What is your favorite website interview question?

Situation-related interview questions

If your current interview process isn't based on situational interview questions, it probably looks a little like this:

You meet your candidate, ask him whether he has found the position well, talk about his professional career and his skills, explain the position to be filled a little, then shake hands and "we will get in touch with you".

If you thought the situation described above was all too common, you are right - it is. Such interviews are of no value to either party.

Vague questions warrant vague answers. The only thing you can learn about your candidate is how quickly they can answer an unexpected question the first time.

Here situational interview questions save the day. A well-worded question about a particular hypothetical situation is a great way to see how an applicant reacted (or reacted) in certain situations. But remember, there is more to an effective interview than just asking the right questions. This is important, but there is much more to it.

For more interview questions, see our posts, "45 Behavioral Questions to Use During Non-Technical Developer Interviews," "Telephone Interview Questions: The Complete List," and "12 Great Second Interview Questions To Ask Your Candidate."

What are situational interview questions?

Situational interview questions are questions about how the candidate would cope with a challenge they would encounter in this role.

Situational interview questions can help push candidates beyond generic answers by getting them to think about how they would handle a situation.

Why are situational interview questions so effective?

Put simply, you get the candidate to drop their interview script and think on their feet.

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Situational interview questions are a great way to determine how a candidate's values ​​and priorities could influence future action in your company.

A good answer to a question like this doesn't just show how a candidate would behave. These answers show you how the candidate perceives the benefit or outcome for themselves and the company.

Situational questions as part of your interview process

As a seasoned recruiter, you know there's more to a recruiting strategy than just asking questions. But it is important that you ask your situational questions at the right time.

If your company culture is about sharing creativity, thoughts, feelings, and concepts no matter what, it is important that you tell your candidate before asking their questions. This will help the candidate respond more truthfully because they now know what is important in your company.

Similarly, if your company has a fixed structure, an almost production-related way of working, this should be communicated as early as possible in the interview process.

Traditionally, most applicants are given time in an initial interview to ask questions about the position or the company. Give them time to ask questions and encourage them to ask you similar situational questions. "What would you have to do to praise an entire department for going above and beyond?

Sure, it's rare for a candidate to ask you a question like this, but your best answer should still answer the question as if it was asked that way.

So what are the most useful situational questions to ask a candidate?

12 examples of situational interview questions

While there is a ridiculous amount of information you can get out of a candidate in an interview, here are 12 examples of situational interview questions that you absolutely must ask.

Situation-related interview question 1:

What would you do..."

Why it's a good question: This is not an actual question, but rather the best way to start a situational question. These 5 words can turn a simple yes or no question into a detailed, complicated answer. Try rephrasing your favorite interview questions to start with this sentence. You will be able to see how candidates react to the same question, just worded differently.

Situation-related interview question 2:

How would you fix a mistake you made on a project?

Why it's a good question: You have probably asked the question "What are your weaknesses" in the past. It is similar to this question, which has been rephrased to give a more detailed and situation-specific answer. By explaining how they would fix a bug or problem they encountered, their response shows self-awareness and emotional intelligence, while at the same time assessing the candidate's weaknesses.

Situation-related interview question 3:

How would you motivate someone or others around you ".

Why it's a good question: Regardless of whether the position you want to fill requires leadership skills or not, being able to show initiative and motivate people is a good skill to have in a person. In addition, the word "motivation" is very subjective. Does your candidate think that the motivation and inspiration of a team makes them look at a project differently, or that they band together to reluctantly see a difficult job through to the end? This is the question that will find out.

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Situation-related interview question 4:

Imagine that you are in a situation where you cannot achieve your goals. What would you do?"

Why it's a good question: This question is a fantastic way to see how committed a candidate is to the task at hand. In addition, it also shows the degree of ownership for the goals that your candidate has. The additional questions about the "what" and the "why" justify an even more detailed answer. This can be a good indication of how a candidate perceives failure and how they reacted to not meeting those goals.

Situation-related interview question 5:

Describe how you would prioritize, organize, and track your work ".

Why it's a good question: Regardless of how you prioritize tasks within a team, the individual's ability to organize themselves is important. Asking a candidate to talk about the way they would prioritize their own tasks shows their attention to detail. This is a good question because your candidate may not have seen these small, simple skills and a system of their own before. Essentially, this question is about organizational skills and attention to detail.

Situation-related interview question 6:

Describe a situation in which you would be proud of your work ".

Why it's a good question: This is the opposite of what are your weaknesses. It can be a flattering question and it can give the candidate an opportunity to talk about what they're proud of. It's a great 2nd or 3rd question to ask, especially if your candidate is feeling nervous or speechless about the interview.

Situation-related interview question 7:

Tell me how you would find your way around a situation where you have multiple projects with conflicting deadlines or goals ".

Why it's a good question: This is another question that will give you insight into time management, task prioritization, and the ability to think independently and for yourself. The answer to this question says more about the candidate's ability to get everything in front of them than to do multiple tasks at the same time.

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Situation-related interview question 8:

What would you do if you had a disagreement or conflict with an employee and what role would you play in resolving it?

Why it's a good question: In a company that values ​​growth and harmony, people who can manage personal conflicts and defuse tense situations are vital to maintaining a quality job. This question gives you an impression of the diplomatic skills of the candidates and their self-image in conflicts.

Situation-related interview question 9:

What would you do if you felt nervous, stressed, or insecure?

Why it's a good question: Thinking about a time when they are not at their best can show how seriously they take themselves. This question can also show you how the individual problem is resolved in a stressful situation and is another good indicator of emotional awareness. This question can also have the added effect of making your candidate feel more comfortable. When you ask someone to talk about their mistakes, remind them that it is okay not to be perfect.

Situation-related interview question 10:

How would you deal with [this situation that occurs regularly in your workplace]?

Why it's a good question: If you ask questions that are specific to your job, it means the candidate cannot use a generic answer. He has to think carefully about how to deal with the said situation at your workplace. Remember, however, that while the candidate's answer may not be the right way to deal with this situation in your company, the answer can still shed a lot of light on the candidate's thought process.

Situation-related interview question 11:

If you had to work for your least favorite boss or manager, what would you do and why?

Why it's a good question: This is a good question to surprise your candidate because it is not a question you would expect in an interview. It's something you would likely discuss with trusted coworkers after work - and that makes it a good situational interview question.

Situation-related interview question 12:

How would you prepare for major changes in your workplace?

Why it's a good question: This situational interview question is great if you're a startup that experiences structural changes on a regular basis, or if the product changes a lot. Adaptability is an important quality an employee must have as it shows their willingness to work for a company rather than a specific project or position.

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How to create your own situational interview questions

It's not too difficult to create your own situational interview questions. Most of the time, it's easy to turn a yes or no question into a situational question that requires a more elaborate answer.

Instead of asking:

Do you build relationships easily?

Try to ask:

What do you think is necessary to build a strong relationship with your employees?

Most questions that begin with these words can be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead, try to work your way into the question as if to force your candidate to give a detailed answer.

Instead of 'Do you consider yourself creative? ', Try "Tell me how you would create a policy, initiative, or solution to a problem that would be implemented by your team.

This question is pretty specific, but the fact that it has an open ending means your candidate can formulate an answer that may raise even more questions that you would like to ask. This in turn gives you the opportunity to assess your candidate a little better and ultimately make a better final decision.


An applicant's motivators and morale play a big role in how well they fit the advertised position. So you need to be sure that you know what drives your applicant.

Situation-related interview questions are the key to this. Include the above questions in your interview process and even start creating your own questions. You will soon find that it is faster and easier to maximize the efficiency of each interview and to have a clearer view of your candidate's reactions to situations.

For more trusted examples of good questions to ask in an interview, check out our The Definitive Developer Interview Questions Book for Savvy Recruiters.

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