How to Flaunt Your Problem-Solving Skills in an Interview

You’ve snagged an interview for the job of your dreams and are ready to hit the big leagues. Before you begin planning your first day outfit, you are going to need to knock the interview out of the park. Luckily for you, there’s one topic upon which employers almost always touch during interviews: problem solving abilities. Here’s a few simple tips to help you highlight your skills and master the interview.


Showcase your Education


Believe it or not, you are bound to have experiences that demonstrate your ability to strategically problem solve; the key is being able to think of them in an interview. Alisha, Hiring Expert from Archer Daniels Midland, explains that a good way to get started is to “think about times while getting your education that you had to work in teams and on projects. How did you deal with diversity and conflicts that arose?”1 If you can think of actual problems you have encountered and explain the solutions you provided, you can show your potential employer that you do have problem solving skills.


If you’re unable to think of problems you’ve encountered in your classes, that’s okay. Another way to showcase your competency is through your involvement in organizations. Eddie, Hiring Expert from Quest Diagnostics, says, “For a recent grad, I would look for an indicator such as increasing productivity in a student organization. Another example would be showing the increase in funding for a student organization.”2 If you can produce tangible results that explain how you have improved an organization with which you were involved, you create an inherent ability to problem solve, and make it easy for your potential employer to imagine you as a part of their company.


Make a Connection


Whether your experience comes from school, previous work, or life in general, what’s important to your potential employer is its applicability. Even if your experience isn’t directly related to your potential new job, it’s important for you to be able to explain how it could be.


Jenna, Hiring Expert from Emerson, says, “Typically, interviewers are looking for candidates to connect the dots between their own experiences, the skills they gained and/or improved, and how candidates see themselves fitting into the role and organization as a whole.”3 For instance, if you worked out a solution with a difficult project member for a college class, explain how that translates into a more conscientious handling of group work. This connection will show the interviewer that you are right the choice to fill the position, even if you don’t have directly related experience.


Be a S.T.A.R


Ultimately, a large part of what your potential employer wants to see is results. As Eddie, Hiring Expert at Quest Diagnostics, so wisely puts it, “Showing results opens the door for you to explain to a recruiter or hiring manager the steps you took to help create success. You can use the good ol' S.T.A.R. method (give them the Situation, explain the Task, tell them what your Action was, and the Result of your work).” By breaking down your experiences in this way, your potential employer is able to understand each step of your thought process and recognize how you fit in with the company as a whole.


Although interviews are nerve-wracking, they’re a necessary part of turning your dream job into a reality. With these tips, you can be prepared for the interview-inevitable and get that job!




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