Situational Job Interview

A situational job interview question usually takes the form of ‘What would you do if you were in situation XYZ.’ The situational interview technique is becoming more and more popular among interviewers, particularly in the later stages of the interview process. 

The main reason the situational interview is gaining in popularity is because it tests the job candidates’ ability to think on the spot. 

As opposed to Informational Interviews or Behavioral Interviews the situational interview doesn’t focus as much on looking at a job candidate’s history, but rather looks at how a candidate would deal with a hypothetical situation. 

The key to preparing for a situational interview is to understand what the interviewer is trying to learn about you by using the situational interview technique. 

Typical Questions

What is your approach to solving problems?

The interviewer wants to understand the approach you take to dealing with challenging situations.  They know that you will face obstacles in your prospective job that you might not have faced in the past, and they want to feel comfortable that you have the basic problem solving skills necessary to be successful.

Do you have the ability to think on your feet? 

Unlike an Informational Interview, where you can rehearse questions in advance, a situational interview requires the job candidate to be prepared to react to a wide variety of hypothetical scenarios.  The interviewer wants to see how you can adapt your existing skills and background to a new situation.

Do you know how to identify information gaps? 

It is important to think about the situation that you’ve been presented with and ask as many clarifying questions as necessary to have a full understanding of what is being asked. 

How do you evaluate different options? 

It is a good idea to talk through the different approaches you might have for a particular situation, and then explain why you chose one particular course of action over another.  This demonstrates to the interviewer that your powers of reasoning are sound.