Situational Interview Questions and Answers: Interview Answer Tips

Learn all about situational interview questions, and what the interviewers are looking for, with our top tips.

If you have a situational interview coming up, then it’s important that you’re aware of how to pass. Situational interview questions are quite unlike those in regular interviews, in which you’ll be asked general questions about yourself and your motivations. Situational interview questions focus strictly on your ability to demonstrate the core competencies required for the role, and require you to demonstrate when you have used/exercised such behaviours in the past – hence the name: situational interview questions. In this blog, we’ll run you through some sample situational interview questions, and show you how to impress te assessors! 

Pass Situational Interview questions with our pro tips!

Q1. Tell me about a situation when you went above and beyond what was required for work.

Tips For Answering This Situational Interview Question

TIP #1 – Adding extra value to your role will impress the interview panel!

TIP #2 – It is rare nowadays for an employee to do work above and beyond what is required, so this is your chance to shine!

Sample Response

“In a previous job we went through some significant changes and the company Managing Director asked for a volunteer to carry out additional duties whilst he recruited a new member of staff.

I volunteered to take on the work because I knew how important it was for the company to still function and deliver a quality service.

I worked the extra hours and duties for no additional pay. This in turn took the pressure of my Managing Director whilst he recruited the new member of staff.

After 4 weeks, my Director managed to find a new member of staff and when they arrived, I helped them to integrate into the team by showing them what their role involved. If required, I would always help out the business as I understand my job is dependent on the company performing well.”

This truly is the ultimate resource for situational interview questions.

Q2. Tell me about a situation when you made a mistake at work.

Tips For Answering This Question

TIP #1 – Be open and honest and tell them about a time you made a mistake.

TIP #2 – Make sure you do not give an example that is a key requirement of the role!

TIP #3 – Tell the panel what you learned from the mistake and what you did to improve.

Sample Response

“I have only made one silly mistake whilst at work, and this was down to me simply being complacent.

I had the responsibility of packaging and dispatching customer orders in a previous job and I felt I could do the job with my eyes closed, simply because of the number of orders I had previously worked on. This complacency led to me not concentrating sufficiently one day, and I sent out the wrong order to the wrong customer. The knock-on effect was that a further 3 customers also received incorrect goods.

As soon as I realised I had made a mistake, I informed my line manager before contacting each of the customers to explain the issue, apologise and then take the necessary steps to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

I apologised unreservedly to my manager and took the appropriate steps to make sure it never happened again.”

If you need tips on situational interview questions, we can help.

Q3. Tell me about a difficult challenge you faced at work. How did you solve it?

Tips For Answering This Question

TIP #1 – Use a SPECIFIC response to this question.

TIP #2 – Be the one who volunteers to solve the problem.

TIP #3 – Show that you care and are capable of solving problems.

Sample Response

“In my previous job, I had to work in a team where it became clear a number of team members disliked each other. The impact on the business was concerning me, simply because I did not feel we could operate successfully unless the team worked in harmony. I decided to try and resolve the issue.

I held an informal meeting to raise my concerns and I encouraged everyone in the team to talk openly about how they felt. It quickly became apparent that some members of the team felt other people were not pulling their weight or contributing positively to team projects. The end result was a breakdown in communications.

After lengthy discussions, and with me facilitating the talks, we all agreed to hold  weekly meetings so we could discuss any problems openly and honestly with a view to moving forward positively. The end results were very promising. The team now works extremely well together and the open-communication has not just improved the atmosphere in the office, but the output of the team has increased significantly.”

Q4. Tell me about a long running project you worked on?

Tips For Answering This Question

TIP #1 – Demonstrate your ability to work as part of a team.

TIP #2 – Show you are capable of seeing things through to the end, successfully!

Sample Response

“In my previous job, I worked on a 12-month internal project with 5 other members of staff. The project required us all to work together on creating and installing a new customer payment gateway through the company website.

My role within the team was to act as the main point of contact between the external outsourcing companies who were involved in the project, and the senior heads of department. I was required to make sure everything went smoothly, communicate effectively with everyone involved, and also keep the organisation updated on our progress.

The project was challenging, but by remaining focused on the end goal, being resilient during the difficult periods of the project, and by using effective communication skills, the team managed to deliver the project well ahead of time and on budget.”

Our strategies will help you to ace situational interview questions.

Q5. Tell me about a time you had to persuade someone to see your point of view.

Tips For Answering This Question

TIP #1 – This question assesses your ability to persuade others. It also assesses confidence.

TIP #2 – Be clever in your response to this interview question. Tie in your answer with a benefit to the company.

Sample Response

“Whilst at work I had what I thought was a great idea to help the business move forward and generate more sales. The idea involved engaging more with our customers to try and make them feel more valued. If a customer feels more valued, they will return to the business time and time again.

Unfortunately, the other members of my team, including my line manager, did not feel my idea was worth the effort. Instead of giving up, I decided to conduct some research in my own time and also provide clear evidence of how my idea would work positively for the business.

After giving a quick 20-minute presentation to my line manager and the team members, they agreed to give it a try. The end result is that our repeat customer sales are now up by 18%.”

Customer Service Interview Questions and Answers

Q6. Tell me about a time when your job went through significant change. How did you adjust?  

Tips For Answering This Question

TIP #1 Change is very important and how you embrace it says a lot about you as an employee.

TIP #2 – Be someone who ENJOYS change and sees the benefit of it.

TIP #3 – In your answer, explain how you see change as a positive thing.

Sample Response

“I am actually quite a fan of change and I think it keeps a job interesting and challenging. In my previous job, my manager was quite forward-thinking and she often liked to implement change to try and improve things.

One particular time, she implemented a new way of working for everyone in the team. The change meant we all had to carry out another team members duties one day a week, to get to understand their role, but to also be capable of performing their duties if and when the need came about.

Within two months of the change, I felt confident enough to carry out everyone else’s job, albeit to a basic level. One of the benefits of the change she implemented, was some members of the team suggested further ways of developing and improving other people’s roles within the team, which in turn helped increase company productivity levels and efficiency. So, my manager’s proposed change to working practices actually had further benefits, which made the initial change even more innovative.”

Q7. Tell me about a situation when you had to collaborate with a coworker who was difficult to work with.

Tips For Answering This Question

TIP #1 – Go out of your way to make the situation work – be the better person.

TIP #2 – At the end of the situation, show how your determination to work with the coworker developed into a positive working relationship.

Sample Response

“I was working in a small team of people and I got on great with everyone apart from one particular co-worker. Despite my attempts to get to know him better, he seemed quite cold towards me. I wasn’t fazed by this, because our relationship hadn’t had a negative impact on the team or business.

One day, my line manager asked us both to work together on a project that would last for 4 weeks. I saw this as an opportunity to try and get to know my co-worker, and to attempt to improve our relationship.

When we sat down to discuss how we would work together on the project, he made it quite clear that he wasn’t happy about having to collaborate with me. So, I asked him outright what the problem was and what I could do to make things better. Once I asked him outright, his entire tone changed, and he started to open up about some problems he was having at home. I listened to him, and offered to be someone whom he could turn to if he needed support or advice in future.

From that day on we got on very well and our working relationship improved dramatically. In fact, the project was such as success that our line manager suggested he would give us both another project to collaborate on together in the future.”

Learn situational interview questions and answers, in our guide.

MORE SITUATIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  1. What would you do if you disagreed with the way your manager wanted you to handle a situation or problem?
  2. What would you do if you worked hard on a solution to a problem, and then your solution was criticised by your work colleagues?
  3. You are working on an important project that you can’t complete because you’re waiting on work from a colleague. What do you do?
  4. You realize that an early mistake you made in a project is going to put you behind schedule. What do you do?
  5. What would you do if you made a strong recommendation in a meeting, but your colleagues decided against it?
  6. What would you do if we offered you the job, and once you started, you and I didn’t get on?

For more Situational Interview Questions, check out www.PassMyInterview.com

Our tips on situational interview questions will help you secure your dream career.

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