Situational Job Interview Questions


Unlike traditional job interview questions, which focus on past experience, situational job interviews ask about what you would do in hypothetical future scenarios. Sometimes interviewers will ask about past scenarios too, but all questions will surround behavioral choices. Interviewers are trying to determine how you will perform with the daily problems that arise on the job. Just remember to always act in the best interest of the company.

Sample Question 1: Your supervisor tells you how to do something, but you disagree with him or her. How would you handle the situation?

You don’t want to seem like you would easily contradict your boss. You also don’t want to say that you would refuse to look out for the best interest of the company. The best way to answer this question would be to show that you took it into great consideration. Say that you thought about why you disagreed, and then you came up with solutions. Next, you spoke with you supervisor in private and presented your solutions tactfully. This requires a relationship with the supervisor though. The exact way it is handled depends on the individual personality and management style of the supervisor. New hires probably wouldn’t know enough about the workings of the company in order to question authority opinions yet either.

Sample Question 2: How would you deal with a time when your workload was too overwhelming?

When answering this question, show your dedication to the job. It is fine to admit to asking for help. Especially if you can point to other times when you offered to help your co-worker who was under a lot of pressure. This dynamic shows that you are a team player and wiling to help where you are needed, even if it’s not explicitly in your job description. Talk about experiences in the past in order to explain how you would deal with a similar situation at this new job. Also, mention ways that you deal with stress such as weekend activities or physical exercise if an overwhelming workload is a typical occurrence in your line of work.

Sample Question 3: A co-worker tells you in confidence that he plans on taking the next week off of work to go on vacation, while claiming to be sick. Would you report him?

You should first address the issue with your co-worker privately. The whole team is affected if one person doesn’t pull his or her own weight. Then, you should determine whether this is a consistent problem. The employee may just be overworked and in need of some time off. Especially if he has not taken any vacation time off during the year, then it may not be necessary to report it. However, if this is not the first time that the person has lied about sick time, then it would be important to refer the situation to a superior. There are a number of factors that would influence how, when, and if this is done though.

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