Every employer wants an employee who can think outside the box to deal with new challenges adequately. Therefore, you should expect questions that require you to demonstrate your creative thinking ability and convince the employer that you will be competent in your job.
However, note that such questions are not usually easy and may require more than straightforward answers. Some may require you to give examples, which also have to be viable. To help you ace your interview, this article covers some of the most common creative thinking questions that you will come across in your interview. Take a look at the following and prepare adequately:
1. Tell Me About a Time When You Thought Outside The Box And Arrived At a Solution?
I worked for a textile company that was facing financial issues. The only available option at that moment was to downsize, which could have left several people without jobs. I was the HR manager, and therefore the duty of determining who to release or retain depended on me. However, I decided to help the top management look for alternatives and save a significant part of our workload since they had served us well, some for years. I looked up cheaper suppliers(even though it wasn’t part of my job description) and suggested that we try them out. The company landed a good deal and saved 25% of costs that year. We managed to retain our employees, only releasing the interns. I could see the happiness in their faces.
2. Tell Me How You Go About Motivating Other Employees
I take employee motivation seriously since I have witnessed how much motivated employees can achieve. Therefore, I usually exercise everything is in my power to motivate fellow employees and even subordinates. I usually praise them and acknowledge any positive contributions they make to the company. I also ensure that their voices are heard, feedback respected, and adequate resources allocated. I have never had to deal with unmotivated employees.
3. Tell Me About Some Of The Ideas You Suggested That Benefitted Your Former Employer
I have suggested several ideas in the past which have bettered my workplaces. I once suggested that we do away with the closed office layout and develop an open design to foster teamwork and enhance employee cooperation. Luckily, my boss heeded and adopted the structure. We managed to improve productivity and better the workplace. This is one of my most remarkable experiences.
4. Have You Ever Had To Encourage Someone To Be Creative? Mention An Experience
I once worked with an intern who had a rough patch completing a project. Our company had a policy of reviewing interns’ activities every three months, and fearing that he would be relieved of his duties, he came to me. I gave him a piece of advice that helped him retain his position in the organization after his review. I told him to consider all the options he had and focus on the one that guaranteed the highest success chances. He listed all his options and picked on the most bible one. I was glad when he made it through the cut.
5. Have You Ever Worked On The Creation Of a New Project? Tell Us Your Experience
My former company decided to diversify and start a new product line, entering the detergent industry. I was appointed part of the team responsible for crafting the project and empowered to come up with useful unique ideas. I suggested that we dwell on some gaps not covered by the existing products. We found out that most detergent companies were not transparent with the list of the ingredients used to make their products, used that as a marketing technique and managed to sell successfully after release.
6. Do You Think We Can Do Anything To Help Better Your Creativity?
Even though I am generally creative, I haven’t reached my potential. Over the years, I have learnt that creativity mainly stems from exposure. Therefore, training and being exposed to the right resources can significantly increase my creativity and ensure that I am at my best at all times. It would be best if you also created a conducive environment that will support my freedom of creativity and motivate me to come up with new ideas for the sake of the organization.
7. What Do You Understand By Innovation?
I have discovered that lots of people misuse the word motivation. Most of the projects considered ‘innovative’ do not actually qualify. I believe that innovation is the process of coming up with a new method, product or idea capable of turning heads or increasing the profitability of a business or entity. It can also be an incredible idea that betters a product or service. A company must invest in innovative employees.
8. Tell Us About An Experience Where You Used Your Creativity To Ensure That Your Company Fully Utilized Its Resources
I was working for a manufacturing company that used lots of resources on production, thus resulting in increased overhead costs. At one point, the entity was not profitable enough and even contemplated downsizing, which would have a heavy impact on employees. I suggested that we start recycling most of our resources and create usage limits. It worked, and we were able to reduce our overhead costs and increase our productivity. I am glad that I was part of the process.
9. Have You Ever Worked On a Project That Required An Unconventional Approach? What Did You Do?
I was once part of a team that was mandated to improve the organization’s marketing strategies. Even though it seemed like an easy project, we had one main problem-we had tried to cover all the gaps that our competitors had not in our marketing strategies but was still doing poorly. I thought about possible solutions and then settled on a rather unconventional plan. I advised the team to cut down our marketing budget instead of increasing it as every other organization would, and instead focus more on social media marketing. The team saw some sense in what I put across and decided to try it. We managed to widen our reach and improve our sales significantly.
10. What Would You Do If 2 Employees Who Didn’t Get Along Well Were Making Your Project Stall?
I wouldn’t report the employees to the management as a first option but instead, think outside the box to reverse the situation. I would meet with both of them separately and try to establish the quarrel before arranging a joint meeting to help them out their differences aside. Most of the time, it has proven successful as I act as a mediator instead of an arbitrator.
11. How Will You Encourage Your Fellow Employees To Be Creative And Innovative?
I always ensure that my fellow employees are creative and innovative, just like me, by providing the right environment to share their ideas and explore their creativity. I usually give them a listening ear and occasionally the correct exposure to help them come up with innovative ideas. Lastly, I always ensure that they have a good relationship with each other, which sets the pace for teamwork and fosters innovation.
12. What Would You Do if You are Faced With Two Viable Options?
I usually face many dilemmas, especially when working on improvement or downsizing projects. However, I have learnt that it is vital to be as creative as possible when choosing between viable options. I usually look at both their repercussions and results and choose the one with the highest possible consequences and lesser repercussions. I have always ended up making the right decisions.
13. How Would You Deal With An Underperforming Employee With Great Potential?
I don’t always believe in showing employees the door immediately they underperform since I have discovered that most people don’t live up to their potential for different reasons. In this case, I will try as much as possible to find out what the problem is and come up with a solution addressing it. I may also suggest that the employee be trained or coached further, among other creative solutions.
14. How Would You Handle a Bulky Project On a Tight Deadline?
I have worked on bulky projects before on a tight deadline and know just how challenging it can be. However, the first thing that I usually do is break the project into smaller parts and start with the most challenging ones. Dealing with such gives me more time to work on the less advanced ones and be as productive as possible. I may also ask for help where necessary. All in all, I believe that I can deal with all the
15. What Do You Think is the Best Way to Communicate Effectively With Others in the Workplace?
The best way to communicate effectively with others is to be as clear and concise as possible while creating the right environment for offering feedback. I believe that allowing everyone to give valuable opinions and feedback will enable people to be as open as possible, which is generally the best way to know what they need and also fosters open communication. I am willing to communicate with others openly to put across information clearly.
16. What’s The Most Creative Way To Perform Under Pressure In Your Opinion?
I have been in several positions where I had to work under pressure. I believe that such situations have helped me become better at this job. I have discovered that the best way to work and perform under pressure is to prioritize work and focus on the most urgent tasks first. Also, asking for help when overwhelmed comes in handy whenever I have many projects or assignments to attend to. I am confident that everyone can manage to work under pressure provided that they prepare well enough.
17. What Would You Do As a Team Leader If Your Colleague Comes Up With a Better Idea Than Yours?
I usually embrace and appreciate other employees’ creativity whenever we are working on a project. I believe that it is crucial to inspire other employees to give their best and allow them to express themselves to contribute to the betterment of the workplace. I would appreciate the idea, given that my policy is to settle on the best ideas as a team. Also, I believe that everyone’s input is significant when working on a project. All my team members understand that they can present an idea they have in mind.
18. Can You Mention One Of The Best Innovative Ideas You Have Ever Come Up With Within The Workplace
I have come up with several ideas in my line of work. Some were considered too daring and weren’t, therefore, well-received, even though they turned out to be some of the best ideas the organizations had ever witnessed. I once recommended shortening our shift by an hour without any pay cut, following a survey on our employees that proved they would increase their productivity if shifts weren’t too long. Even though I received opposition from a number of managers, most stakeholders decided to try it out, albeit half-heartedly. I am glad that everything worked out in the end, and our productivity increased by a wide margin.
19. How Do You Normally Handle Criticism?
My experience in this field has taught me important lessons about feedback. Most organizations flourish by listening to their customers and implementing some of their viable recommendations. However, in that vein, it is essential to note that most people are not fond of negative feedback, especially after giving their all on a project or task.
Personally, I do appreciate all types of feedback emanating from the customers. I particularly lend more attention to constructive feedback and strive to make all the necessary changes since I believe that it is one of the surest ways of bettering my craft.
20. What Would You Do Differently In Your Personal Life If You Had a Chance To Turn Back Time?
I do not usually prefer thinking about missed opportunities since I tend to focus more on the future. However, I would pursue some of my former passions and hobbies if I could turn back time and be more visible in environmental conservation campaigns. Lastly, I would invest in more meaningful relationships and build helpful networks. All in all, I am glad about where I am today.
21. What Would You Do To Give Your Supervisor An Easy Time?
I understand the importance of working together as a team and respecting authority in the workplace. I usually perform all my duties as expected to give my supervisor an easy time and avoid too many follow-ups. I also motivate my team members to be at their best when dealing with joint projects to meet all the set deadlines. I have discovered that the best way to maintain cooperation is ensuring that everyone lives up to the end of their bargain.
22. How Would You Deal With An Unmotivated Employee?
I understand the importance of employee motivation, given that I have occupied leadership and management positions before. I believe that an unmotivated employee should not be treated harshly but offered the right environment to improve performance. However small, I would acknowledge their contributions and encourage them to live up to their potential. I would also arrange for team working activities or give incentives.
23. What Inspires Your Creativity?
I derive my creativity from my environment and those around me. I am usually able to come up with unique ideas when in the right company or setting. Also, I usually take some time to think through an issue before coming up with any viable solutions. All in all, I believe that my creativity is one of my most significant assets.
24. How Do You Normally Arrive At Solutions For Emerging Problems?
Most emerging problems do not have expected or conventional solutions and therefore call for creative thinking. I usually think outside the box and weigh all the possible solutions whenever I am faced with such challenges. I may ask for my colleagues’ input since I believe that there is power in teamwork. These two approaches have always worked in my line of duty.
25. How Would You Ensure That Your Workplace Saves On Time?
I believe that the best way to save time in the workplace is by prioritizing work, improving the office layout, and ensuring that the employees are good managers of time. Offices with open designs minimize time wastage occasioned by movement from one office to the next since employees can get all the help they need without making unnecessary trips. On the other hand, prioritizing work helps people finish their workload on time and therefore goes hand in hand with effective time management.
You have to be a creative thinker to appeal to most employers in our current era. It allows you to develop the best possible solutions that can positively benefit the workplace. Therefore, be ready to prove your creativity in your upcoming interview.