Situational interview questions

The interview is necessary to make your possible boss understand how you can work together. The best way is to see you in action during the work. But this is not possible until you are hired.

Therefore, situational questions are often asked during the interview so that the employer can learn more about you as a specialist.


Situational interview questions (or behavioral interview questions) aim to give the employer a better understanding of how you will deal with the problems associated with the job you are applying for. They also give hiring managers the best possible clear vision of an applicant's strengths and weaknesses.

Situational interview questions are different from most other types of interview questions because they require you to provide examples of your past behavior that relate directly to the requirements on which you are being interviewed.

You should answer the situational interview question as though you were right in the middle of dealing with a real-life situation. When asked how you would handle something, describe your specific actions using direct and concise language rather than generalities. Don't just start talking about what someone else did or what you think "most people" might do in this situation. The interviewer wants to know what YOU would do, not simply an overview of problems similar to those under discussion.

Therefore, during the job audition, the HR manager can ask you to tell how you've solved similar problems before in your previous workplaces or simulated situations that need to be worked on. Thanks to this, the possible employer can understand how you communicate, see your ability to work in a team, and have leadership qualities. Yes, it's a bit scary, but in reality, it is an excellent opportunity to show what you can and worth for. All you need to do is get ready for it.

And here the question comes – how to get ready for such questions? All you need is to practice a little bit. You cannot know exactly what interviewers may ask you about. But before it, you can study the job description and think about examples of qualifications that you've demonstrated in a previous job.

An interview serves as an excellent opportunity to showcase your skills for a specific position. The best way to get ready is to do something called homework – carefully examine the company's activities and the position you want to get. We also advise you to think about this in the context of your previous experience and be ready to respond to any question.

So, when answering these questions try the following things:

  • Describe the actual experience – you should never make something up because of the risk of giving too much information or getting confused with the details.
  • Make sure your example is relevant – avoid irrelevant stories. Do not mention anything you were not specifically asked for. It does not make sense to talk about personal values if the question dealt with work experience.
  • Try understanding why the interviewer asks them – sometimes your answer will depend on how you understand the reason behind this question (he wants to hear it, he wants to see your career progress etc). Therefore, think before you give an answer and always be honest.
  • You need to know that if you memorize answers everyone sounds the same and they do not want to hear something like this. Employers are looking for specific examples of situations when you displayed your best qualities. And remember that the more real examples you can provide, the better it will be for you.

If you really want to succeed in getting this job, try preparing for these questions before you go to an interview. You should think of how specific situations happened and what your responsibility was in them. Remember – if possible, do not invent anything because it's better, to tell the truth than to lie about something that would cause consequences later.


1. Illustrate a situation in which you have failed. How did you manage to deal with it?

This question is usually asked to understand how you overcome obstacles and be responsible for your actions. It is also very important to share this situation's experience.

If you do not have any experience in your work regret this. But if you do – think about the thing that went wrong and why, what was the reason for failure, how did you react at first and what were the consequences? Then describe how you've improved the situation making it better than before.

2. Have you ever worked with someone you didn't get along with? How did you solve the problem?

This question tends to know how you handle a conflict. Be sure to share the result of your efforts.

Choose a situation when you didn't get along with someone before and think about why did the conflict happen. If there were any arguments, try to remember them well and try not to confuse the facts. Describe how you tried to solve the problem and what was its final result.

3. Your boss asks you to complete a task you've never done before. What will you do?

Your possible boss wants to ensure that you are ready to tackle new challenges on your own and that it doesn't scare you. Besides, your response can provide insight into your coping skills.

First of all, you need to be ready for this question. Think about the reasons why your boss could ask you to complete a task that is new to you (maybe he heard good things about your work ethic, maybe he decided to give you an opportunity to prove yourself, etc.). Then describe how you plan on tackling the issue and what is your end goal.

4. Can you give an example of when you got into a difficult situation? How did you manage to cope with this?

Asking this, the HR manager or your possible employer wants to see if you can work under pressure and know what you need to do to reach the aim.

Maybe you faced a difficult situation at work before. If so, try to remember what was the cause of this problem and who were the people involved in it. Describe how you coped with this difficult situation.

5. Describe a situation where you could make a good impression on a client.

A possible employer can find out if you know how to work with clients with your answer. Your task is to show that you are doing everything possible for this.

Remember that there are many different situations in which you can make a good impression on a client. For example, if you have been to this client's firm before or maybe because of something you've bought from their company. Think about your last contact with your possible future clients and describe what was the result of it (how did they react and how did you feel).

6. The key achievement of your professional career – what is it, and how did you get it?

This question tends to see what you've accomplished so far and shows them what you are most passionate about in your work. Be sure your response is appropriate and suits the job you want to get.

Think about your professional life and choose a project or something that you've achieved. Think about why it was so successful and what were the key factors of its success. It will be great if you can tell how much profit this achievement brought to your company/organization etc.

7. Can you give an example of a problem that occurred and how you solved it?

The answer to this question will show your initiative and ability to solve problems. The employer is very impressed that you can make valuable improvements.

Choose a specific situation when you faced a problem and try to remember what was the reason for it. Then describe how did you solve this issue and what were the final results of your actions.

8. Explain the challenging customer interactions you have. Answering this question will help prospective employers know how well you can serve customers. In your response, you should describe in detail what you did in the course of the interaction. Do not forget to be sure to indicate the result of cooperation.

9. Have you ever worked under time pressure? What steps have you taken to get everything done?

To understand whether you know how to rationally and productively use your working time, the employer asks this question. Be sure to explain in detail how you manage to do everything.

10. Can you give an example of a difficult decision you made in your previous job? How did you proceed in this situation?

The employer needs to know how you make decisions. Therefore, describe in detail the situation and efforts to solve the problem.

11. Imagine working on a project that needs to be completed on a tight schedule. But you have to depend on a colleague who said he'd do his part last week. What are your actions?

It is another question to help you understand how advanced your interpersonal skills are.

12. Have you ever had a situation where you disagreed with your boss? How did you manage to avoid the conflict?

The employer needs to know that you can resolve all conflicts in the work process, no matter who they arise, peacefully and respectfully.

13. Give an example of an ambitious goal you have set for yourself. What have you done to achieve it?

The employer wants to see that his employees are motivated and consistently achieve their goals. Be sure to provide specific examples.

14. Have you ever had to explain a frustrated colleague or client? What did you do for this, and what was their reaction?

Your answer to this question will help you understand how advanced your communication and persuasion skills are. Here, too, it is always necessary to describe in detail the efforts made.

15. Tell us about the challenges you faced in your past job. Perhaps these were problems or conflicts, and how did you solve them?

A potential employer needs to be sure that you will overcome difficulties and not hide from them. It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that you can handle everything.

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