How to Show That Problems Are Just Opportunities in Disguise
Behavioral Interview Question: Describe a situation in which you recognized a potential problem as an opportunity. What did you do? What was the result? What, if anything, do you wish you had done differently?
Every business has problems both large and small and employees play a huge role in identifying and solving those problems. Think back to all your work experiences and it shouldn’t be too hard to find an example of where you saw a problem in the workplace. You may not have single handedly solved the problem, but even if you just flagged it to your manager you played a key part in arriving at a good solution.
This is an excellent opportunity for you to share a contribution you made to the company. But the key here is finding a “problem” that is a real problem, and showing that you made a very real contribution. Here’s an example:
“At COMPANY we were developing software to help market researchers create surveys quickly and easily. We also took on surveys that researchers wanted to outsource, and I was in charge of creating those surveys. As I was building the survey, I noticed that creating the survey was challenging, because text had to be manually inputted into each question. I realized that researchers were probably struggling with the same problem, and asked the IT team if they could make a change so that text could be uploaded from a .csv document all at once. Once IT realized it wasn’t particularly difficult given the current software setup, I mentioned the idea to sales and they started using it as a tactic in their sales calls, because the ease of uploading questions in this way would help encourage researchers to buy the platform.”
This example shows that you saw a problem (difficulty creating surveys), and found a solution that was not only easy to implement, but also a great sales tactic. It provided an opportunity for the company to sell to more researchers, and gave them a leg up on the competition.
Look into your own past and see if there are any examples of:
- New Processes
- New Ideas
- New Products/Services
- New Hires/Positions
If you’ve ever spoken up at meetings or talked about problems with your boss, there are likely contributions that you have made that impacted the company. Try to figure out if any of those exist, and what they may be.
It is also helpful to understand your problem solving approach. There are 3 Types of Problem Solvers and employers want to know that you can be all three.
Look over our post that describes all 3 approaches and use this information to better develop your reply to the behavioral question above.