Analytical problem solving is the ability to use a systematic approach in solving problems through analysis of problem and evaluation of alternate solutions; use logic, mathematics, or other problem solving tools in data analysis or in generating solutions.
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Thinking back over the last five years of your work, describe a situation in which you had to use mathematics to solve a complex problem. Take your time, remember a good example, and tell me all about it in detail.”
Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate show knowledge/skill in mathematics, perhaps deriving formulas, using modeling techniques, and/or conducting statistical analyses? Was there elementary skill in mathematics, requiring only basic addition/subtraction/multiplication/division?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “To what extent has your past work required you to be skilled in the analysis of technical reports or information? Pick any specific experience, which would highlight your skills in this area and describe it in detail.”
Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate conduct a close review of detailed technical information, requiring a professional education or training to understand? Was there a superficial/ incomplete review of information, perhaps covering materials such as popular magazines?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “What was your greatest success in using the principles of logic to solve technical problems at work? Be specific.”
Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate use inference/deduction to solve a technical problem, using tools of logic such as mathematics or computers? Was there little use of more than obvious facts/procedures for problem solving?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Describe a time when you were proud of your ability to use your mathematical knowledge or research techniques to solve a problem.”
Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate conduct/direct work which used research designs and/or statistics/mathematics? Was there use of only basic clerical skills/elementary mathematics as directed by someone else?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Solving a problem often necessitates evaluation of alternate solutions. Give me an example of a time when you actively defined several solutions to a single problem. Did you use any tools such as research, brain- storming, or mathematics?”
Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate develop alternative solutions to a problem based on a clarification of objectives and a review of facts/causes? Was there an obvious/standard solution or an autocratic solution, reflecting little specification of alternatives?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Give me an example of any time when you used tools such as survey data, library research, or statistics as important contributors to the definition of a specific problem.”
Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate have a primary role in research design, formal data collection, and interpretation? Was there acceptance of questionable information or assumptions, or over-dependence on others?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Enumerate the analytical tools with which you feel competent, and then give me an example from any time in your working history, which shows your ability to use analytical techniques to define problems or design solutions.”
Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate make an informed decision on which tool was best for a specific task, and use the tool with minimal supervision? Was there little actual use of the tool, even with supervision?
- Behavioral Interview Question: “Tell me about a time when you were systematic in identifying potential problems at work. Feel free to display your analytical skills.”
Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate anticipate and identify a problem, then collect data and analyze it? Were there a lack of anticipation/preparation and/or use of a trial-and-error approach?