9 Common Analytical Questions in Interviews (With Sample Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated October 25, 2022
Published July 26, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Analytical questions identify whether a candidate makes decisions by considering both internal and external factors. A candidate's answers inform potential employers about their critical thinking skills and whether they can create positive outcomes from complex situations. By preparing for analytical interview questions, you can arrive at the interview with more confidence and impress potential employers. In this article, we discuss what analytical questions are, and provide sample answers to nine common questions to help you prepare your own.
What are analytical questions?
Interviewers ask analytical questions to assess your critical thinking skills and whether you can find solutions to complex issues. Ensure your answers reflect your ability to both gather and analyze information. Candidates with good analytical skills know how to assess problems and follow up with effective solutions.
Expect employers to ask hypothetical and case-specific questions. Be sure to ask follow-up questions to elaborate on unclear details. This shows your interest in the minute details of the scenarios they provide. Try not to make assumptions about cases or scenarios because analytical thinkers prioritize facts over assumptions.
9 analytical interview questions
Here is a list of analytical questions you can prepare before an interview to impress potential employers:
1. Have you ever had to answer questions with limited information? If so, how did that go?
When you're asked this question, the interviewer assesses your problem-solving skills. When you answer this question, discuss how you think logically and highlight your research skills.
Example: "At my previous place of employment, I primarily worked with company policies and procedures. If I don't have the information I need to answer a question, I always look at our written policies and procedures to determine whether the information I need is there.
For example, a coworker once asked about our cloud-based security policies and, because I didn't have the information immediately at my disposal, I looked over our security and privacy policies. From here, I discussed the situation with my manager, and they provided me with information that was not in our written policies. I relayed the information to my manager."
2. How do you make recommendations when your supervisor wants your opinion on something you're not an expert in?
This question serves to determine your evaluation process. Your answer must reflect how you make recommendations and specific components that contribute to your decisions. Demonstrate your leadership skills and ability to make decisions with confidence.
Example: "I've made recommendations in the past, and I started by doing research. In my previous role, my supervisor asked for my opinion on implementing new software. I looked up the various components of the new software and the company's specific needs. From here, I determined what the advantages and disadvantages were of implementing each possible new software. This determined whether we truly needed additional features. I consulted with our finance department about the budget to ensure we could afford the software I felt was the best choice for our needs.
With all of these components taken into account, I then provided my supervisor with my honest opinion. She decided to take my advice and implemented the software I suggested, which improved our efficiency by 50% in the first two months."
3. How do you use pros and cons to make decisions?
This question serves to determine how you assess the positive and negative components of complex decisions. When you answer this question, be sure to discuss your thought process when making decisions and how you assess the advantages and disadvantages.
Example: "When I make decisions, I try to keep the process simple. First, I identify the advantages and disadvantages of potential decisions. If I determine that there are more advantages than disadvantages, I typically move forward with the decision. However, sometimes the pros do not outweigh the cons. When this happens, I look deeper into the situation. I ask myself whether the decision will affect us negatively and whether we can afford to continue with this decision based on our current budget."
4. What does your troubleshooting process look like?
This question assesses your problem-solving and analytical skills because you must identify what the problem is and what's causing it. When answering this question, discuss variations in your process that may help you troubleshoot a problem.
Example: "When troubleshooting an issue, I want to understand the background of the problem. From here, I can look through each step of the problem and determine where it started. If there was an obvious misstep, it's typically a simple fix. In other situations, I try fixing the problem by testing out different solutions in several steps. This is typically sufficient to find the route of the issue. If it doesn't reveal the error, I backtrack again, or I discuss the issue with my managers."
5. Which metrics do you track, and how do you track them?
Interviewers ask this question to determine which metrics you're familiar with and value most. The interviewer may also ask this question to determine how you'd adapt to their corporate culture. When answering, be sure to mention how these metrics impact your work and benefit previous companies where you worked.
Example: "I've always used software to track metrics like website views, conversions, and leads. I find these metrics are most valuable in my role because they determine whether our campaigns are successful. They also indicate which direction to take with future campaigns. When I see a campaign isn't doing well because we aren't seeing many website views or campaigns, I know it's time to adjust our practices."
6. When have you had to take risks at work?
Part of being an analytical thinker is determining when the right time is to take risks. This question identifies how you make these decisions. When answering, be sure to discuss how risks help achieve company goals and how you minimize potential complications.
Example: "Most of the time, I make decisions depending on my team's risk analysis. Most recently, my supervisor asked my team to solve an issue with the company's website. Our contact page wasn't loading properly. We rarely changed or adjust processes, but there was an issue with the code that was interfering with loading pages. I spoke to my manager about the issue when I saw it. We typically had to run tests on the website and its pages before making a change. However, we needed to fix this essential web page as quickly as possible, so I took a calculated risk with my manager's permission. Fortunately, the risk was worth it and fixed our webpage."
7. Do you always develop a detailed procedure to complete tasks and projects?
This question assesses your ability to develop processes. It also provides the employer with information about your flexibility. In your answer, discuss whether you're open to changing your procedures as situations change.
Example: "I always develop detailed plans for both tasks and projects because I've noticed that I'm more productive when I do. By having a procedure to follow, I know exactly what I need to work on and when tasks are due. Detailed plans ensure I produce accurate and high-quality work. I always keep up with innovation and recent research, so I'm comfortable adjusting my plans if something else works better or creates better results."
8. How do you navigate situations where coworkers disagree with the approach required to complete projects?
This question determines how you evaluate which approach is best when completing projects. It also determines how you balance your analytical and problem-solving skills when working in a team.
Example: "When my coworkers disagree about strategy, I try to act as a mediator. I ask each of my coworkers what they believe the best approach is and why. From here, we go through the pros and cons to create a plan that works for everyone. I try to find a way to incorporate both approaches into the plan to ensure everyone feels heard and valued."
9. Have you ever been incorrect in your analysis of a situation?
This question determines whether you have the skills to identify errors. It assesses whether you're prepared to hold yourself accountable. When answering, demonstrate your communication and problem-solving abilities.
Example: "I have made errors at work when analyzing a situation. In my previous roles, I worked with budgets and budget analysis. I needed to consider both internal and external factors when analyzing the company's financial situation. One time, I made a budget analysis for a large project and I forgot to account for the marketing department's social media advertisements. When I calculated the numbers, I knew immediately that something was wrong, and I reviewed the budgets of every department before making a new assessment."
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