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Situational interview questions – their place in a hiring process

Situational questions, similarly to behavioral questions, address your attitude to various work related situations, and your readiness for the job.

How would you handle stress? How would you deal with a conflict you had with a colleague? What would you do if you were behind the schedule with your work? What would you do if you lacked the motivation?

Since certain situations repeat on every workplace (managers, laborers, or technical experts, they all experience the conflicts, the pressure, the successes and failures, etc), interviewers will ask you similar situational questions in every interview (if they decide to use this form of interviewing).

 

Difference between behavioral and situational

The basic difference between behavioral and situational interviewing is that the first one addresses your past (you talk about situations that already happened to you), while the second one addresses your future (or fiction, or opinion, since you talk about hypothetical situations,).

If the recruiters were smart, they would use situational questions with entry level job applicants, and with young people in general, and would opt for behavioral questions with people who have previous working experience.

However, since not all interviewers know what they do, and since people with and without experience often mix in the interviews, you can get behavioral questions even if you apply for your first job.

 

Some common and some less common situational questions

  • How would you deal with a pressure on the workplace?
  • How would you feel about sharing the office with thirty other people?
  • Imagine there was a problem and you could not solve it. How would you proceed?
  • Two of your team members came to work drunk. What would you do?
  • Imagine that your manager assigned you a task, but you knew it was impossible to accomplish the task in time. How would you deal with the situation?
  • How would you cope with a professional failure?
  • You were informed that one of your team members were dismissed by a general manger. The problem is that from your point of view, they were indispensable for a team. What would you do?
  • What would you do if you felt sick in work?
  • How would you ensure you meet the goals we have in the company?

 

Situational questions have their place on many interview templates. Nevertheless, STAR interviewing and behavioral interviewing have become more popular recently, since the answers to behavioral questions typically tells more about the candidate.

You can continue your interview preparation with the following articles: