15 Innovation Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 7, 2021

Innovation is an important skill to help you create new ideas and solve complicated problems. You can expect a potential employer to ask questions about innovation in an interview because it helps them assess how well you can apply your knowledge and think creatively to improve their business. Preparing for an interview can make you better equipped to answer their questions with sincerity and confidence. In this article, we review several types of innovation interview questions, and provide 15 sample answers for you to refer to for inspiration.

Related: 7 Steps To Improve Your Creative Thinking Skills

Basic innovation interview questions

The following are some basic innovation interview questions you can prepare for:

  • How much experience do you have in innovation?

  • What are the most important skills needed for working innovation?

  • What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses regarding innovation?

  • Why should our company hire you for this innovation position?

  • Are you innovative?

Related: 19 Common Interview Questions

Behavioural questions about innovation

It can be easier to excel in an interview if you can offer examples of how you've used innovation in the past. To understand your capabilities and experience with innovation, a company might ask you relevant behavioural questions, such as:

  • What steps do you take to develop an innovative idea or concept?

  • Tell me about a time when you and a colleague disagreed on an innovation. How did you resolve it?

  • What is an innovation project that you have worked on in the past?

  • Tell me about a time your innovative idea didn't work out. What did you learn from it?

  • Tell me about a time you used innovation to lead a team.

  • How have you used innovation to overcome workplace challenges?

Related: What Are Conceptual Skills: Definition and Examples

15 Interview questions about innovation with sample answers

To prepare for an upcoming interview, you can reference these innovation interview questions and sample answers:

1. What is the best innovation you have created?

An employer might ask this question to identify if you have any innovation experience and what you perceive as your best work. This is a great opportunity to discuss some of your achievements.

Example: "I used to work for a mobile application company that created a variety of phone applications to help tourists find interesting outdoor locations. I saw an increase of safe bike lanes being built around the world, so I created a new app that made it easier for customers to access these locations on bike paths."

2. Tell me about a time when you took an innovative approach to solve an issue.

An employer asks this question because they want to understand how you can apply innovative thinking to your problem-solving skills.

Example: "At my old job, there was an issue with one of our computer databases, causing it to lose data every few days. This caused many disruptions in our business processes. I helped to develop a new database system that refreshed itself regularly instead of deleting its data."

3. What do you do to avoid a superficial idea?

An employer may ask this question to assess your creativity and unique approach to innovation.

Example: "When it comes to creating new ideas, I like to focus on what people might need or how can I make some aspect of their life easier that doesn't exist yet. This ensures the innovations I develop are applicable, valuable, and truly innovative."

4. Describe a time when you helped to inspire innovation or creativity in others.

This question helps an employer determine your leadership and teamwork skills.

Example: "I used to work for a flower shop where we provided floral arrangements for clients and their events. One customer was uncertain about what they wanted and my team of florists didn't know what to do. I began working off the client's social media photos, which helped my florist gain inspiration, and the client was very happy with what we provided."

Related: Improve Your Creativity Skills To Highlight on Your Resume

5. When innovating, how do you balance creativity and functionality?

An employer may ask this question to understand if your creative ideas have practical and realistic applications.

Example: "An innovation should have practical applications. I try to make certain that whenever I design or innovate a product or service, my primary goal is for it to have a specific purpose and solve a problem that doesn't have an efficient solution yet."

6. What resources do you refer to when you need inspiration for new innovations?

Employers ask this question to assess research and knowledge application skills.

Example: "When I need inspiration, I use a variety of different sources. I focus my innovation primarily on information technology, so I like to read updated IT books and use a variety of social media and news platforms to remain up to date on the latest technological advances."

7. Are you aware of any innovations our company has produced?

Companies ask this question when they want to determine your motivation for applying. This is a great opportunity to show that you researched the company before the interview.

Example: "I want to work for your company because I have been a long-time client of your organization and am continuously amazed by the innovative apps you release. I'm also impressed that you've remained a leader in the information technology industry over the past six years. I want to be a part of a space that encourages new ideas and innovative solutions, and believe I have a lot of ideas to bring to your company."

8. What do you think about the role that innovation plays in business?

This question serves to demonstrate to an employer how you feel about the role that innovation has in helping businesses develop.

Example: "I think businesses are able to develop and improve themselves because of innovation. Regardless of the industry, you can expect some kind of new technology or new process that makes people's lives easier. I want to be a part of that experience, whether that be innovating in the information technology field or discovering a new way to order food at a restaurant."

9. What innovation experience do you have?

An interviewer asks this question to determine if you have any work experience and skills you can apply to the position.

Example: "I used to work for an information technology company where I was on the innovation and development team. There, I tested our latest technologies and then reviewed their functionality. After that, I would test the technology with consumers and help create new ideas to make the product better."

10. When do your best innovative ideas come to you?

Sometimes an employer might ask this question so they can identify if you have a certain time of day when you're most creative.

Example: "I think I'm most innovative in the morning, right after I get up and do my morning routine and make myself a cup of tea. The ideas seem to come to me most easily then. I keep a journal on me to jot them down so I can develop them further."

11. Do you have any innovative specializations?

This question helps employers understand the type of ideas you typically develop.

Example: "I'm best at coming up with ideas that solve an immediate problem and can make a process more efficient. Creating ideas that bring fast results and don't require a lot of steps is where I feel the most innovative. I'm also great at coming up with ideas on how so solve technical computer errors."

12. Tell me how you experiment with new ideas.

This question helps employers gauge your trial-and-error process as you experiment with innovative ideas.

Example: "The first step in my experimentation process is creating multiple versions of the same idea with slightly different variations. This helps me to identify which changes brought the best results. I usually take my top three variations and then continue experimenting with those even further until I find the one that's most successful."

13. Tell me about a time when someone helped you to be more innovative?

Employers seek to hear about your willingness to listen to others and implement their suggestions into your own creative process.

Example: "At my old job, I had to come up with a solution for one of our new software programs that was malfunctioning, but couldn't find a solution on my own. My colleague was able to provide a unique perspective and worked on a solution together."

14. Through your innovation, what problems do you want to solve?

This is a question that helps employers understand your initiative for how you intend to apply innovative thinking in your industry.

Example: "Primarily, I want to develop innovative solutions for issues dealing with public transportation. Affordable and efficient public transportation is inaccessible for many people who don't live in the city centre. So I want to develop ideas that can help to broaden that system."

15. What do you do to improve your creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills?

An interviewer might ask this question if they want to know how you continuously improve your capabilities and whether you have strategies for professional development.

Example: "To improve my innovation, creativity, and problem-solving skills, I like to research issues that exist but don't have an efficient solution to them yet. I find staying up to date with current events and issues helps me think more creatively about potential innovations. It's a great creative thinking exercise with real-world applications."

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