Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Technical Problem-solving Interview Questions

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Problem Solving Techniques – For Programming Problems & Interviews

The answer can reveal aspects of a candidates personality that arent covered on their resume. It also gives insight into how the individual perceives themself and the role theyre applying for. For example, if their answer focuses on their creative side, but the position is very analytical in nature, the job may not be a good fit.

Key Takeaways For Effective Problem

  • Problem solving lies at the heart of programming.
  • Testing a candidates problem-solving skills goes beyond the IDE. Problem-solving interview questions should test both technical skills and soft skills.
  • STAR, SOAR and PREP are methods a candidate can use to answer some non-technical problem-solving interview questions.
  • Generic problem-solving interview questions go a long way in gauging a candidates fit. But you can go one step further by customizing them according to your companys service, product, vision, and culture.

Person With More Systematic Problem

  • They have a higher tendency to first identify the situation and analytically disentangle problems into several components, then logically evaluate the available alternatives and try to find a rule to solve problems.
  • At the end of the process, they may also evaluate the consequence of the whole process to possibly adjust their strategy in the future. However, they might face difficulty when tackling ill-structured or defined problems, whereby they cannot generate a promising plan to act.
  • They may also struggle under time constraints when intuitive decisions need to be made.

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Sample Questions And Answers

Its a good idea to practice problem-solving questions so that you improve in confidence and are able to answer them fluently.

Remember your communication skills are being assessed in any interview, so how you explain your decision-making process is also important.

Here are some sample questions and answers for problem-solving situations that are designed to help you prepare for upcoming interviews.

You can practice answering these examples with a friend or someone you trust to give you helpful feedback on your performance.

Previous Troubleshooting Experience Interview Questions

10+ Free Sample Interview Questions

Here are some questions you might be asked related to your experience:

  • What examples can you provide from your previous IT experience where you needed to troubleshoot a network problem? What was your process?

  • Can you tell me about a time when you couldn’t troubleshoot a problem. What did you do?

  • Have you ever had to advise someone that they need to purchase another device? If so, what examples can you provide and how did you troubleshoot to rule out solutions?

  • In your opinion, what are five skills you possess that attribute to your troubleshooting capabilities? What examples can you provide from previous experiences?

  • Have you ever had a tech support call where your initial instructions didn’t help the customer? If so, what was the situation and how did you try to help them?

  • Do you have experience troubleshooting printer problems? If so, what examples can you provide?

  • Have you ever had to connect a customer with a different support specialist because you couldn’t solve their problem? If so, what was the situation and why did you do so?

  • In your previous IT role, what was the most common computer question a customer would ask and how would you respond?

  • Have you ever encountered issues with a cluster of computers? How did you resolve them?

  • Can you tell me about a time you helped troubleshoot a difficult problem? What steps did you take to solve it?

  • In your opinion, what situations typically require a simple replacement of a power cable?

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    How To Answer Some Of The Toughest Interview Questions

    Depending upon your industry, you may be asked to answer problem-solving questions at some point during your interview with a hiring manager. These questions are common in IT, engineering, and other technical sectors where strong data analysis and problem-solving competencies are essential. However, once in a while, youll be asked to field a problem-solving interview question even if you arent in a strictly technical discipline.

    Heres how to prepare so that youll be able to think on your feet should a problem-solving question be asked.

    Best Problem Solving Interview Questions To Hire Top Engineer Talent

    In this post

    The market for hiring engineers is always competitive and is likely to continue to be so for at least the next decade. Top engineer talent is in high demand which makes it all the more important to provide a great candidate experience during the hiring process.

    The candidate experience can set your company apart from others in a highly competitive job market. For software engineers who go through multiple technical interviews at several companies often simultaneously the questions you ask matter.

    Many companies ask the same questions: tell us about a time you were challenged at work, for instance. For candidates, these kinds of questions can get stale. For employers, they can end up revealing relatively little about the engineer other than how well theyve memorized their answers.

    Luckily, theres a better option. Software engineering interview questions can be configured to provide candidates the opportunity to showcase something new. And, this can give hiring teams more information about a candidates approach to the software development life cycle, specific technical skills, and even their fit in the organization.

    In this article, well take a look at the best problem solving interview questions to hire top engineer talent, and how this key step in the hiring process can improve the candidate experience and help recruit top software developers.

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    How Do You Consider The Positives And Negatives Of A Situation Before Coming To A Decision

    This question can help the hiring manager learn more about your problem-solving process. In your answer, you can highlight whether you can make logical decisions using available information.

    Example:”**To begin with, I will outline my goals and perform a risk assessment against interfering factors. I do this because it allows me sufficient time to consider whether these goals are achievable with my resources. If the positives outweigh the negatives, I may design effective resolutions in advance to ensure the smooth running of a project.”

    Tips For Using Problem Solving Questions To Screen Candidates

    PROBLEM-SOLVING Interview Questions and ANSWERS!

    Problem solving interview questions are useful for helping to evaluate candidates who you will hire in roles that require analytical abilities. Here are several tips to help you get the most out of using problem solving interview questions:

  • Use example problems relevant to the role: Theres a vast difference between brain teasers and appropriate problem solving interview questions. So instead of asking broad questions that dont reveal relevant candidate information, such as An apple costs 20 cents, an orange costs 40 cents, and a grapefruit costs 60 cents, how much is a pear?, pose problems that the candidate is likely to come across in their role.
  • Standardize your set of problem solving interview questions: Using the same questions with all candidates will help you maintain objectivity and consistency. Before starting the interview process, decide which answers would constitute an excellent, fair, and poor response.
  • Ask problem solving questions with more than one logical answer: Problem solving questions are not just used to determine whether candidates can find the right answer, but about seeing how they reached that answer.
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    How Do You Implement Solutions To Problems

    Having a plan is one thing. Putting it into action is an entirely different matter. If you’re familiar with the adage “easier said than done,” you can probably infer the purpose of this question.

    Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to test candidates firsthand on their ability to implement solutions to problems. The next best thing is closely scrutinizing their personal experiences.

    Ask about problems they have solved in the past. Inquire about what may have happened if their solution didn’t work.

    For any theoretical scenarios, you propose, point out flaws in the candidate’s plan of action and have them gauge the practicality of performing it.

    Be meticulous here and determine how viable their answers are.

    What Do You Do When In A Significant Problem

    This question can help you understand the problem tackling mechanism that the candidate has in place. You can lookout for a logical step-by-step process. The approach used by every candidate here would be different and personal.

    Make sure they can give a structure to the answer they give. Here, you can see the candidates approach to the research he has taken up to find solutions to a problem.

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    Talk To Your Interviewer

    Talk with your interviewer during the whole process. What your interviewer is trying to measure is your problem solving ability and your level of comfort with your programming language of choice.

    That is a hard thing to measure if you dont open your mouth and just code away.

    Its crucial that you talk to your interviewer and let them know what youre thinking, what is your thought process, what ideas are you having, how are you understanding the problem, what logic are you going to follow with your solution and why are you making decisions.

    Talk to them, ask questions, explain yourself, and if you get stuck or dont know how to go on, explain to them exactly the thing that is giving you trouble. In most cases youll get some help and more importantly youll show them youre actually trying to work towards a solution.

    How Do You React To Unexpected Challenges Do You Have A Preferred System

    Sample Interview Questions

    This question looks at whether you are a planner or if you tend to jump straight into solutions. Depending on the job you are after, your interviewer may want to hear different types of answers.

    If youre applying for a role that requires analysis and deep thinking, you probably want to lean towards a reply that shows you have a methodical system for dealing with unexpected challenges.

    If, on the other hand, you are interested in working in a fast-paced environment and the job description uses words like nimble and agile, you would do better to describe your personal system for dealing with challenges as decisive and swift.

    The best answers probably lie somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, and most of us do genuinely find that we could respond either way. A good response is one that shows balance.

    Sample Answer

    Five Frequent Problem-Solving Interview Questions and Answers

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    How Are You Proactive About Avoiding Problems

    This question asks the interviewee to show their ability to mitigate risk particularly important in management roles or ones where leadership matters.

    Your ability to understand human nature, to plan ahead and focus on having multiple backup solutions in place is being assessed.

    When answering this question, you can also demonstrate your ability to think creatively and laterally.

    Remember, almost every employer wants to hire someone who shows initiative and makes their lives easier.

    Sample Answer

    I recently had to organize multiple networking events for our biggest departments. I knew that we would have an issue with incentivizing some of our busier sales staff to attend as previous events had been rather tame. I collated some feedback from last year and applied the lessons learned. For example, I tried to gamify the event and made sure there were enough aspects of the party that would appeal to a range of attendees.

    Not only did I hire top-notch caterers , but I also organized entertainment to work the crowd and create a buzz to make sure that people stayed around not just popped their heads in, as theyve done in the past. One extra incentive, which hadnt been used at our events before, was a raffle/goody bag concept which tied in with the next away day and even helped boost attendance there too.

    What Is Wcag And What Are The Differences Between A Aa And Aaa Compliance

    From Digital Accessibility Center:

    WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which are part of a series of web accessibility guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium.

  • Single A is viewed as the minimum level of requirement which all websites, apps, and electronic content such as documents should adhere to.
  • Double A is viewed as the acceptable level of accessibility for many online services, which should work with most assistive technology which is now widely available on both desktop and mobile devices, or which can be purchased as a third-party installation.
  • Triple A compliance is viewed as the gold standard level of accessibility, which provides everything for a complete accessible offering, including all the bells and whistles which make the difference between a very good experience and an excellent one.
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    What Are Some Examples Of Problem

    Problem-solving skills can assist you in discovering the source of a problem and finding a solution. While problem-solving is a skill itself, there are many other skills you can use in conjunction with problem-solving to tackle challenges in the workplace:

    • Active listening skills

    • The ability to conduct researching

    • Creative skills

    If You Identify A Potential Risk In A Project What Steps Do You Take To Prevent It

    Whiteboard Coding Interviews: 6 Steps to Solve Any Problem

    Yes, this is also a problem-solving question. The difference is, with this one, its not about fixing an issue its about stopping it from happening. Still, you use problem-solving skills along the way, so it falls in this question category.

    If you can, use an example of a moment when you mitigated risk in the past. If you havent had that opportunity, approach it theoretically, discussing the steps you would take to prevent an issue from developing.


    If I identify a potential risk in a project, my first step is to assess the various factors that could lead to a poor outcome. Prevention requires analysis. Ensuring I fully understand what can trigger the undesired event creates the right foundation, allowing me to figure out how to reduce the likelihood of those events occurring.

    Once I have the right level of understanding, I come up with a mitigation plan. Exactly what this includes varies depending on the nature of the issue, though it usually involves various steps and checks designed to monitor the project as it progresses to spot paths that may make the problem more likely to happen.

    I find this approach effective as it combines knowledge and ongoing vigilance. That way, if the project begins to head into risky territory, I can correct its trajectory.

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    How To Answer Problem

    Okay, before we get to our examples, lets take a quick second to talk about strategy. Knowing how to answer problem-solving interview questions is crucial. Why? Because the hiring manager might ask you something that you dont anticipate.

    Problem-solving interview questions are all about seeing how you think. As a result, they can be a bit unconventional.

    These arent your run-of-the-mill job interview questions. Instead, they are tricky behavioral interview questions. After all, the goal is to find out how you approach problem-solving, so most are going to feature scenarios, brainteasers, or something similar.

    So, having a great strategy means knowing how to deal with behavioral questions. Luckily, there are a couple of tools that can help.

    First, when it comes to the classic approach to behavioral interview questions, look no further than the STAR Method. With the STAR method, you learn how to turn your answers into captivating stories. This makes your responses tons more engaging, ensuring you keep the hiring managers attention from beginning to end.

    Now, should you stop with the STAR Method? Of course not. If you want to take your answers to the next level, spend some time with the Tailoring Method, too.

    With the Tailoring Method, its all about relevance. So, if you get a chance to choose an example that demonstrates your problem-solving skills, this is really the way to go.

    Common Examples Of Problem

    • Describe a situation at work which was very stressful and how you dealt with it?
    • Tell us about a problem at work which you couldnt solve and what did you do?
    • Do you enjoy solving the problem on your own before asking for any help?
    • Have you ever used a creative solution to solve any work-related problem
    • How do you deal with new challenges at work
    • Did it ever happen that you were gonna miss the deadline. How did you handle the solution?
    • Explain a troubleshooting process
    • What makes you the best problem solver as per you?
    • How do you deal with a situation where you cannot find the problems solution
    • In case of an urgent situation, what do you do, react immediately to solve the problem or assess the situation?
    • Tell us something about your previous jobs most challenging aspect and how you used to handle it?
    • Describe your process of collecting data and create problem-solving strategies
    • What type of process did you use for solving problems in your previous company
    • Explain the data collection process and the process of conducting risk management
    • Tell us how do you analyze and assess the risk and how do you deal with it
    • Describe a problem-solving situation which you did with an example

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    Canned Responses To Questions

    Preparing answers is key to success for any interview. However, this means preparing original, effective, and relevant answers that are related to the position youre interviewing for.

    Generic answers to behavioral problem-solving questions such as tell me about a time you had to solve an issue with a customer are considered warning signs. An example of a generic answer to that particular question is this one time I had to deal with an angry customer who had complaints about the pricing of a product. I calmed her down and made the sale. As you can see, this answer does not provide much insight into your problem solving-skills, thought process, and how you approach the situation.

    If you give a generic answer, you can expect more follow-up questions from the interviewer. However, its better to prepare strong answers to impress the interviewer that you actually possess the required skills for the job.

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