I saw this question come up on a forum. Beyond the judging and mocking from several who said every job is about solving problems, this question triggered a thought process in my head about hiring.
You have the standard questions you can ask.
- Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem.
- Tell me about a time when you came up with a new approach to a problem.
- Describe a time when you faced a significant obstacle to succeeding with an important work project or activity.
With I am sure 101 or more other versions.
I like to warm up with one or two of these and then work back to this specifically when hiring roles that will directly impact business optimization with this scenario.
At one of your previous roles, you are given unlimited funds for technology, education, people – employees and contractors, whatever you can spend money on, but only 90 days to solve what you believe would be a huge impacting business issue.
What would have been that business issue?
How would you have gone about creating a new solution?
I have gotten everything from downright confusion of what I wanted to boundless excitement about what they would do.
The one thing I noticed is this got some candidates who were not very verbose to open up as they sat back, looked up and you could see them envisioning what they are about to start explaining to you.
Yes, ever job has some problem solving part of it. But, in today’s IT roles they are ALL about problem solving. Not just the how to squeeze more disk space or performance out of legacy equipment. But how to deliver more value to the business whether that be through improving profit on process optimization or creating a new revenue generating service for your clients.