Why situational interview questions are key to better hiring

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Great interview questions can help you determine if a candidate is a good fit for the job. However, just asking those standard questions barely scratches the surface.

The right situational interview questions can reveal even more about how well the candidate will perform in real-world situations at work.

Understanding the environment

The best way to find out about a company is by getting in touch with someone who works there. If the interviewer doesn’t have time for that, they will ask you situational questions. However, not every interviewer uses situational questions because they tend to be more challenging than traditional ones and can leave interviewers feeling unprepared and lost without some coaching first.

What are situational interview questions?

What’s a “situational question”? It’s an open-ended inquiry that requires you as an applicant to tell a story about yourself using your own words, rather than just answering yes/no or giving a number value on a scale of 1-10 (like most other job interviews).

In other words: situational interview questions are designed so that candidates must use their experience and skills within their answers rather than simply regurgitate canned responses from their CV into an answer box on their computer screen during each round of questioning.

Discovering different perspectives

Asking situational questions is a great way to determine how the candidate would act in the future. You want to know what they would do if something happened, and why.

The best way to find out what a candidate will do in a certain situation is by asking them about it. For example: “Think of a time when you were working with an uncooperative colleague at work. How did you handle that? What did you learn from it? “

Seeing how the candidate reacts under pressure

The best way to answer these questions is with a story.

Situational interview questions assess your ability to think quickly and creatively, solve problems, and adapt to new situations. These interviews are also used as a screening process for potential candidates.

They test how well you respond under pressure—and that means they’re not exactly the same type of question you’d get at the grocery store.

If you’re asked one of these situational questions during your next job interview, here’s how you should respond:

  • Tell a story about yourself or someone else who’s faced similar circumstances in the past. You want to show how you handled it successfully—and what lessons you learned from it!

Obtaining specific examples from the applicant’s work history that relate directly to the position in question

The key here is to get specific examples that relate directly to the position in question. A good way to do this is by asking, “Tell me about a time you had to work with someone who was very stubborn and wouldn’t listen to your suggestions. What did you do?”

This question provides context while also allowing the applicant to share an example from their own experience. Asking situational interview questions like these helps you gauge if they can handle a certain situation in real life. If they say something along the lines of, “I would have kicked his butt!” then it’s probably not going down well at this company!

Finding out how the candidate will apply their skill set in a new situation or one that is new to them

The situational interview is a great way of finding out how the candidate will apply their skill set in a new situation or one that is new to them.

For example: What would you do if you were assigned a project that you knew nothing about? Or what would you do if management suddenly changed their minds and needed the project completed in half the time?

These types of questions can help you assess whether or not someone has the flexibility to deal with changing circumstances at work.

Situational interview questions allow for more specific and relevant answers.

Answering situational interview questions gives you the chance to provide more specific and relevant answers than if you were answering a standard question. Here’s how:

  • The interviewer tells you what’s happening in the situation. You answer based on the information given, describing what you would do in that situation.
  • You’re asked to describe an example of a time when something happened at work and how it affected your team or department. You talk about what happened and how it affected them and then talk about how you handled it effectively by using some specific examples from previous jobs where similar situations arose (such as being late for work because there were traffic delays).


When interviewing candidates for a position, it’s important to ask situational questions so you can get a better idea of how they’ll perform on the job. These questions allow you to gauge their ability to adapt and adjust to new situations, which will help them succeed in any company environment.

2 thoughts on “Why situational interview questions are key to better hiring”

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