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How to answer questions in an interview that test critical thinking

When it comes to finding a job, critical thinking skills are invaluable. Many employers ask questions during an interview designed to assess your ability to identify problems and come up with logical solutions. By citing examples of using critical thinking in the past, you can impress potential employers and improve your chances of being hired. In this article, you'll find a list of interview questions that test critical thinking and ideas on how to tackle them. As you prepare for your next job interview, you can draw inspiration from them and learn how to answer critical thinking questions.

Content Team
Content Team

Workable's content team brings its HR & employment expertise to Resources.

How do you handle having to make decisions quickly in a role?

Interviewers want to know how you handle making decisions under pressure – hence this is bound to come up among interview questions about critical thinking. They are looking for signs that you can think critically and use logic and reasoning to make the right decision, even when pressed for time. So tell them about a situation where you had to make a quick decision that turned out well.

Sample answer:

“When I was working on an online advertising campaign for one of our clients, I found that the results varied greatly depending on the time of day. I quickly decided whether to run the campaign, which channels to use, and what price to charge for clicks, all while trying to maximize profits. I spent hours studying analytics data and making constant adjustments to the campaign. In the end, it was a huge success – the client earned twice as much as they spent on the campaign.”

Have you ever had to anticipate problems and apply procedures to prevent them?

Most employers are looking for employees who can identify potential problems and find solutions before they occur. This skill requires good observation and problem-solving skills, essential for critical thinking. Your answer should show that you can identify possible problems and find logical solutions before they become actual problems.

Sample answer:

“In my previous job, I was a scheduler responsible for ensuring that employees were available when needed. I knew that scheduling became more complicated during the vacation season, so I implemented procedures for requesting leave during that time. That way, I could schedule further in advance and avoid productivity interruptions.”

What would you do if your boss made a mistake in the documents they presented?

Interviewers want to know how you would handle a situation with a senior colleague that could be uncomfortable. Your response should show the potential employer that you can act professionally.

Sample answer: 

“If I see a problem with my boss’s work, I would wait to speak with them privately. I would show them the error and offer to help fix the problem. In doing so, I show my respect for their authority. My bosses have appreciated my honesty in the past, and my last boss even had me review all their paperwork before it was finalized.”

Final thoughts

Do you have what it takes to be a leader? Critical thinking skills are essential for any future leader. Recruiters can use the answers to these questions to see if you have the potential for a leadership position. They may also ask problem-solving [LC1] [LC2] or competency-based questions. Learn more about what recruiters look for in their interview questions to test critical thinking and the red flags they’re watching out for in your answers.

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