4 Unusual Situational Questions
I am interviewing for a Finance Executive position. Here are 4 job interview questions I'm expecting from an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization):
1. Give me an example of a time when you have worked in a stressful environment and how you coped.
Mike's Comments: This question is similar to 2-3 popular situational interview questions that I answer in detail on this site. You should find good answers and other links on that page.
The key phrase in this question is stressful environment. What they really want to know is...what do you consider to be a stressful work environment?
After you answer a question like this, always ask your interviewer to describe their work environment. Interviewing is a 2 way street, but let the company take the lead throughout the interview process.
At the appropriate time, ask them to clarify or explain anything you feel would be helpful to you in deciding whether or not you want to work there.
2. Where do you feel you are least experienced professionally and personally in relation to this post?
Mike's Comments: Unless the company has given you a written job description prior to your interview, how can you answer this question?
Let's assume you've seen a job description or this question was asked at the end of your interview. It is rare that a candidate will meet all of a company's hiring requirements.
Everyone falls short in one area or another.
You wouldn't be sitting there in the interview if the company didn't feel you could do the job. The best way to answer this question is to be honest about one of your shortcomings, but add you are willing to do whatever it takes to learn the necessary skills to do the job.
It would be even better if you could give them an example from a prior job of how you already did this. Also, I'm not sure I like being asked why I might fall short personally.
In rare cases, they may expect you to do something that would compromise your values or principles. Always probe to find out what they mean by personally.
3. Give me an example of a time when you have been fearful and how you coped.
Mike's Comments: This question is very similar to your first question and I believe you'll find your answer by studying the situational interview questions.
Any time you are asked a question that doesn't apply to you, it's OK to rephrase the question in your own words, then answer your own question.
For example, I don't like the word fearful in this question. So, I might respond by saying, I can't honestly say that I've ever been fearful during one of my jobs, but I've felt (insecure, concerned, worried) about (declining economy, poor quality of product or service, lay offs). Be sure to explain how you coped with one of these issues and successfully worked through it.
Also, it would be inappropriate for a company to probe into your personal fears, family issues, or other non work related situations. If a company goes there, it's a big red flag and you probably would be unhappy working there.
4. What experience do you have working in a potentially insecure environment?
Mike's Comments: It's unlikely any company would ask this question, but perhaps in your country there may be security concerns or other dangers to consider.
Remember...just because someone asks you a question, doesn't mean you have to answer it...especially if you don't have a clue what they are asking you.
Whenever you are asked an uncomfortable or vague question, ask your interviewer to please clarify.
What do you mean by insecure?
Insecure could mean a lot of things...company is at risk of going out of business, they are heavily regulated and could be shut down by the government, hostile work environment, start-up company. You must know exactly what they mean by insecure before you answer this question.
Lastly and most importantly... You are in the driver's seat in any interview. The purpose of an interview is to determine whether or not this job opportunity is the right fit for you. Trust your instincts. They usually are right.
Hope this helps. All the best.
P.S. If you, or someone you care about, has been unemployed for 6 months...or longer...my new book could provide you the breakthrough you've been praying for. Click on this link to read the introductory chapter and the table of contents: Why Don't They Call Me?-Job Search Wisdom to Get you Unstuck.
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