Learn How to Answer “Which is more important: creativity or efficiency? Why?” Interview Questions


Asking the ‘which is more important: creativity or efficiency? Why?’ interview question- is a common tactic hiring managers use as a method of gauging how well potential hires cope with change- as well as how well they are able to stick to a plan and keep things moving evenly when that is working well. By having you explain your answer- they also gain insight into how strong your preference is- and this information helps them assess how well you will fit into the role they are currently hiring for.

It is common to see a few variations on this question- so don’t be too surprised if you find it phrased a bit differently. Sometimes you might even see variations like ‘which do you value more: efficiency or creative control?’ or ‘given the choice- would you pick a job where you could use your creativity to solve problems- or one where you are given detailed instructions and a procedure to follow?’ These versions get at the same information in ways that are a little less absolute- but the interviewer’s ‘why’ is still implied at the end of each one.

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How to Answer the ‘Which is more important: creativity or efficiency? Why?’ Interview Question

Weigh the Benefits: One effective way to explain your preference while still highlighting your flexibility and the need to balance creativity and efficiency is to discuss the benefits of each approach before describing why your preference works more often for you. This acknowledges the need for people who take both approaches- as well as the fact that you are observing and learning from people with different leadership styles or priorities from yourself. It also helps to demonstrate how you came to your conclusion by showing the interviewer what you get out of each approach.

Match Your Response to the Company’s Values: Make sure you look at the corporate mission statement- values pledge- and/or any other documents they create to discuss and assess their corporate identity and their role in the world. These key documents will help you to tailor your response to whichever side you take in the answer- and you are bringing up reasons for the choice that your interviewer will identify with. This is important because most hiring managers are not looking for one kind of person- they are looking to bring in diverse talents. Showing your preferred approach fits them is more important than which approach you have- because they are going to want team members ready to take on situations creatively and ones who can keep things on task.

Focus on the ‘Why’: Most interview questions that end with ‘why’ are essentially asking you to give an answer about your decision-making process- so discussing why you have a preference or why you really like to flex back and forth as the situation calls for it is going to give a lot more information about your communication style- needs- and approach to problem solving. Deliver a concise and clear explanation for your reasons if you want to impress a hiring manager when asked this interview question. Remember- though- that answering the ‘why’ component successfully means highlighting the choice made at the end so the interviewer still knows which preference you have most of the time.

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Sample ‘Which Is More Important: Creativity or Efficiency? Why?’ Interview Answers

I know it is important to balance creativity and efficiency to get the most out of my process- but I have to say I tend toward the creative side when I have the opportunity. That’s one of the things that got me interested in this company. I wanted the opportunity to work with like-minded people- but the kind of like-minded people who still kept their eyes on the end goal. I know efficiency is important for that- but since the obstacles you face on the way are unpredictable- I think that being creative when your proven solutions are not built to deal with a situation is really what defines the people and companies that get ahead.

I’d be the last person to stifle creativity- but I think efficiency has to be the priority when you are in a working environment. Projects and products need to be completed and sent out along with expectations- and even if a new approach helps a lot in the long run- it is important to keep an eye on the costs of switching over processes and educating employees in the new ways of doing things. These considerations can complicate creative solutions- because they show that sometimes there is more to consider before making a change. Once those things are smoothed out- though- I think it’s always important to acknowledge the role that innovation and change plays.

Remember as you put the finishing touches on your answers to interview questions that there are some roles that work out better for one approach than another. Doing so as is sure to help you deliver an answer that truly stands out for all of the right reasons.