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10 Critical Thinking Interview Questions: [With Sample Answers]

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Critical thinking interview questions can give a lot of insight into the mindset of the interviewee.

That’s why you shouldn’t go blindly to an important interview without preparing some basic ideas and answers to those questions.

In this post, we’ll go over 10 of those questions to put you in the mindset of those critical thinkers.

10 Common Critical Thinking Interview Questions

Here’s a quick overview of the 10 questions we’ll discuss in this post:

  1. What Would You Do if Your Supervisor Makes a Mistake?
  2. What Would You Do if Your Colleague Comes up With an Unusual Idea?
  3. Have You Predicted Work Problems or Prepared for Them Before?
  4. How Do You Handle Disagreements at Work?
  5. What’s the Most Difficult Decision You Made at Work?
  6. What Would You Do if Your Colleague Doesn’t Understand You?
  7. How Do You Handle a Task Without Clear Information?
  8. How Do You Convince Your Manager With an Idea That You Believe Is Better for Work?
  9. How Often Do You Ask Your Colleagues for Help?
  10. How Quickly Do You Make Decisions?

There are other types of questions that you can get in your interview.

You may stumble upon attention to detail interview questions, or tough interview questions that may catch you off guard.

Make sure to check out those types of questions as well to maximize your chances of landing the role.

What Should I Say in a Critical Thinking Interview?

A critical thinking interview is your chance to prove your skills to the interviewer.

However, you should only discuss your expertise based on the questions you’re asked.

You’re not aiming to throw a bulk of everything you know on every occasion.

Be systematic with your approach and answer only within the scope of the question.

If you feel that the questions weren’t enough to uncover everything you have to offer, you may express that at the end of the interview.

What Skills Are Critical Thinking Interviewers Looking For in a Candidate?

Here are the necessary skills for critical thinkers:

  • Problem solving: The candidate should be able to efficiently solve problems with minimum effort.
  • Open-mindedness and flexibility: The candidate should be open to solutions and ideas that aren’t his.
  • Detailed analysis: The candidate must quickly and efficiently analyze a given difficult situation, and come up with an appropriate course of action.
  • Expression and presentation skills: None of the greatness inside a candidate’s mind will shine to others unless they know how to let it out correctly.
  • Reasoning: The candidate should see the picture as a whole. This relies on logical thinking that’s not based on emotions.

What Traits Are Critical Thinking Interviewers Looking to Avoid in a Candidate?

  • Overconfidence: There’s a difference between being capable and being overconfident.
    Don’t boast about yourself too much while highlighting a certain skill to avoid giving the wrong vibe.
  • Greed: It’s okay to ask about your job description, your work environment, and your salary.
    But don’t emphasize too much on the financials to avoid being seen as greedy.
  • Biased thinking: Biased thinking is the opposite of reasoning.
    You shouldn’t let your emotions interfere while making important, career-deciding decisions.

Sample Critical Thinking Interview Questions and Answers

Now to the heart of the post:

1. What Would You Do if Your Supervisor Makes a Mistake?

This is a common interview question in business-related positions.

Since you’d always have managers and supervisors, knowing how to address them is a must.

Why This Question is Asked

Supervisors are often regarded as the benchmarks of the job. Having them making mistakes, although occasional, isn’t good for their general image.

This question is usually asked to determine how would you approach your supervisors in uncomfortable situations, especially when they’ve made an actual mistake.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

You need to focus on providing the best method to draw your supervisor’s attention to that mistake without embarrassing them in front of others.

This is especially important if the mistake happened during a presentation or an important phone call.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

It’s crucial to avoid making yourself look good at the expense of your supervisor.

Seeming better than your supervisor in the eyes of managers is a good thing, but throwing your supervisor under the bus to do so is a terrible quality that will get you nowhere.

Example Answer

If I’m sure that my supervisor had made a mistake, I would wait until I can talk to them about it in private.

I wouldn’t want my mistakes to be pointed out in front of others, and I don’t think anyone would want a similar situation.

2. What Would You Do if Your Colleague Comes up With an Unusual Idea?

You’ll often get this question in jobs of large groups where teamwork is key to success.

Your interviewer would want to know how you handle yourself with ideas that aren’t yours.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is to target your open-mindedness when approached with ideas that might seem strange to you.

If you can’t judge other ideas without bias, then you won’t handle yourself in team-based jobs.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

You need to focus on establishing your flexibility regarding other ideas and opinions in general, especially if such an idea will replace yours.

Show that you don’t mind having someone else decide how the work will go as long as the idea is actually good.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid faking that you’re completely indifferent when someone provides a better idea than yours.

Notice how we said (don’t mind) earlier instead of (don’t care).

If you act completely indifferent, the interviewer will sense dishonesty, as nobody is indifferent to having someone else take the idea from them.

Example Answer

I spent three months in my old job doing a certain task with certain steps.

A colleague once pointed out a new approach to me which I found a bit strange at first.

When we sat down and talked about it, we found and eliminated the loopholes in his approach and made it even better together.

3. Have You Predicted Work Problems or Prepared for Them Before?

This is one of the problem-solving interview questions.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is asked to determine your observation skills in anticipating and preparing for a certain issue.

Your interviewer would want to know whether you can think ahead, or are too focused on your current tasks.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Focus on highlighting your problem solving skills.

Provide examples that show, not only that you have predicted certain issues, but also how you tackled problems that you weren’t expecting.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid lying about your observation and problem-prediction skills.

If you haven’t seen a negative outcome at work before, then don’t pretend that you have.

Your interviewer will usually catch you.

Example Answer

My manager and I once had to meet an important client at the airport.

The commute usually takes 15 minutes and it wasn’t rush hour.

The weather that day was a bit colder than usual and I feared that it may rain and slow us down.

On checking the forecast, there was a high possibility of rain.

We moved 30 minutes earlier than we originally planned to, and we arrived just in time.

4. How Do You Handle Disagreements at Work?

You might be asked this question if your field contains multiple strategies or ideas that may lead to a disagreement.

Why This Question is Asked

Your interviewer asks this to determine your analytical skills.

You should be able to hear everyone’s ideas, decide which is best, and explain to those who disagree why their ideas aren’t viable.

You should also do all of that while calming down the atmosphere.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Focus on highlighting that you have the work/project’s best interest in mind.

Explain that you’ll weigh the pros and cons of every opinion and act accordingly.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid presenting yourself as the ultimate lifesaver at work.

Your interviewer knows that you must have been in a disagreement that you couldn’t handle before.

In other words, don’t give yourself too much credit on this one.

Example Answer

We were once talking about the new discounts we should apply to certain products.

Various proposals were verbally given, leading to a marked disagreement between the team members.

I stepped up and wrote everyone’s proposal, along with the pros and cons for each. Having everything written helped everyone lean toward the best decision.

5. What’s the Most Difficult Decision You Made at Work?

This question is usually asked if you’re applying for a management position, like a supervisor.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is asked to determine whether you’re capable of making logical, unbiased decisions.

When you’re in a management position, tough decisions will be inevitable.

Your interviewer needs to know if you will be able to handle the pressure.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Focus on highlighting that your decision prioritized the company’s interest even if it was emotionally difficult.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid mentioning decisions that have hurt the business.

This will negatively affect your credit in front of the interviewer.

Example Answer

I had a friend who worked in a team that I supervised.

There was a chance to promote two of the team members to team leaders after a certain probation period.

He was a promising candidate.

Unfortunately, he relied on our friendship to land the position and was outperformed by two other candidates.

I had to put our friendship aside because he simply wasn’t the best choice at the time.

6. What Would You Do if Your Colleague Doesn’t Understand You?

You’ll hear this question a lot in jobs where you’re constantly on the move and unable to use a pen and paper to explain everything.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is asked to determine your ability to simplify what your mind is thinking about into words that anyone can understand.

Knowing something is good, but knowing how to express that something is even better.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Focus on highlighting your “simplifying” ability to the interviewer as you answer the question.

Your answer should be as simple and as short as possible. Be clear and straight to the point.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid trying to explain something complicated to the interviewer.

You may not leave the good impression you initially wanted if you don’t manage to deliver the idea correctly.

Example Answer

If someone is failing to get my point of view, I will ask them to explain what they have already understood

After that, I’ll explain the rest of my thought step by step while ensuring that my colleague is understanding me by pausing and asking them.

7. How Do You Handle a Task Without Clear Information?

This is one of the situational interview questions.

You’ll be asked this question if the job you’re applying to is often too fast-paced for all the information to go around smoothly.

Why This Question is Asked

The interviewer asks this question to determine your ability to handle difficult situations when you have to perform a certain task without all the instructions/information available.

This is to provide whether you’re reliable in difficult situations or not.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Focus on showing how you’d take a bit of time (if possible) to reach out for information.

You have to provide that you’ll still exert some effort to find the information from your manager if you can.

If that wasn’t possible, then explain that you’ll assess the situation and fill in the gaps yourself.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid immediately answering as if you were prepared for it.

This particular question needs a few seconds of thinking before answering.

After a pause, answer by briefly mentioning that you’ll seek help, then you’ll handle the situation yourself if help wasn’t available.

Example Answer

I was once handed a certain product that I was supposed to advertise on short notice.

The product was unlike the ones I usually deal with, so I had little to no information, and my manager was unavailable.

I ended up texting my teammates to provide me with the information template of that product.

While waiting for their response, I was Googling the product just in case I don’t hear from them in time.

I ended up selling two large containers of it.

8. How Do You Convince Your Manager With an Idea That You Believe Is Better for Work?

You’ll be asked this question when your work involves constant communication with your manager.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is asked to determine whether you’re capable of understanding your manager’s thinking process.

Once you get a sense of how your manager handles things as a person, you’ll be able to convince them with alternative work approaches, providing that they’re fruitful, of course.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Emphasize that you’re trying to convince your manager that the idea is genuinely better for the workflow and that you’re not just trying to make yourself stand out.

Then methodically explain how would you weigh your idea against the existing idea, and why would it be better for the company.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid presenting that you’ve convinced your manager with an idea multiple times before.

You may think this will be to your advantage, but your interviewer may think that you could be a nuisance to your supervisors.

Example Answer

My old job had a pretty efficient product delivery system.

Customers were happy and the company was profiting.

One day I came up with an idea that could make the deliveries go even smoother.

My manager asked me: Why change what works?

I showed him the projected data in the long run while explaining how the fuel and time savings would yield even more profit.

He took the idea to upper management, reviewed it, and actually applied it.

9. How Often Do You Ask Your Colleagues for Help?

You’ll hear this question a lot if you’re applying for an office job.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is usually asked to determine if you can balance between relying on yourself to finish tasks, and asking for help when the workflow is compromised.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Emphasize that just like asking for help, you’d be happy to provide help as well.

You should also show that you will try your best to finish your tasks independently to avoid unnecessarily wasting someone else’s time.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

While asking for help may build the (team player) image, you should be careful not to come out as overly dependent on your colleagues.

This might let the interviewer feel that you could be more of a team burden.

Example Answer

I try my best to finish my tasks independently even if they take a bit more time from me than expected.

However, if I feel that a task is too urgent for me to take my time with it, I’d rather waste a few minutes of a colleague’s time instead of a few hours of the company’s.

10. How Quickly Do You Make Decisions?

You’ll often get asked this question if your role is expected to lead others in a certain work environment.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is asked to assess if you’re able to handle tough decisions, especially when there’s a lot of pressure and not much time to act.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Focus on balancing your answer.

You should show that you can make decisions on short notice and that you’re not hastily taking decisions.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid making it seem like you always make decisions quickly.

You may think that this will improve your chances during the job search, but it may make you look careless.

Example Answer

I can make decisions as quickly as needed.

I do prefer to take my time and go through every possible piece of information, but I’m gradually training myself to judge the deciding information faster should I need to make a decision on the spot.

Other Common Interview Questions You Could Be Asked

Here are some other questions that you may be asked in any type of interview:

1. Why Should We Hire You? 

Almost every interview ends with this question.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is asked to determine your self-evaluation, and how ready you think you are for the job you’re applying to.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Focus on mentioning your qualities that will directly and positively affect the position you’re seeking.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t waste too much time listing your entire set of qualities.

You may list everything if you want to, but prioritize mentioning the relative qualities first when your interviewer’s attention span is at its best.

Example Answer

I believe that I’m one of the best, if not the best candidates applying for this position.

The confidence in my answer doesn’t stem from my current set of skills but from my ability to improve over time.

You may have another candidate that, in the meantime, overtakes me in an aspect or two.

However, my consistent self-improvement will render me better than them in the long run.

2. Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Another common question that many interviewers will have in mind.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is asked to determine if you’re planning a future in the company you’re applying for.

Candidates who are planning to stay are often prioritized over those who aren’t.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

At this point, you may not be sure whether you’re going to stay in the company or not.

But what you’re sure of is that you’re constantly going to pursue your career goals and your professional improvement as a person, so focus on that.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid reciprocating with unprofessional questions, like will you be around for 5 years?

Or can the company keep me for 5 years?

These responses aren’t funny and will hurt your chances of landing the job.

Example Answer

I see myself as a valuable employee who has already climbed a step or two on the company’s ladder.

I don’t like having a roof over me, so I will keep improving to prevent my job from becoming stale and fruitless.

This won’t only benefit me, but will also prove useful to the company since I won’t be promoted unless I provide quality work.

3. Two Truths and a Lie

This is more of a behavioral interview question.

It might take some applicants by surprise, as it’s not as common as the previous two.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is asked as an icebreaker.

Your answers will often be non-work related, and they will give your interviewer some insights about your personality.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Focus on being a little unpredictable.

For example, you can try to keep the tone of your three sentences unified to avoid letting the interviewer know which is the truth and which is the lie.

You can also try faking that one of the truths is a lie to misguide the interviewers.

This is the fun part of the interview, so use your body language as well.

Have a look at how Will Smith handled it in the Ellen Show.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

This is a fun question, so avoid having a stern face or a stiff attitude.

Your interviewer at this point is trying to ease some of the interview tension off of you, so relax.

Example Answer

When I was a child, my nickname was “say an actual funny, seemingly unbelievable” nickname that you actually had.

I like my coffee extra creamy (you don’t), and I prefer plain ties over striated ones.

Keep your lie in the second or the third sentence.

Give a funny facial expression as you say the nickname, then be calm and natural in the following two sentences to keep your interviewer guessing.

4. Do You Want to Tell Us Anything Else About You?

This question is asked when the interview is at an end.

Why This Question is Asked

Your interviewer would ask this question at the end as a subtle attempt to test your self-control.

Since this is an open-ended question that you may not have prepared an answer for, you may be startled for a second.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Stay relaxed regardless of what your answer is going to be.

Be confident, have a friendly tone, and, most of all, smile.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid rushing to an answer if you don’t have anything to say.

Taking a few seconds to respond will show much more confidence than being like: “Uhhh, not really. I think we’ve covered it all.”

Example Answer

If you still need to throw some light on one of your skills, you may say something like: I believe that I haven’t properly explained how fitting I can be regarding this certain aspect.

Then proceed to say what you have.

If you don’t have anything to add, a sample answer could be: The only thing I would say now is to thank you very much for your time, and then proceed for a warm handshake. This will give you huge credibility.

5. What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

This question isn’t as common as the previous ones, but you should be ready for it nevertheless.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is asked to determine how ambitious you are, and whether you’re thriving for improvement, or just settling for whatever source of income you can get.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Express some of your future goals, then show how you’ve already progressed in life so far.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

There’s a difference between being ambitious and being greedy.

Try to remain as calm and composed as much as possible to avoid showing greedy vibes.

Example Answer

Since childhood, I’ve always wanted to be the owner of something big.

I’ve looked up to major entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

I’m hoping that my career development in the company will help me pursue such a dream.

Additional Tips for Critical Thinking Interviews

Here are a few extra tips for you to keep in mind while preparing for your interview:

How Do You Prepare for a Critical Thinking Interview?

The best way to prepare is to research the common critical thinking questions, and then modify your answers based on your skills and experience.

Interviewers are aware of the answers found online, and they don’t want to hear a template of something you already know.

Use the information you find online, but add your touch to it.

What Should You Wear to a Critical Thinking Interview?

The best attire to wear for an interview is one that makes you look professional.

It should also be comfortable enough so you can sit through the interview without feeling restricted.

Start with business casual. If you’re having second thoughts, go for formal wear.

Avoid excessive or overly fancy jewelry to not be seen as a show-off. Be you, but neatly.

How Should You Introduce Yourself In a Critical Thinking Interview?

You’re often not the only one applying for a position.

Be short and straight to the point so that your interviewer can have an easy conversation with you.

Start by mentioning your name while shaking hands with your interviewer, then briefly thank the interviewer for the chance, and finalize by saying that you’re ready to answer any question they might have.

What Questions Should You Ask at the End of a Critical Thinking Interview?

Your interviewer may end the interview by asking if you have any questions for them.

This is one of those behavioral interview questions to test what you’d say if you’re not directly guided by a question.

You can go ahead and ask anything you feel like. Here are some examples:

Questions About the Specific Job

  • How will my performance be evaluated?
  • What are the expectations you have from me in the first 90 days?
  • How long before I get to (meet clients, manage my own account, exit the probation period…etc)?

Questions About the Company

  • What do you think of the company’s current values and how would you describe them?
  • What are the company’s future plans?
  • How has the company changed from the inside over the years?

Questions About the Work Culture

  • What is the work environment like?
  • What do newer employees find overwhelming when they start?
  • If you have worked anywhere else, what’s the difference between this company and your previous one?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a couple of the most common questions people may have about critical thinking skills and interviews:

How should I describe my critical thinking skills?

Describe your thinking skills alongside practical applications you’ve used them in.

Make sure to highlight any achievements you’ve done in the past that require strong critical thinking skills.

What are the 2 main components of critical thinking?

The two major components of critical thinking are: possessing above-average intellectual and processing skills, and being able to habitually use those skills to guide one’s behavior without extra effort.

Wrapping Up

Those were the 10 critical thinking interview questions you needed to know, along with some extra questions and information about how to handle the interview.

The answers above are examples to guide you on how to be in the mindset of critical thinkers, and how to formulate your own answers. In other words, they’re guides, not templates.

The most important thing to do while following all of these instructions is to remain calm, cool, and collected.

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