If you were an employer, would you rather hire someone that was great at their past job, or would you rather hire someone that excels at solving problems? Though your work history is important, every job has new problems and challenges, and while your experience is going to play a role in how well you can solve those problems, your ability to be an analytical problem solver is arguably more important than your work history.
Behavioral Interview Question: Describe the project or task where you have successfully applied your analytical abilities. What was your role? What was the outcome?
Behavioral interview questions about your analytical skills need to have special emphasis on the process, not just the outcome. That’s because the interviewer is looking to see if your thought process is one that uses logic, clarity, and good judgment to solve a problem. In order to answer this question, try your best to do the following:
- Clearly Explain the Issue – An important part of analytical thinking is the ability to clearly understand a problem.
- Thoroughly Cover the Thought Process – What made sense? What didn’t? Why? These should all be included into your answer.
- Lead the Interviewer to the Conclusion – By the time you’re done with your story, the interviewer should clearly understand how you reached your conclusion.
If you’re able to successfully tell a story that weaves in this information well, you’ll be able to demonstrate a clear ability to use your analytical skills, and impress at the job interview.
“I had developed a new website for a particular client. We updated their PHP to 5.4 from 5.3.27, created all of the backups we needed, and it was time for me to move the old site over. They gave me full access to their server. I updated CPANEL to the Joomla template I created, then went into the program to make edits.
Something seemed off to me. Every time I tried to add two pages in succession, I would get a ‘Not Acceptable’ error. In addition, the site’s load speed was significantly worse than it had been for their previous site. At first I thought it was a bandwidth issue, but realized the issue was only on the backend, which indicated that there must be a security setting that was protecting the server at the expense of the domain. I went into the server and found that Mod_Security was turned ‘On.’
Since the server was controlled by a third party, I prepared a list of the next steps to make sure nothing would be forgotten, completed what I could, called the third party, and as soon as they turned mod_secuirty off. I completed the changes and the site was up and running perfectly.”
Proving your analytical abilities can be a challenge. Not everyone will have an example of “impressive common sense” on hand. So focus on your clarity and explanation, and try to come up with a topic that is related to the job that you’re interviewing for.