Developing Your Career

5 Problem-Solving Skills Companies Seek

By Greg Simpson on June 1, 2012

“Houston we have a problem …”  Those memorable words set into play a furious drill in American ingenuity and resourcefulness – a problem-solving exercise involving some of the best minds in the country.  And ultimately, those skills saved the lives of the Apollo 13 crew. 

Of course, most of us don’t encounter problems of this magnitude on our jobs. Still, it’s a clear illustration of how important problem-solving skills are in the workplace.  And that’s precisely why recruiters are looking for candidates who offer “can-do” resourcefulness and a unique, fresh perspective to problems and challenges. 

So how do you convince a potential employer that you have the problem-solving skills they need?  Start by developing accomplishment stories from your work history that illustrate the problem-solving value you brought to your previous employers.   

Some of the key problem-solving skills organizations are seeking include the following:

  • Identifying and implementing measures to increase productivity, improve efficiency, develop a new product or enhance customer service
  • Settling issues through effective conflict-resolution skills
  • Demonstrating initiative and resourcefulness to head off issues before they become problems
  • Unwillingness to accept “I don’t know” as a valid response to a question
  • Flexibility and mental agility to quickly shift priorities and adapt to change

Differentiate yourself from the competition by focusing on the competencies recruiters want – like problem solving.  Creative problem solvers at all levels help organizations maintain their competitive advantage.  Are you positioning yourself as being part of the solution?

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