Situational Interview Questions And Answers (Examples Included)

By Mike Simpson

When I say the words “Role Playing,” what are the first images that pop into your mind?

I bet you you’re thinking about teenage boys crowded around a table tossing multi-sided dice and saying things like “My mage can kick your troll’s butt any day.” Right? (Lol maybe not, but you catch my drift) 🙂

But what if I told you that sometimes role playing creeps into the interview process as well?

Now, before you get all excited and break out your favorite 16-sided dice and dust off your robe and collection of elf ears, let me explain:role-playing-diceAs we’ve gone over before, there are a multitude of different types of questions an interviewer can ask.

There are the usual Traditional Job Interview Questions (Why did you leave your last job? Explain the duties you had in your last position.), as well as the Behavioral Interview Questions (Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.), and Second Interview Questions that tend to come up the further down the interview process you get. But what about situational interview questions?

Situational interview questions are similar to behavioral questions, but instead of asking you to relay a past experience and tell how you handled yourself in that situation, you’re presented with a hypothetical situation.

Rather than being asked Tell me about a time you… the interviewer will start out with a more ambiguous prompt. How would you handle..?

In essence, you’re given a situation and then asked how you would behave in that situation…which as any good dungeon master knows…is the core of all role playing!

Ok, so before we get started we wanted to let you know that there are over 100 other difficult traditional interview questions you could be asked in your job interview. Sounds stressful right?

Well don’t worry, because we created a free PDF that outlines the most common questions and gives you word for word sample answers that you can use at your next interview.

Click the link below to get your copy now!

Get Our Job Interview Questions & Answers Cheat Sheet!

FREE BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Get our "Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you "word-word sample answers to the most common job interview questions you'll face at your next interview.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE JOB INTERVIEW QUESTIONS CHEAT SHEET

rubik-25817_640Why Are Situational Interview Questions Asked?

So why do interviewers ask situational questions?

Because they want to see how you really think…not just how well you memorize answers and spit them back on command!

Whereas traditional questions can have easily memorized answers and behavioral questions rely on experiences you’ve already had, situational questions demand that the interviewee utilize their analytical and problem-solving skills.

By giving a job seeker a hypothetical situation, the interviewer wants to see how they will react in the moment…with short notice and little preparation.

But how do I study for a test when I don’t even know what the test is going to be on?

Oh come on, you didn’t think we’d really send you in unprepared, right?!? Of course not! Notice we said little preparation…which means as a student of the Interview Guys…you should be more than prepared for anything, including situational questions!

 false-98375_640Common Mistakes

As you can imagine, the nature of situational questions means that it can be easy to make mistakes…after all, when you don’t know which scenario is coming down the pipe it’s hard to ensure you are completely prepared.

You can ensure that you don’t trip up on a situational question by avoiding these common mistakes:

1) Winging It

A lot of job seekers think to themselves, “Well, if I have no idea what the scenario presented by the hiring manager is going to look like, there’s no way that I can prepare for this type of question.  So I’m just going to fly by the seat of my pants and hope I nail it.”

Seems a little bird-brained, doesn’t it?  Believe it or not, this is very common.

So what are you supposed to do?

Practice, of course.  Later on in this article we will give you some example situational questions.  Get a good feel for what makes a good answer and what makes a bad answer, and spend some time crafting your answers to emulate the good examples below.

MIKE'S TIP:

Sit down with a colleague of yours and ask them to come up with some situational interview questions that you can practice together.  Be sure to adjust the format of the questions, the type of scenario, and the skill or a