Cognitive Interview Questions Guide

These questions help you understand how quickly a person is likely to learn, grasp new concepts, gain new skills, make good decisions, and adapt to change. It is recommended that interview questions are chosen based on the categories of most importance to success in the target job. It is not necessary to use them all, but be sure to use the same questions for every candidate for a given position.

Learning Style

  • Describe your preferred learning style
  • What types of things do you learn very quickly?
  • What types of things take you longer to learn?

Continuous Learning

  • Tell me about a work experience in which you need to continuously learn new information in order to be successful.

Self-Directed Learning

  • Give me three examples of work skills or capabilities that you had to develop on your own.
  • How did these help you be successful?

Problem Solving

  • Provide an example of a time when you had to solve a very complicated problem in a short amount of time
  • What was the problem?
  • How much time did you have?
  • How did you solve it?

Long-term planning & strategy

  • Describe a time when you were responsible for long-term planning or creating a strategy.
  • What was the situation and what factors did you consider when establishing the plan or strategy?

Critical Decisions

  • Describe one of the most critical decisions you have ever had to make at work.
  • What were the factors you considered and what did you ultimately decide?

Learning from Mistakes

  • Provide an example of a time when you feel you made the wrong decision.
  • What went wrong and what did you learn from the experience?

Adapting to change

  • Describe an experience when something unexpected happened at work and you needed to quickly adapt.
  • What was the situation?
  • Why was it unexpected?
  • How did you handle it?