Situational interviews are very similar to behavioral interviews. Situational interviews tend to be more hypothetical such as “how would you handle x if you…” and less “tell me about a past experience where…” These style questions are designed to test your quick-thinking skills in difficult situations.
Situational interview questions can throw someone for a loop when he/she is caught off guard. Like behavioral interview questions, using the STAR (situation, task, action, results) technique can keep you on track. Since situational interviews are largely hypothetical, STAR will work a little different. First, recognize the real or hypothetical situation. If it’s hypothetical, scan your brain to see if you have a past similar experience and connect it to the interview question. If you have a similar previous experience, use it to help cultivate your answers. Next, what task was performed? If based on a previous experience, what was your responsibility? What action would you did you take to fix the problem at hand? Verbalize your thought process and be specific. Turn negatives into positives. If you messed up, own it and explain how you learned from it. If it isn’t hypothetical, what results did you experience?
In addition to using STAR, use the CRP (clear, purposeful, and relevant) approach. Your answers should always be clear and easy to follow. Be purposeful and stay on track when answering. Finally, make sure your answers are relevant to the question. They should demonstrate why you would be an asset to the company.
- How would you handle a situation where you had to work with a difficult manager or co worker?
- Say you’re working on a project and make a detrimental mistake. You’re on a tight deadline but need to start over to fix it. How would you fix it? What about the deadline?
- How would you handle a co-worker you did not get along with?
- What would you do if the work the employee you managed wasn’t up to standard?
- How would you handle a situation where your team requested a new idea you introduced.
As for any interview, the key to being successful is preparation. Research and practice questions you might encounter. Think about your strengths ahead of time. What do you bring to the table? Why do you fit with this company?
For more situational interview questions, check out Betterteam, Zety, or The Interview Guys.