9 Interview Questions That Test Your Ability to Think Critically (With Sample Answers)
During an interview, an employer may ask you questions to see how well you can think critically. So, they can see if you can evaluate information well and make good decisions. When answering these kinds of questions, you want to give answers that show you are creative and well-thought-out. In this article, we give you some sample answers to interview questions that are meant to test your critical thinking skills.
Sample questions and answers for an interview
Prepare for interview questions that will test your ability to think critically by looking at these sample answers:
- How would you tell your team about a new idea or method?
- What would you do if a coworker was having trouble understanding the information you were giving?
- Tell me how you decide what to do.
- What is the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make at work?
- What would you do if you saw that your boss did something wrong?
- What would you do if you had to make a choice but didn’t have all the facts?
- Are you willing to try new things?
- How does communicating help you improve your ability to think critically?
- Tell me about a time when you had to think critically to solve a problem.
How would you tell your team about a new idea or method?
Your job may call for you to teach or show your team new ideas or skills. Employers might ask you this question to find out if you can share information with others in a good way. To come up with a good answer, think about how you learn best, whether it’s through seeing, hearing, reading/writing, or doing. Find a way to answer the question using some of these ways to learn.
Example: “I find that a visual presentation is the best way to learn a new idea or technique. So, when I gave a presentation to my team, I made sure to use graphs, charts, photos, videos, and other kinds of visuals. People tend to understand information better when they can see it, which is something I’ve learned from giving presentations. It’s a way to get their attention and get them interested in what I have to say.”
What is the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make at work?
In some jobs, you have to make tough decisions. Employers ask this question to make sure that you have experience making decisions that require a lot of critical thinking. In your answer, give an example of a time when you used this skill. Tell us how you made your choice and what happened.
Example: “When I was the creative director, one of my most important jobs was to choose the new graphic designer. It was hard to choose this person because they would be working on campaigns for our best clients. I made this choice by giving the hiring process a lot of thought. I wanted to make sure I screened and talked to each candidate the right way. This process taught me that it takes a lot of work to make some important decisions. I was able to hire a very talented designer because of it.”
What would you do if you saw that your boss did something wrong?
There may come a time in your career when you need to tell a higher-up employee what they’re doing wrong. Employers ask this question to see if you can use critical thinking to figure out how to fix their mistake in a professional way. Show in your answer that you are honest enough to admit your mistake and professional enough to do so in a nice way.
Example: “I would wait until I could talk to them one-on-one about their mistake. So, I could explain in a nice way what they did wrong and what was right. This kind of thing has happened before, and the person who made the mistake always wants to talk about it in private. This gives them time to figure out how to fix what they did wrong.”
What would you do if you had to make a choice but didn’t have all the facts?
During a busy time in your career, you might have to make a choice faster than you’d like. This is a question an employer might ask to see if you can still make good decisions even when you don’t have all the facts. In your answer, show that you can work under stress and still make good decisions.
Example: “Even though I prefer to have all the facts before making important decisions, I know that this isn’t always possible. So, I would try to figure out the rest based on what I already know and what the rest of the story says. For example, if I was making a decision based on an incomplete study, I would try to find similar studies to help me make my decision.”
Are you willing to try new things?
Being open to new thoughts and ideas is a big part of being able to think critically. Employers ask this question to see if you are willing to listen to other people’s ideas and have an open mind. Answer this question by telling us how having an open mind can lead to more creative ideas and new things. Tell me how having an open mind has helped you.
Example: “I do think I have an open mind. I think that one way to come up with more innovative and creative solutions is to be open to new concepts and ideas. For example, at my last job, I often talked to the interns to get a different point of view. I found that they often had some of the most interesting ideas.”
How does communicating help you improve your ability to think critically?
Talking to other people about a problem can help you think about it in new ways. This question helps employers figure out if you can talk to people well. Make a response that shows you are willing to work with other people to solve problems. Show how open communication helps a team work well together.
Example: “When I talk to my coworkers about a problem or a choice, it helps me think things through better. Even just saying something out loud helps me think more critically. In the same way, hearing how other people see things can give me new ideas and help me come up with better solutions.”
Tell me about a time when you had to think critically to solve a problem.
Employers ask this question to find out if you’ve ever had to solve a problem by using critical thinking. Think about a time when you had to give a problem a lot of thought. Tell the interviewer how you did what you did.
Example: “Once, my client moved the deadline for my team up by a whole week with only one day’s notice. Since they paid the most, I told them we would find a way to make it work. I had to quickly figure out how to do the work of two weeks in one week. After talking with my team, we decided to divide the work evenly and hire a contractor to do some of the easier tasks. We were able to find a solution because we worked well as a team and talked to each other.”