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critical thinking questionsThe ability to think critically is one of the personal attributes that job interviewers are most hoping to find  — especially in candidates for positions requiring leadership or therapeutic decision-making. Here are some examples of critical thinking questions that you may encounter in a job interview:

Clinical Scenarios

In interviewing for positions in fields such as nursing, where care decisions may have to be made in an emergency situation, the employer may ask questions that are phrased as a story. For example, a question might sound something like the following:

“You are overdue at an important staff meeting when a patient on your floor calls out to you for assistance. Your supervisor instructs you to allow another nurse to take charge of the patient’s situation, but you have knowledge about this patient that the other nurse does not have. Describe how you would approach this situation.

You can see from this example that critical thinking questions are often very open-ended, so that you can bring your own experience and analysis to the situation. A Udemy course that will help you get into the mindset for answering job interview questions is this  is a free 38-lecture course on How to Prepare for an Interview.

Standardized Critical Thinking Tests

Some job interviewers prefer not to rely on their own instincts when evaluating applicants’ critical thinking abilities. These employers are likely to give you a test to take. The sample question published by one of the most popular of these critical thinking exams contains the following features: It provides a short descriptive scenario which tells some facts about an event. It then goes on to give you an inference which might or might not be true, depending on your interpretation of the original scenario. You are required to decide whether you have enough data to tell whether if the inference is true, and then to choose how true or false it is. The following is a question from one of the most popular of these critical thinking exams:

“200 students in their early teens voluntarily attended a recent weekend student conference in a Midwestern city.  At the conference, the topics of race relations and means of achieving lasting world peace were discussed, since these were the problems the students selected as being most vital in today’s world.

Inference 1

As a group, the students who attended this conference showed a keener interest in broad social problems than do most other students in tier early teens.

Choose an answer: True, Probably True, Insufficient Data, Probably False, False”

If you’re concerned about facing a critical thinking test, you’ll get a shot of confidence from the Udemy course “Career Mind Master: Learn How to Get Your Dream Job.”

Questions About Your Thinking Process

Some interviewers may ask directly about the way in which you use your analytical abilities to solve problems. Typical questions of this sort may take the following form:

“Describe a situation in your past which presented you with a practical or ethical contradiction, and then describe the steps you took to solve that problem.”

These types of questions can often be best answered by making use of previous job experience, answering the question in a way that highlights the unique functions or responsibilities that you took on in your previous job. If you are interviewing for a completely new position because you’re ready to change careers, you’ll find some useful pointers in the Udemy course “Career Transition in five Easy Steps.”

Unique Companies Ask Unique Questions

Google has a reputation for asking particularly difficult job interview questions, which test not only critical thinking but also creativity and composure. Cutting-edge companies like this may create questions that are completely playful and unexpected, like verbal puzzles that sound nonsensical at first. The interviewer is carefully observing how you handle the magical premise that the question is based on, so you might as well treat these types of questions as an improvisation exercise and approach them with a playful mind. Glassdoor has over 2000 Google interview experiences posted by users, so you can get a sense of what these mind-bending questions are like. (For example: “How would you estimate how many radio stations there are in the U.S.?”)

The use of such puzzle questions may be decreasing now, however; a New York Times interview with Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, quotes him as saying ” … we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything.”

Interviews that sound playful can be very hard work, however, and as you grapple with the effort of searching for a job, you can get into peak condition with the Udemy course “Job Search Boot Camp: Aim Your Search.”

Knowing ahead of time what kinds of questions to expect in a job interview will help you relax and do a great job when you’re finally sitting down with your interviewer.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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