A process-driven skill
In the workplace, there are important steps that can contribute to a candidate’s ability to successfully solve problems. Let’s take a look:
Identify the problem
Problem-solving begins with accurately identifying the problem. This determining factor looks at whether a candidate can find the origin and the implications of the problem. It includes:
• Differentiating between fact and opinion
• Compiling data to determine the problem
• Identifying underlying causes
• Recognizing which processes are affected
• Pinpointing the process standard
By accurately identifying the problem, individuals can proceed to the next step to solve the problem.
Determine alternative solutions
Once an individual has established the source of the problem, they can determine alternative solutions. The goal of plotting solutions to the problem is to remedy it and realign it with business goals. A creative problem-solving test may identify whether an individual has the competency to determine solutions. Key competencies in seeking solutions include:
• Establishing alternative solutions that align with business goals;
• Determining whether a problem needs short- or long-term solutions;
• Evaluating how solutions may impact on resources; and
• Determining if there are any barriers to implementing the solutions.
Although any problem can have multiple solutions, the simplest or fastest one may not always be the best course of action. This is where solution comparison comes into play.
Compare solutions and plot a course
Once all possible solutions are determined, it is important to compare them. This involves evaluating each solution without bias to determine the optimal solution to the problem.
Through the evaluation process, the individual should rule out options that do not align with company goals, may take too much time and/or resources, or are unrealistic in their approach.
Some considerations when determining the best solution include the likelihood of solution implementation, whether all parties involved will accept the solution, and how it fits in with business goals. Additionally, it is important to note that the goal of the optimal solution is to solve the problem without causing additional or unanticipated problems.
In essence, problem-solving is about finding solutions that cause as little disruption as possible and correcting a project’s course.
Implement the solution
The last stage in problem-solving is the implementation of the final step. This step focuses on the remedial solution and requires continuous evaluation to ensure its effective implementation. For you as a recruiter, knowing if a candidate can find a solution as well as implement it may be important to the goals of the role.
Continually evaluating the solution will give the individual insight into whether the project goals are aligned, whether all stakeholders accept the new solution and whether the outcomes are managed effectively.