Situational Interview

What Is a Situational Interview?

A Situational Interview is a technique used in the recruitment process where candidates are asked to describe how they would handle specific work-related situations. This type of interview is designed to assess a candidate’s problem-solving ability, decision-making skills, and adaptability to future job challenges. It differs from behavioral interviews by focusing on hypothetical situations rather than past experiences.

Key Features of Situational Interviews

  • Hypothetical Scenarios: Candidates are presented with hypothetical work-related scenarios and asked to explain their approach to solving them.
  • Future-oriented: Focuses on how candidates would handle potential future situations in the workplace.
  • Competency Assessment: Used to assess specific competencies such as leadership, communication, and critical thinking.
  • Predictive of Job Performance: Aims to predict a candidate’s job performance by assessing how they approach and solve problems.

How Does a Situational Interview Work?

  1. Preparation: Interviewers prepare a list of hypothetical scenarios that are relevant to the job’s responsibilities and challenges.
  2. Questioning: During the interview, candidates are asked situational questions and must describe how they would handle each scenario.
  3. Evaluation: Responses are evaluated based on predetermined criteria to assess the candidate’s suitability for the role.
  4. Comparison: Candidates’ answers may be compared to determine which candidate is best suited for the position based on their problem-solving approaches.

Best Practices for Conducting Situational Interviews

  • Relevant Scenarios: Ensure the hypothetical situations are closely related to the actual challenges of the job.
  • Consistency: Ask all candidates the same questions to fairly compare their answers.
  • Criteria-based Evaluation: Establish clear criteria for what constitutes a good response to each scenario.
  • Combine with Other Techniques: Use situational interviews in conjunction with other interviewing techniques for a well-rounded assessment of the candidate.


Review the job description and identify key competencies required. Practice structuring your responses to hypothetical scenarios using those competencies.

A good answer clearly outlines a logical approach to solving the presented problem, demonstrates relevant competencies, and includes consideration of potential outcomes.

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