Today with the emphasis
on trends such as reengineering and continuous improvement.
Employers are placing a premium on creativity. For the most part. they want employees
who can "think out of the box." Although difficult
to measure in the interview setting. you may find employers
using questions similar to the following in an effort to measure
your level of creativity:
- What are the various approaches that could be used to solve the
following problem (employer cites problem)?
- How many different
approaches can you think of?
- What would be the most creative
approach to optimize results?
- Tell me about something very creative you did.
- What was unique about it?
- How did you arrive at the idea?
- What other possibilities did you consider?
- Why was this a particularly creative solution?
- What examples
can you give that highlight your creativity?
- What is the most creative thing you have done?
- What is the second
most creative thing you have done?
- Do you consider yourself to be more analytical or more creative?
Explain by providing some examples of things you have done.
- lf you were at the top of a 40-story building and had to get to
the rooftop of an adjacent building without going down the stairs
to the street, how many ways can you think of to accomplish this?
The Classic Answers
Hopefully, the following examples will prove helpful to you
in seeing how this category of interview questions might be
"Perhaps one of the most creative things that I have done had
to do with reducing our hiring costs by greater than 30 percent
through the use of direct mail as a replacement for newspaper
advertising. I remembered from a college advertising course
that direct mail, if well-designed, will normally produce between
a 3 percent to 5 percent favorable return rate. On the other
hand, since we were recruiting research scientists with very
narrow specialties, newspaper advertising was proving very
ineffective, and we were paying huge advertising bills to boot.
When you ran an ad for these scientists, you really had to ask
yourself the following questions. "What is the probability
that a scientist with these specific credentials is going
to be reading this newspaper on this particular date, turn to
this specific page, see this particular ad, and at the same
time have an interest in this specific position at this particular
location?" When asking this question of myse1j; I had
to admit that the probabilities were remote!
As I thought about this, it occurred to me that by using direct
mail I could reach a highly targeted group of qualified individuals
and would not have to depend upon the random possibility that
they would see the ad I had been running. By using a computerized
patent database to identify creative persons having patents
in our areas of interest, I was able to design highly pin- pointed
direct mail campaigns to find these hard-to- find scientists.
The results were that we reduced recruiting time by 80 percent
with a corresponding drop of 30 percent in advertising expense.
This has saved the company almost $0.5 million annually, and
has also improved the caliber of the persons we are now hiring
for these positions."
"Actually, I don't believe that you can be creative without being
analytical. I believe that I am both creative and analytical.
In creativity, you use a combination of abstract thinking
(envisioning a barrage of possibilities} along with inductive
reasoning. Once a number of varied possibilities are floating
around in your head, you begin the analytical process of systematically
testing each to get down to a core group of possibilities that
has some merit. At this point, through experimentation, these
possibilities can be tested for their practical application and
arrival at a final decision. Such experimental design requires
analytical thinking. I am a person who is good at coming up
with the possibilities as well as analyzing them for their practical
value, and I enjoy both activities."