Critical Thinking Interview Questions: 15 Interview Questions to Identify Top Candidates

Caroline Chessia | November 1, 2023

Critical thinking goes beyond technical expertise and is essential in a wide range of professions. It’s a skill that enables employees to analyze information, solve problems, and make informed decisions. You can gauge critical thinking using assessment tests, practical problem solving, or through crafting interview questions highlighting critical thinking abilities.

In this blog, we’ll be going through questions you can ask your candidates to figure out if they have the critical thinking skills you require for your open position. But first, let’s talk about why critical thinking skills are so important.

Why Are Critical Thinking Skills Necessary?

Critical thinkers are especially necessary positions that require problem solving skills, juggling various priorities, and analyzing data. Although many jobs and industries require a certain level of critical thinking ability, these skills are essential for some job roles and industries, including:

  • K-12: The best teachers are creative problem solvers. Between classroom management and learning fatigue, critical thinking skills help teachers find the best way to connect with their students.
  • Leadership Positions: Effective leaders must make strategic decisions, often in ambiguous situations. Critical thinking is crucial in leadership roles.
  • Creative Fields: In industries such as design, advertising, and content creation, the ability to think critically allows individuals to come up with innovative and unique solutions and ways to attract prospective customers.
  • Healthcare: Medical professionals must critically assess patient conditions, interpret test results, and make decisions that can have a significant impact on a patient’s well-being.
  • Technology: IT professionals, software developers, and data analysts rely on critical thinking to troubleshoot, create algorithms, and analyze data.

Now, let’s dive into a list of interview questions that can help you evaluate a candidate’s critical thinking abilities.

Interview Questions to Assess Critical Thinking:

Note: Feel free to mix and match these questions based on the specific role and the level of critical thinking required. Also–to expand on questions like these, you can use tools like AI Question Assist. interviewstream’s Ethical AI tool helps you come up with position and industry-based questions using community knowledge from a large language

  1. Tell me about a situation where you faced a complex problem at work? How did you approach it, and what was the outcome?
  2. How do you typically approach a new project or task? What steps do you take to understand the problem and develop a plan?
  3. Give an example of a situation where you had to think on your feet and adapt to unexpected challenges.
  4. Describe a project where you had to evaluate multiple options before making a decision. How did you assess the pros and cons?
  5. Provide an instance where you identified a problem in your current or previous role that others might have overlooked? What did you do about it?
  6. What methods do you use to gather and evaluate information when solving complex issues?
  7. Tell me about a situation where you had to analyze data to make a decision. What tools or methodologies did you use?
  8. Describe a project where you had to anticipate potential obstacles and develop contingency plans. How did your proactive thinking benefit the project?
  9. Provide an example of a time when you identified a solution that significantly improved a process or operation at your company?
  10. Describe a situation where you had to explain a complex concept or solution to someone who had little to no knowledge of the subject. How did you ensure effective communication?
  11. How do you prioritize tasks and allocate your time when dealing with multiple projects or assignments?
  12. Explain your process for identifying the root cause of a problem. Can you provide an example from your experience?
  13. Describe a project where you had to innovate and think outside the box to overcome a challenge or reach a goal?
  14. Tell me about a time when you had to analyze financial data or budgets to make recommendations or decisions for your department or company.
  15. How do you approach a project that requires you to think long-term and consider the potential future implications of your decisions?


How to Use Critical Thinking Interview Questions in your Interviewing Process

The ability to think critically and solve complex problems is relevant across a wide range of job roles and industries. You can use the questions above to assess the critical thinking abilities of your candidates. And you can assess those skills even better if you ask these questions in an in-person or video interview.

Especially if you are using these questions in screening interviews, video screening is an effective way to see the candidate process critical thinking questions in real time. For more information on interview questions, we wrote an article on the best interview questions to ask for team players, or you can fill out this form to chat with us today about how interviewstream can help you ask the right questions, every time.

About The Author

Caroline Chessia is the Marketing Operations Specialist at interviewstream. She loves color-coordinated graphs, hiking in the mountains, and every dog she meets—especially the Golden Retrievers.


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