For example, if performance in your department is substandard, you might think the problem is with the individuals submitting work.
However, if you look a bit deeper, the real issue might be a lack of training, or an unreasonable workload.
In fact, the ability to solve problems is an essential part of any employee’s skill set, even if it isn’t specified on the job description.
Your problem-solving abilities can be assessed in three ways: by asking for examples of times when you previously solved a problem; by presenting you with certain hypothetical situations and asking how you would respond to them; and by seeing how you apply your problem-solving skills to different tests and exercises.
Problems are at the center of what many people do at work every day.
Whether you're solving a problem for a client (internal or external), supporting those who are solving problems, or discovering new problems to solve, the problems you face can be large or small, simple or complex, and easy or difficult.A very significant part of this involves making sense of the complex situation in which the problem occurs, so that you can pinpoint exactly what the problem is.Many of the tools in this section help you do just that.For these, see our sections on Creativity for step 2 (generating alternatives); Decision Making for step 3 (evaluating and selecting alternatives); and Project Management for step 4 (implementing solutions).The articles in this section of Mind Tools therefore focus on helping you make a success of the first of these steps – defining the problem.Problem-solving abilities are connected to a number of other skills, including: Identifying a problem is often the kernel for a new business or product idea – and, as such, problem solving is an essential ingredient of entrepreneurialism. Some graduate careers revolve around finding solutions – for example, engineering, management consulting, scientific research and technology.Graduates in other careers, meanwhile, will be expected to solve problems that crop up in the course of their jobs: for example, trainee managers should deal with operational problems (such as delays in the supply chain) or resolve conflict between team members.Access our links to free and paid-for practice tests.Contact your careers service and book in for a mock-interview or mock-assessment centre.If you’re provided with a scenario or a case study during the graduate recruitment process, you could try using the IDEAL model, described by Bransford and Stein in their book You will need to explain how you identified the problem, came up with a solution and implemented it.Quantifiable results are good, and obviously the more complex the situation, the more impressive a successful result is.