a candidate knows how to make use of what they have.

How do you answer how do you solve a problem interview question? ›

The following steps will help you develop a clear and impressive answer to any problem solving question.
  1. Define the Problem. Explain why the situation was problematic. ...
  2. Analyze the Problem. ...
  3. Generate Possible Solutions. ...
  4. Select the Best Solution(s) and Action to Take. ...
  5. Lesson learned.

Can you give me an example of problem-solving? ›

For example, in customer service you might find a scenario like, “How would you handle an angry customer?” or “How do you respond when a customer asks for a refund?” Practicing how you might handle these or other scenarios common in your industry can help you call upon solutions quickly when they arise on the job.

What are problem-solving examples questions? ›

What are some common examples of problem solving interview questions?
  • What was the most stressful situation you faced at work? ...
  • Describe a situation at work when you were faced with a problem you could not solve. ...
  • Are you the type of person who will always try to solve the problem on your own before asking for help?

How do you demonstrate good problem-solving skills? ›

Here are steps you can follow to improve your problem-solving skills:
  1. Gain extra technical knowledge. ...
  2. Look for opportunities to solve problems. ...
  3. Practise problems. ...
  4. Learn from others. ...
  5. Become solution-focused. ...
  6. Try to simplify. ...
  7. Brainstorm ideas. ...
  8. Take a break when you need to.
Feb 21, 2023

What difficult situation have you dealt with? ›

Some examples of situations you can discuss include: A time when you dealt with a lot of customer complaints and how you rectified the issue. A time when you had to work long hours to meet a deadline. A time when you had to deal with a difficult colleague when working on a project.

How do you ace problem-solving interview questions? ›

Answer Like a S-T-A-R
  1. Situation: Assess the problem and what is being addressed.
  2. Task: Identify what you need to solve the problem.
  3. Action: Outline the actions you will take (this can include your plan b)
  4. Result: Describe what you expect the outcome to be, and why it's the best choice.
Dec 10, 2018

How do you handle a stressful situation interview questions? ›

How Do You Handle Stress Interview Question and Answer
  1. Understand why the interviewer is asking this job interview question. ...
  2. Make a list of your soft skills. ...
  3. Add context to these skills with a relevant, impactful example. ...
  4. Focus on your positive actions, not your negative feelings. ...
  5. Don't deny your stress.

What are 3 key attributes of a good problem solver? ›

We've found that fearless problem solvers tend to exhibit five key characteristics: They are undaunted, optimistic, driven, smart, and empathetic. The combination of these attributes results in great solutions to our clients' most challenging problems.

What are the 4 problem-solving skills? ›

Problem-solving is a complex skill. It involves critical thinking, decision-making, creativity, and information processing.

What is an example of problem-solving with customer? ›

For example, if a customer service agent receives a product quality complaint and issues a refund, they should follow up with the customer to make certain that they are satisfied with the resolution.

How would you describe problem solving in your own words? ›

Problem solving is the act of defining a problem; determining the cause of the problem; identifying, prioritizing, and selecting alternatives for a solution; and implementing a solution.

What is an example of a problem scenario? ›

Your friends came over to your house for a movie night. One of your friends brought another friend so there are more people than you planned for. You want to pass out the drinks but you only have five cans of soda and you need 6 for everyone to have one.

What is an example of a problem solving team? ›

Problem-solving teams: These types of teams are usually temporary and focus on solving a specific issue. For example, after the 2008 financial crisis, several organizational task force teams and governmental committees were created to come up with solutions to help the country climb out of a steep recession.

How to say you have good problem solving skills in interview? ›

Describe a time when you faced an unexpected challenge at work. How would you handle a dissatisfied customer? Describe a situation where you had to solve a problem at work and the role you played. Give an example of a situation in which you saw an opportunity in a potential problem.

Why do employers look for problem solving skills? ›

Why is it important? Employers like to see good problem solving skills because it also helps to show them you have a range of other competencies such as logic, creativity, resilience, imagination, lateral thinking and determination. It is a vital skills for your professional and personal life.

Can you describe how you handled a difficult situation at work? ›

Detail the steps you took to rectify the issue. Talk about the "action" you took to overcome the situation. Explain your thought process for choosing the actions you did, being as specific as possible. Describe the results you produced.

Can you tell me an example of a situation where you were faced with a difficult task? ›

A huge project was assigned at the last minute. A colleague left the company and you had to take on all of their work. You had to lead a project that you knew little about or had never done before. There were miscommunications across teams and you had to figure out how to get everyone back on track.

Can you give me an example of when you have had to deal with a difficult customer and how you handled the situation? ›

During a shift, two angry customers approached me at the same time. One demanded a refund, and the other one was frustrated because someone gave them the wrong order. To resolve the situation, I apologised to both of them and explained that we're dealing with understaffing, which means one of the clients has to wait.

What are the five steps to successful problem-solving? ›

Six step guide to help you solve problems
  • Step 1: Identify and define the problem. State the problem as clearly as possible. ...
  • Step 2: Generate possible solutions. ...
  • Step 3: Evaluate alternatives. ...
  • Step 4: Decide on a solution. ...
  • Step 5: Implement the solution. ...
  • Step 6: Evaluate the outcome.

How do you answer what was the toughest challenge you've faced? ›

How to answer "What is the biggest challenge you've faced in work?"
  • Consider previous challenges you've faced. ...
  • Tailor your answer to the job description. ...
  • Be specific about why they were challenges. ...
  • Be honest in your answer. ...
  • Present your challenge in a positive light. ...
  • Use nonprofessional examples if necessary.
Feb 15, 2023

Can you work under pressure best answer? ›

Yes, I can work under pressure, because during my academic we have to complete assignments, notes, projects lectures etc. Within less time and we did it under pressure and gave our best performance. So, I think working in pressure is also key to success. Yes, I work under pressure.

How do you say you can work under pressure? ›

Short Answers
  • "I work well under pressure because I use the pressure to help me work more efficiently."
  • "I enjoy working under pressure because I believe it helps me grow. ...
  • "I work well under pressure because I don't panic. ...
  • "To tell you the truth, I think I work the same if there's pressure or if there's no pressure.

What is your biggest accomplishment? ›

'My greatest achievement' examples could include:
  • Giving a great presentation at work.
  • Beating sales targets.
  • Training for and completing a marathon.
  • Organizing a successful charity event.
  • Mentoring a coworker or fellow student.

What are the 3 C's of problem-solving? ›

Clarify= Clearly identify the decision to be made or the problem to be solved. Consider=Think about the possible choices and what would happen for each choice. Think about the positive and negative consequences for each choice. Choose=Choose the best choice!

What are the 3 A's of problem-solving? ›

A3 Report. An A3 Report is a Toyota-pioneered practice of getting the problem, the analysis, the corrective actions, and the action plan down on a single sheet of large (A3) paper, often with the use of graphics.

What is a strong problem solver? ›

A problem solver is an individual who makes decisions and resolves issues using critical thinking and analytical skills. Typically, they consider all factors in a situation and make a decision based on the best solution.

What are the five 5 most common methods in problem-solving? ›

5-steps to Problem Solving
  • Define the problem. In understanding and communicating the problem effectively, we have to be clear about what the issue is. ...
  • Gather information. What were the circumstances? ...
  • Generate possible solutions. ...
  • Evaluate ideas and then choose one. ...
  • Evaluate.
Aug 30, 2012

What is the 3 step problem solving approach example? ›

Stop 1: Problem (Define the problems in the case.) Stop 2: Cause of the Problem (Identify the OB concepts or theories to use to solve the problem.) Stop 3: Recommendation (Explain what you would do to correct the situation.)

How do you solve a problem? ›

8-Step Problem Solving Process
  1. Step 1: Define the Problem. What is the problem? ...
  2. Step 2: Clarify the Problem. ...
  3. Step 3: Define the Goals. ...
  4. Step 4: Identify Root Cause of the Problem. ...
  5. Step 5: Develop Action Plan. ...
  6. Step 6: Execute Action Plan. ...
  7. Step 7: Evaluate the Results. ...
  8. Step 8: Continuously Improve.

How do you professionally say what is your problem? ›

First, share your good intent, then state your concern by citing facts, then share your story (interpretation of the facts), then ask for perspective. This is the most tried and true way I know of to share any concern without making matters worse.

What are the 3 problem-solving techniques? ›

Those steps are: Define the problem. List all the possible solutions. Evaluate the options.

What are 3 ways to solve a problem? ›

3 Simple Ways to Solve Any Problem
  • Get rid of doubt. When you're facing a tough problem with no obvious answer, it can feel natural to think, "I can't." Instead, Patel suggests challenging your doubts. ...
  • Shift the way you see the problem. ...
  • Hold brainstorming sessions.
Nov 30, 2015

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