The situational interview is becoming increasingly popular, as interviewers are able to observe how a candidate may respond to a simulated or hypothetical job situation. A situational interview is also referred to as a competency based interview, because they focus on evaluating key areas of behavior or key ‘competencies’.
While several competencies may be evaluated, the primary skill set an interviewer will be looking for is the ability to problem solve. Questions encountered in this type of interview will resemble behavioral interview questions, but will in some cases be asking how a candidate may handle a future situation, not how they managed something in their past.
What to expect:
While situational questions can be asked during any phase of the interview process, they are most frequently used in a second or final interview as a final selection tool. You can expect between 5-12 questions of this nature, followed by an opportunity for you to ask questions of your interviewer.
Preparing for the Situational Interview:
– The best way to prepare is to review your prior work experience and past accomplishments. Specifically, as you review this information, you will want to review examples which relate to the key competencies in the job description. (Ask the hiring manager if you are not sure what these are).
Examples of popular competency areas are: Problem solving, focus on results, teamwork, planning and organizing, communication, decision making.
– The next step is to then work to incorporate these examples into short stories, as this is the type of format your interviewer will be looking for in your examples.
– Practice generating answers for a variety of sample interview questions. If possible, work with a partner or an interview coach so that you may receive feedback on your responses.
– When writing your answers, replay in your mind the steps that you took and most importantly what critical decisions and actions you took which resulted in the positive outcome. Click here to find situational interview questions and sample answers.
– Avoid controversial answers as well as those that are not specific. Interviewers are looking for concise responses that are relevant to not only the question posed, but also the position you are applying for.
– Provide detailed responses; interviewers are often looking for more than one sentence answers. But at the same time, avoid being too lengthy as there is likely to be a variety of questions to be posed.
– Review your resume, looking for specific stories that you could cite as examples should pertinent questions be posed.
– As with any interview, you will need to demonstrate your motivation and interest in the job as well as have thoroughly researched the both the position and the company.
– Finally, dress appropriately: You only have one opportunity to make a positive impression. Avoid heavy perfumes or colognes, wear jewelry sparingly and for women, makeup should be understated.
Taking the time to prepare for the situational interview gives you the advantage over other candidates who have not. Your preparation will show through on the day, giving you a feeling of empowerment and confidence to perform at your best. Make sure you go for that feeling!
Originally posted 2016-09-07 19:02:31.