20 Critical Thinking Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Jun 26, 2020 | Recruiting | 0 comments

Critical thinking interview questions can help you to discover a candidate’s skills for critical thinking. We’ve collected some of the best questions to ask candidates to help you find out about their critical thinking skills.

Why Find Out About Applicant’s Critical Thinking Skills?

Critical thinking allows people to use reason and logic to make decisions. This is a great skill to find in a candidate because those who have critical thinking skills can be great at improving processes and thinking outside the box. If you need fresh ideas and clever people in your organization, you should be seeking out critical thinkers when you’re hiring.

Critical thinkers are:

Logical – they don’t let bias get in the way of their decisions. They can consider a situation from all angles and use logic to develop a solution.

Trustworthy – you can trust critical thinkers to make a well-reasoned decision based on fact, not emotion. They will use problem-solving techniques without getting caught up in the opinions of others.

Innovative – as they are able to come up with new ideas, they can have some fresh solutions for you that you may have never thought of. This can mean fantastic improvements to your company.

20 Critical Thinking Interview Questions

During the interview process is the perfect time to find out about the applicant’s critical thinking skills. These are difficult to assess through reading resumes and cover letters alone. If you’re considering conducting an interview to determine candidates’ problem-solving skills, you can use the following 20 critical thinking interview questions.

  1. Describe a situation that has happened to you when you needed to make a decision before having all the information. How did you go about it?
  2. Tell us about a time when you set a lofty goal for yourself and you achieved it.
  3. Say that you are presenting information with a slideshow your manager put together. You realize that there is a mistake on the slide. What do you do?
  4. Describe a time when you had to make a decision quickly and how you did this.
  5. Tell us about a time when you suggested that your company undertake a new process.
  6. Tell us what you are like as a leader.
  7. Have you ever had to convince a superior to try a different method for solving a problem? What happened?
  8. Have you ever foreseen a problem before it occurred? What did you do to mitigate this?
  9. You have been asked to work on a project, but your co-workers can’t agree on how to approach it. What do you do?
  10. How do you handle constructive criticism? Tell us about a time when someone criticized your work.
  11. Is it better to make more sales by dropping the price or increase the price to get more profit? Why?
  12. If you could have changed anything about your previous job, what would it be?
  13. If you could tell your previous company to change the way they do things, what would you say?
  14. How do you get others on board with your vision for a project?
  15. In a meeting, a coworker suggests an unsuitable solution to a problem. What do you say?
  16. Where do you expect to be in your career in 10 years? How will you get there?
  17. What was the last book you read? Why did you choose that book?
  18. Do you ever struggle with motivation? What do you do to motivate yourself when this occurs?
  19. What do you do when presented with a problem? Give an example of a time this has happened in the past.
  20. Describe a time when someone suggested to you an idea you’d never considered. How did you react?

How to Assess Critical Thinking Skills

The answers to these critical thinking interview questions, if you ask them, will vary across candidates. However, there are some common elements you can look for in the answers which will show candidates’ critical thinking skills.

Unexpected Answers

If the candidate gives an obvious answer to some of these questions, they may lack critical thinking skills. It suggests that they don’t know how to think outside the box. Look instead for unexpected answers that still solve the problem.

Complete Answer

Many people only answer questions halfway or give some response which doesn’t fully answer the question. This suggests a lack of critical thinking skills, either in the situation they described or in knowing how to answer your question.

Check Facts

In the examples they give you, did they search for more information before moving forward? A critical thinker will prefer to find out as much information as they can before making a decision.

Logical Reasoning

In the situations they explain to you, do they use logical reasoning to solve the issue at hand? Or do they jump to conclusions and skip the logic stage in favor of taking action? Search for logical reasoning within their answers to determine if they are a critical thinker.

Hiring employees with critical thinking skills can bring your organization many benefits. New solutions to old problems, wonderful ideas, and a whole lot of initiative. Use the above 20 critical thinking interview questions to decipher who amongst your applicants is a great critical thinker. If you hire based on that, you should find yourself with a wonderfully productive new employee.

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