We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?

  | James Innes

We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?

Alternative and related questions:

Can you tell me about a difficult problem that you resolved?
Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you’ve had to deal with?

The meaning behind the question:

Following on from the previous question, this question is, again, directly probing your problem-solving capabilities but, more than that, is doing so in a way that is directly relevant to the job for which you are applying.

The interviewer is trying to identify what you could really bring to the organisation.

They’re also assessing how able you are to think on your feet – because they’ll know there is no way you could have pre-prepared your answer to this one!

Your answer:

Problem ‘x’ could be just about anything. It could be a hypothetical problem but it’s probably more likely to be a real-life problem currently facing your prospective employer.

The main difficulty you face with this question is of course that it’s almost impossible to prepare for in advance. You’re going to have to think fast. However, rather than replying immediately I’d suggest you buy some time by getting the interviewer to talk a little more about the problem. Don’t be afraid to ask them a few questions first to make sure you fully understand what the problem is – and what the circumstances are. As well as arming you with more facts, this will also give you some valuable thinking time.

If you’re asked the alternative question, “Can you tell me about a difficult problem that you resolved?” then you’re lucky – because you can prepare a perfect example for this well in advance of the interview. Please refer to the previous question, Question 14, “Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you’ve had to deal with?” for details of how best to handle this.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

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The job market is fierce, competition has never been greater and it's important that you can grab every opportunity for competitive advantage and stay one step ahead. Written by one of the world's leading careers experts and bestselling author of The Interview Book, this definitive guide to questions and answers encourages every job-hunter to think on your feet and express your individuality while supplying ideal responses to interview questions so that you’re seen as the ideal candidate for the job.


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