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Situational Interview Questions

group interview team clapping

Situational interview questions give managers keen insights into your ability to do the job.

The idea is to ask you to describe how you would handle a certain situation, or what you would do under certain circumstances.

It's easy to list skills and accomplishments on your resume. Now you need to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the interviewer how you successfully go about solving problems, resolving conflicts, and making things happen.

What makes situational interview questions challenging, is there are an infinite number of situations or circumstances.

How do you know in advance what specific situational interview questions you will be asked? Actually, it's really not that difficult once you know the pattern to answering these types of questions.

Employers want to know 2 critical things about you:

  1. Will you fit into our company culture?
  2. How well do you manage change and respond to problems?

What employers fear or want to know about you

How well do you get along with people and influence others?

  • Resolving conflict
  • Coping with difficult people
  • Influencing co-workers
  • Working in a team
  • Flexibility, adaptability

How do you cope with stress and disappointment?

  • Missing deadlines
  • Getting criticized
  • Dealing with demanding customers

Do you have the skills you say you do, to do the job?

  • Technical abilities and knowledge of systems
  • Product knowledge
  • Sales abilities
  • Service, management, organizational skills

Are you a self-starter and easy to manage? Do you take the initiative to solve problems and get things done?

Top 10 Situational Interview Questions

  1. Describe the ideal working environment to do your best work. - Often on the list of human resources interview questions, and could be a deal breaker if you don't tell them what they want to hear.
  2. Share with me an idea or improvement you implemented that made a difference. - Employer interview questions about your ideas or improvements provide you with a tremendous opportunity to stand out from other candidates.
  3. Describe the toughest challenge you ever faced and how you worked through it. - This is one of my favorite free interview questions.
  4. Tell me about a time when you had to stick by a decision you made even though it made you unpopular. - This is one of those questions that tests your resolve to stand firm when the situation dictates.
  5. Discuss a situation during the past year in which you had to deal with an upset customer or coworker. - One of the sample job interview questions centered around a common situation faced by every company.
  6. Describe the most difficult boss you worked for and how you dealt with them. - Among my interview tips and questions are tough situations you won't relish answering, but here is an example of what works well.
  7. What would you do if the priorities on a major project you were working on were suddenly changed - Find out why HR interview questions like this can be a double edge sword.
  8. Tell me about a time when your work was criticized. - Here are 2 approaches to tough interview questions answers of this nature...both positive.
  9. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond the call of duty to get something done or resolve a problem. - See why this is always included among my sample interview questions and answers.
  10. Give me an example of an important goal you set and describe your progress in reaching that goal. - Answers to interview questions like this provide keen insights into your character and motivations.
IMPORTANT: If you can't pass my Mock Job Interview Quiz, you simply aren't ready for your interview.

Pearl of Wisdom: While preparing for your interview, think of times when you solved or improved one or more of the above situations. Then use this 3 step model to share your personal story in your job interview:

-Here was the problem or situation

-Here is what I specifically did to resolve/defuse/influence the situation

-Here were the measurable results of my effort



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