HR Resources

9 Important Strategic Thinking Interview Questions (and Sample Answers)

December 12, 2022

Tima Rassool

Tima Rassool

Content Writer

One of the most important skills to have in business is strategic thinking. This is because it assists organizations in forecasting and planning for future opportunities and challenges, making sound decisions, and staying ahead of the competition.

Companies with workers who think strategically tend to be more successful. Strategic thinkers care more about long-term goals, can spot growth opportunities, and know how to use company resources wisely.

But many companies still need help finding candidates with strong strategic thinking skills. 

To help employers easily identify candidates with a knack for strategic thinking, we’ve compiled a list of 9 important strategic thinking interview questions that can be used during the interview process.

Question #1: Can you tell me about a time when you had to make an important decision with limited information?

A recruiter asks strategic thinking interview questions.

This is one of the strategic thinking interview questions that helps employers identify candidates who can think quickly on their feet and make decisions even when they don't have all the facts. It shows whether or not the candidate can weigh the pros and cons of different options to make the best decision for the company.

Sample Answer:

“In my previous job, I had to decide which vendor to use for a particular project. The deadline was looming, and I didn't have all the information I needed to make an informed decision.  After researching different vendors and looking at their prices and customer reviews, I decided to go with the one that offered the best value for the company. In the end, the project was completed on time and within budget.”

Question #2: How do you define strategic thinking? Why is it important for an organization’s future?

An HR manager finished asking strategic thinking interview questions.

This question is important to have in your bank of strategic thinking interview questions. It helps employers understand how the candidate perceives strategic thinking and whether or not they have a comprehensive understanding of its importance.

Sample Answer:

“Strategic thinking is a process of understanding the big picture, looking ahead to both current and future trends, and planning for potential risks or opportunities. It helps organizations stay competitive in an ever-changing marketplace by enabling them to make informed decisions to help them reach their long-term goals.”

Question #3: “What strategies have you used to solve complex business problems?”

A picture of a male candidate answering strategic thinking interview questions

This question helps employers identify candidates who can think outside the box and creatively solve complex problems. It also shows whether or not they can use data and analytics to make decisions. Therefore, this is one of the most important strategic thinking interview questions to ask.

Sample Answer:

"In my previous role, I was tasked with revamping a broken production process that caused shipping order delays. After researching the issue and looking at the data, I realized that the problem stemmed from an inefficient workflow. I then created a strategy to streamline production by reducing manual tasks and introducing automated systems. This allowed us to increase our production efficiency and meet our shipping deadlines."

Question #4: How do you establish long-term objectives for your team? How frequently do you check and review these objectives?

A picture of a male HR manager and a female candidate

This is, of course, one of the strategic thinking interview questions that help employers identify candidates who can set and stick to long-term goals.

Additionally, it shows that candidates know how important it is to review these goals often to ensure their team is on the right track.

Sample Answer:

"When establishing long-term objectives for my team, I clearly define our goals and create a timeline of when each step needs to be completed. Once the objectives are set, I regularly check in with my team to ensure they’re on track and their progress is aligned with our goals."

"I also review these objectives every quarter with my team so we can adjust if necessary and ensure everyone stays motivated and on the same page."

Question #5: Describe a time when you failed to meet your objectives and had to take a different approach. How did it go?

Recruiters decide what strategic thinking interview questions to ask.

Asking this question helps employers identify candidates who can recognize when something isn’t working and take the initiative to fix it. It also shows whether or not the candidate can learn from their mistakes and come up with alternate solutions.

Sample Answer:

In my last job, I had to develop a marketing campaign to help our company reach more people. My initial strategy involved targeting certain consumer demographics, but after several months of work, the campaign could have been more successful. At that point, I realized that my original approach wasn’t effective and decided to take a different route by focusing on content creation instead. After adjusting my strategy, I was able to successfully launch the campaign and reach our desired audience. It was a valuable lesson in being flexible and adapting to changing scenarios.

Question #6: What are the most important factors you consider when developing an action plan?

A recruiter looks up some strategic thinking interview questions online.

This type of strategic thinking Interview questions like this dig into a candidate’s decision-making process.

It helps employers understand what factors the candidate considers when developing an action plan and whether they can think through all the implications of their decisions.

Sample Answer:

When developing an action plan, I focus on key factors. Firstly, I make sure that the goals are well-defined and achievable. I also think about the resources I have and any possible risks or problems that might come up during the plan's implementation. Finally, how will this plan align with our company's overall mission and goals? Taking all these factors into account helps me create an action plan that is effective and realistic.

Question #7: How do you stay organized during a project?

HR manager applauding candidates after a successful interview of strategic thinking interview questions.

In this question, employers can understand how the candidate manages their workload and keeps track of all their tasks. It also shows if they have any particular techniques or processes that help them stay organized during a project.

Sample Answer:

"I like to stay organized during a project by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. I also set deadlines for each task and prioritize the most important ones. I also use tools like Trello and Asana to track my tasks and ensure everything is going as planned. This helps me stay organized throughout the project and ensure nothing gets missed."

Question #8: What strategies do you use to stay motivated during a long-term project?

Two recruiters discuss strategic thinking interview questions.

This question should be added to your list of strategic thinking interview questions. It's a good question to help employers identify candidates who can stay focused and motivated despite the challenges that come with long-term projects. It also shows their ability to set goals and stick with them.

Sample Answer:

"I like to stay motivated by setting small, achievable goals during a long-term project. I also make sure to reward myself when I complete each goal and keep track of my progress so that I can see how far I’ve come.

I also connect with colleagues working on the same project, which helps me stay motivated and reminds me that I’m not alone. Finally, I take a break from time to time to recharge and come back with fresh eyes."

Question #9: How do you convey critical information to your team members?

A candidate finished answering strategic thinking interview questions.

Communication is a key component of strategic thinking, and this question helps employers understand how candidates communicate with their team members. It also shows if they can convey complex ideas clearly and concisely.

Sample Answer:

"When I need to convey critical information to my team members, I make sure to be as clear and direct as possible. I also take the time to make sure everyone understands what is being communicated and that they are on the same page. I also use visuals, like diagrams or charts, to illustrate complex concepts in an easier-to-understand way. This helps ensure that everyone clearly understands the situation and can work together to develop an effective solution."

Keeping it Short

Strategic thinking interview questions are an excellent way for employers to identify candidates who can think strategically and develop an action plan that considers all the risks, resources, and goals involved. Therefore, it is important to ask the right questions and get answers that demonstrate their ability to think strategically.

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Tima Rassool

Tima Rassool

A wordsmith, storyteller, and content strategist – Tima is an MBA graduate with 6+ years of experience in the world of HR. With over 2,000 blogs under her belt, Tima's expertise and insights have helped businesses across the globe take their recruitment to the next level and stay ahead of the curve.

Recruit better, faster, and fairer

Join hundreds of recruiting teams who increased their hiring success and recruited winning teams with Elevatus.

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