How to Handle a Situational Job Interview


Amy writes:
I have been on a lot of job interviews but I am stumped because I have been told to
expect an upcoming interview to be something I think called a situational interview.
Is this a new kind of interview? What is involved and how should I prepare for it?


The Career Doctor responds:
In situational interviewing job-seekers are asked to respond to a specific
situation they may face on the job and some aspects of it are similar to
behavioral interviews. These types of questions are designed to draw out
more of your analytical and problem-solving skills as well as how you handle
problems with short notice.
The key to preparation and success in situational interviews is simply to review
your past work experiences and review the steps you took to resolve problems
and make corrections. You should also have short stories of some of these
past experiences so you can also incorporate them into your answers to show
that you have experience handling similar situations.
For example an interviewer might ask an applicant for a customer service
manager position: “How would you handle an angry customer who was promised
delivery of the product on a certain date but because of manufacturing delays
the company was not able to deliver on a timely basis? The customer is demanding
some kind of compensation for the unexpected delay.”
Or for a management position a job-seeker might be asked: “How do you handle
a disgruntled employee in your department who has made a habit of arriving late to
work and causing minor disruptions during the day as well as a declining morale
among the rest of the staff?”
For more information on interviewing don’t forget all the tools and resources in this
section of Quintessential Careers:
Guide
to Job Interviewing Resources
. See also our Situational Practice Interview