What do Google, Salesforce, Starbucks, and Nintendo all have in common? They’re some of the most innovative companies in the world according to Forbes. Although many organizations strive to be the next leader in innovation, they overlook an important point: your ability to innovate begins with the candidates you hire.
Are you looking for a candidate with proven chops to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas? Hiring the right person all comes down to the interview questions you ask.
In this article, you’ll find 27 interview questions to help you gauge a candidate’s innovation abilities. Along with general innovation questions, you’ll also find questions for related competencies, including goal-oriented, service-oriented, strategic thinking, and technical skill.
Read on to uncover all of the innovation interview questions.
General Innovation Interview Questions
- Tell me about a time when your go-to solution for a problem didn’t work. What did you do instead?
- Do you think it’s better to rely on an established method that you know will work or to try a new method that involves a risk of failing?
- Tell me about the last time you had to come up with a creative solution to overcome an obstacle or solve a problem. What steps did you take to create the solution?
- Tell me about a time when you came up with a solution on the fly. What was the problem you were solving, and what was your process for thinking of the solution?
- Is there a situation when an organization shouldn’t seek to innovate a process or method? Explain your reasoning.
- Describe a time when you successfully implemented a process improvement that made a positive impact. What steps did you take to think of the improvement and implement it?
Goal-Oriented Interview Questions
- Tell me about a time when you set an ambitious goal for a project you were working on. How did you determine the goal, and what steps did you take to try to meet it?
- Tell me about a time when you incorporated your company’s mission into a project.
- Tell me about the last project you worked on that you were passionate about. What made you so invested in the project?
- What parts of the values and missions of our organization most resonate with you?
- Tell me about a time when you completed a difficult task against all odds.
- Imagine you were starting in this role today, and I asked you to set three goals: one to achieve within the week, one within the first few months, and one within a year from today. What would those goals be?
- Tell me about a time when you didn’t meet your [project deadline / sales quota]. How did you react, and what did you do?
Filter questions by competency, department, and role with our free question-finding tool.
Service-Oriented Interview Questions
- Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond in your work for a [customer / manager].
- Tell me about the last work-related project you supported or managed that you were really proud of. What made your contribution to that particular project special?
- Tell me about a time when you had to balance doing high-quality work and driving results while maintaining a work-life balance for yourself.
- Tell me about a time when you made a lasting impression on a [prospect / customer].
Strategic Thinking Interview Questions
- Tell me about a time when you had to understand the big picture while also managing a lot of smaller details. How did you avoid losing sight of the overall strategy?
- Imagine you have to explain a major project you’re working on to the CEO, but you only have 3-4 sentences to explain it. What would you say?
- Do you tend to be a big-picture thinker or detail-oriented? Share an example that illustrates the approach you take.
- Tell me about a time when you had to build a strategic plan. What steps did you take, and what was the outcome?
- Tell me about a time when you took a step back to better understand the big picture in a situation. How did you know you needed to take a step back and what did you learn from the experience?
- Tell me about a time when you measured a strategy’s effectiveness. What was your process for measuring success?
- Tell me about a project you’ve worked on that connects to the larger context of your business and the market it operates in.
- What kinds of sources (publications, experts, influencers, etc.) do you follow to stay in the loop on the latest [marketing, sales, customer success] best practices and trends?
Technical Skill Interview Questions
- Tell me about a time when you created and implemented a plan from start to finish. What steps did you take?
- Tell me about a system you designed or improved. What did it look like before, and how did you evolve it?
- Tell me about a situation where you had to apply a newly acquired knowledge or skill.
- Describe a time when you used logic to solve a technical problem.
- Tell me about a time when you were unable to overcome a technical issue or problem. Why were you unable to overcome it, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Tell me about a time when you anticipated a need to improve a technical skill and proactively took action.
- What are some ways you stay in the loop on the latest tech trends?
- Tell me about a time when your industry knowledge helped you identify a potential problem and develop a strategy to address it.
- When presented with a new technology in the workplace, how do you adapt?
- Tell me about a time when you used technology to avoid, identify, or solve a problem.
Hire better with help from 300+ interview questions
Looking for more helpful interview questions? With our interview question-finding tool, you can access 300+ interview questions that you can filter by competency, department, and role.
Download the Interview Question Finder to unlock a free bank of interview questions. Or, visit the Interview Question Resource Hub to find more interview questions by competency and role.