How to Master Situational and Behavioral Interview Questions | On careers


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to the workforce, including job search and hiring processes. Recruiters and hiring managers have the added hurdle of ensuring a job candidate is a good fit for a position — often a remote position — during virtual interviews. To help them overcome these difficulties, they make good use of behavioral and situational interview questions.

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Although hiring managers usually tailor these questions to the specific position they want to fill, below is a list of sample situational or behavioral interview questions and answers to help you get started and prepare effectively. at your job interview.

What is a situational interview question?

Situational interview questions are questions that deal with hypothetical situations in the future and what you would do in that situation.

Situational Interview Questions and Answers

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Q: Tell me how you would build your team, foster good communication and meet deadlines using only virtual communication.
A: I understand how difficult it is to maintain good working relationships while working remotely. I would coordinate a short weekly break room on Zoom, or the meeting technology used by the company, to give everyone time to socialize. I would also schedule virtual team or individual meetings as needed to provide them with clear instructions on tasks and deadlines.

Q: How would you react and respond to an angry customer who is upset about something that is not your fault?
A: I patiently listened to the customer and determined the source of his frustration. I would make sure to get their contact details and then do what I can to help resolve the issue – even if it wasn’t my fault.

Q: What would you do if you were given a task you’ve never done before?
A: I would let my manager know that even though I have never done this type of task before, I would be happy to take it on after receiving some guidance. I would ask my superior which colleague I could approach to show me how to do the task. I would also do some research on my own so I don’t over load others.

Tips for answering situational interview questions

  • Since situational interview questions require thought and storytelling, don’t be afraid to ask the recruiter for a moment to collect your thoughts.
  • Before your interview, review the job posting and think about the challenges you might face and the strengths and skills needed for the position.
  • Use the STAR interview method to help you brainstorm potential ways to answer situational interview questions.
  • Practice answering situational interview questions with a friend or family member to help you feel more comfortable describing hypothetical situations.

What is a behavioral interview question?

Behavioral interview questions are questions that deal with past work experience and situations. Instead of hypothetical situations, these questions ask you to provide concrete examples of past situations you have faced.

Your answers to behavioral interview questions give the hiring manager insight into your strengths, soft skills, and personality and level of experience. When a hiring manager knows how you handled a situation in the past, it helps them know how you would handle future situations in the workplace and whether your answers to situational interview questions are accurate.

Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

Q: Tell me about a time when you handled a difficult situation.
A: One of my team members fell very ill a few days before an important project was due and had not yet completed his assigned tasks. I called them and asked them to explain what needed to be done to complete the tasks. Then I distributed the final tasks among our team members. We were able to complete the whole project before the due date and we found a new client.

Q: Tell me about a time when you had to be flexible and adaptable.
A: When I transitioned to remote work due to COVID, I really had to adjust to working from home. My employees faced the same challenges, so I had to be flexible in my expectations of others and myself. I’ve found that taking a few minutes at the start of each week and prioritizing my top three tasks has helped me be flexible in what I ask of my employees. We make sure to focus on getting the most important things done first.

Q: Give me an example of when you have worked with people different from yourself.
A: When I accepted my internship, I worked with other students from all over the world. It was so interesting to learn about their cultures and see different ways of accomplishing tasks. I think this experience really helped me open up to people from different backgrounds and embrace new ideas.

Tips for Answering Behavioral Interview Questions

  • Think about the skills required for the position you are interviewing for and prepare some examples of how you have demonstrated those skills in the past.
  • Again, using the STAR interview method for interview questions will ensure that you don’t miss any important parts of your examples.
  • When answering behavioral interview questions, use measurable results whenever possible.
  • Honestly describe past situations. Recruiters and hiring managers can tell when someone is not upfront. Don’t over-beautify yourself, but don’t underestimate yourself either.

Behavioral or situational interview questions

In a nutshell, behavioral interview questions deal with the past or present, and situational interview questions deal with the future. Both are important for a hiring manager to get a sense of who you are as a professional.

Since remote work is here to stay for the foreseeable future, hiring managers are looking to hire someone reliable, trustworthy and highly motivated. They are also interested in hiring professionals who work well with others and are inclusive of other backgrounds and cultures. Be sure to exhibit some of these attributes whether you are answering behavioral or situational interview questions.


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