September 4, 2018 at 6:15 am #2488JeffAltmanCoachKeymaster
This is an obnoxious interview question, only because most people have no idea of what someone is talking about when they say, “So, give me an example of your lateral thinking.”
Simply say that lateral thinking is a creative way toward solving a problem. However, they are using this term, rather than the more common way of asking, to create an impression. They want to give you a sense that they are more powerful, they are more knowledgeable you are a moron.
The 1st thing I want to do is encourage you to ask, “I want to confirm what you mean by lateral thinking. You may creative problem-solving? Is that what you are referring to or something else?”
Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding.
What you’ve done is indicate that you know what they mean by lateral thinking that you want to confirm that THEY know what is meant by lateral thinking.
It’s a creative way of demonstrating that you know how to swap them back like the fleas that they are for using an obnoxious term when asking the question. So what you’ve done is asked him whether when they use the term, “lateral thinking,” they were referring to creative problem-solving or something else. They will respond by saying, “No no no. Creative problem-solving.”
Depending upon where you are in your career, you would answer in a different way.
If you are a student and looking for your 1st job and trying to answer this question, you might stop is saying, “You know, I don’t have many professional work experiences where I have been asked to creatively problem solve. Certainly not to the degree that you will ask me to do. The kind of situations that had to deal with have been relatively simple.” Then, you address how you approach them.
Let’s say you are in a customer service situation and had to deal with irate customer, headed to come them with the joke, a smile, a laugh, deflecting their anger In some way. How did you address the kind of the situation? Maybe you had a manager who is “biting you” for some reason. They were having a bad day and maybe you said, “I want to help you but I would really appreciate it if you tell me what was going on because you seem more upset and stressed than usual. How can I help you?”
If you’re more experienced person, you really talk about a professional situation where you were given something that was a unique challenge and how you went about dissecting the problem to come up with a creative solution and then talk about the dissection process through to the solution.
See what I’m doing? I’m sorry off by asking them to define the term and then talking about situations that you could have conceivably been in we’ve had a situation where you had to creatively address an issue.
Again, if your college grad, the nature of the creative problem-solving that you had to deal with may have been relatively simple by comparison to what you might be asked to do in this organization. If you are a more experienced person, you go into the situation, define how you address that and go on from there.
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