Can you give an example of a creative solution you’ve implemented to solve a problem?
Other interview questions that are similar
- What innovative approach did you use to overcome a challenging obstacle in your work or personal life?
- Can you describe a situation where you thought outside the box to find a solution?
- How have you applied creative thinking to resolve a complex issue in a project you worked on?
- Could you provide an instance where your unconventional idea effectively addressed a difficult situation?
- In what ways have you used creativity to turn a difficult scenario into a successful outcome?
- Can you share an experience where your unique perspective led to an unexpected yet successful solution?
- Have you ever developed a novel method or strategy to tackle a problem that seemed unsolvable at first?
What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
There are probably an infinite number of questions that the interviewer could ask you on the day. Some questions are incredibly common appearing in almost every interview you will have, while other questions you might hear once and never again regardless of how many jobs you apply for.
Fundamentally though all interview questions are really trying to find out one of 3 things:
1 – Can you do the job? (Do you have the skills/experience needed?)
2 – Will you do the job? (Do you have the drive/motivation to get the job done?)
3 – Will you fit in? (Does your personality match the workplace culture? Are you likeable?)
That’s it. Those are the 3 things that the interviewer is trying to ascertain. Every question that is asked of you will fundamentally be trying to resolve one (or more) of these 3 things.
Given this understanding, when faced with a question like “Can you give an example of a creative solution you’ve implemented to solve a problem?”, it’s important to recognize which of the three core aspects the interviewer is probing. This question primarily addresses the first point: “Can you do the job?” It seeks to understand not just your skills and experience, but also your ability to apply creative thinking and problem-solving in real-world scenarios. Your response should therefore focus on demonstrating your competence and adaptability. It’s an opportunity to showcase how your unique approach to challenges makes you an asset, thereby subtly addressing the other two aspects as well – your motivation and potential fit within the team. By illustrating how you’ve effectively tackled problems in the past, you’re also implicitly showing your drive to succeed and your ability to harmonize with different work environments. Remember, the key is to provide a concise, specific example that highlights your skills and approach to overcoming obstacles.
How Best To Structure Your Answer To This Question
Unless the question you are asked is a straight ‘up or down / yes or no’ style question then you are going to need to learn to describe, expand and elaborate on your answers. The best way of doing this is to follow the B-STAR technique for answering interview questions.
Answers using this method follow the below structure:
B – Belief – What are your thoughts and feelings with regard to the subject matter? When answering the question about a creative solution you’ve implemented, your beliefs about the importance and effectiveness of creative problem-solving in the workplace become particularly relevant. This is your chance to convey your conviction that thinking outside the box is crucial in overcoming complex challenges.
S – Situation – What was going on? Briefly explain the scenario that was taking place. – Try not to spend too much time describing the situation. The bulk of your answer needs to be about you and what you did so keep the situation simple to understand and even simpler to describe. For the creative solution question, briefly outline the context and complexity of the problem, emphasizing the need for a creative approach.
T – Task – What was your role in the action? Most of the time it is best that you are taking an active rather than passive role in the encounter. In your example for the interview question, highlight your specific role in the situation, showcasing your responsibility and initiative in finding a solution.
A – Activity (or action) – What did you do? Detail the steps you took and why you took them. – This should take up the bulk of your time answering the question. Here, delve into the creative solution you implemented, focusing on your actions, the creative process, and how it addressed the problem effectively.
R – Result – How did everything end up? Try to use figures if possible (e.g. we cut costs by $3m, customer satisfaction scores increased 25%, failures reduced to zero, ice cream parties increased ten-fold etc.). In tying back to the interview question, this is where you quantify the success of your creative solution, showing how it positively impacted the situation, thereby demonstrating your effectiveness in problem-solving.
Remember though that the B-STAR technique is descriptive not prescriptive. You do not need to follow this flow strictly, go with what is best for your answers and that will allow you to put your point across and show your experience the best.
What You Should NOT Do When Answering Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked).
Do not downplay the situation.
Do not overhype the situation.
Do not say you have no experience with the subject matter.
Do not reject the premise of the question.
Do not have a passive role in the situation.
Do not give a one-sentence answer.
Do not overly describe the scenario and miss the action
Can you give an example of a creative solution you’ve implemented to solve a problem? – Example answers
Example Answer 1
“I’ve always believed that creative problem-solving is essential in any workplace. It’s not just about finding a solution but finding the most efficient and innovative one. This belief was put to the test in my previous role as a project manager at Tech Innovations Inc.
We were faced with a significant challenge when our main supplier suddenly went out of business, jeopardizing our project’s deadline. The situation was critical as it threatened to delay the launch of our new software by several months.
As the project manager, I was responsible for finding a solution. I realized that conventional methods wouldn’t work, so I decided to think outside the box. I proposed collaborating with a competitor who had the resources we needed. This was unorthodox, as companies in our field rarely collaborate due to market competition.
I reached out to the competitor and initiated a partnership where we could share resources while ensuring mutual benefits. It required careful negotiation and trust-building, but my team and I managed to create a detailed plan for resource sharing.
The result was beyond successful. Not only did we meet our original deadline, but the partnership also reduced our production costs by 15%. Additionally, this collaboration opened doors for future joint ventures, leading to a long-term beneficial relationship between the two companies.”
Example Answer 2
More Sample Answers…
The examples provided above can serve as a foundation for creating your unique answers. For additional inspiration, our new guide includes five sample responses to this question and over 250 answers to all of the most common interview queries.