Just like behavioural interview questions, situational interview questions are likely to be asked in an interview for almost any job.
Your CV and covering letter (and maybe even your application form) totally impressed the employer – so well done on that front. However, this is only half the battle to landing the job, and you need to nail the interview.
As mentioned, situational interview questions and behavioural interview questions are very similar. Put simply, behavioural interview questions ask and assess how you have behaved in the past, whether in work or at school or university. Situational interview questions attempt to assess how you would act when encountered with an issue that could arise whilst in the role you’re applying for.
What’s that? You want some examples with tips on how to respond? You guys just treat us as the soft parent who will keep on giving don’t you? Don’t you! Well times are about to chan- oh okay then, if you insist.
First up: “How would you act if an idea or proposal you strongly believed in was shot down by most of your co-workers?”
There’s only one ideal response to this question and it begins with chain and ends in saw. Only joking. Rather, you should tell the interviewer that you would remain calm and highlight clearly the advantages to your idea and how you see things playing out if adopted. You should also mention that you’re willing to consider other alternatives if your co-workers can highlight the advantages and disadvantages of their plans. It’s all about teamwork and discussion.
The interviewer may also ask you “How would you manage your workload if a deadline was suddenly brought forward?” This question is essentially asking what you would do in the event of priorities being juggled.
The best way to respond to this question is to explain how you would arrange a catch up with everybody working on the project and to make sure they’re all on the same page with regard to the update and new strategy. We’re pretty confident that response would go down a lot better than saying that you’d demand that everybody work 20 hours a day and go into lockdown mode, refusing any contact with the outside world until the project is finished.
Similarly, you may get asked “What would you do if you realised, at deadline, that your most recent project is not the best it can be?” The best way to answer this question would be to say that, in an ideal world, this would never, ever happen as you always make sure you manage your time effectively to ensure the best results. However, if it did happen, arranging a meeting with your manager, explain the situation and request an extension. Following that, you would review your actions and make sure you didn’t need to request an extension in the future.
What employers look for when they ask situational interview questions is somebody who thinks in a logical manner and doesn’t panic. They’d rather hire somebody who demonstrates clear processes and behaviour rather than someone who panics or someone who is simply quite arrogant and says “it wouldn’t happen to me.” Trust us, unexpected situations arise at work for everybody, the key is to remain calm and show the employer that you’re able to do this.
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