We asked our recruiters for the best strategies for situational interviews.
Unlike a behavioral interview, which focuses on concrete past examples, situational interviews focus heavily on theoretical scenarios to assess how you would behave when faced with a potential problem. This is the type of interview where you’ll encounter “How would you handle ___?” or “What would you do if ___?” prompts, giving you a chance to showcase your quick thinking and problem solving abilities through your answers.
- Remember that there are no right or wrong answers. Be honest about how you’d handle a scenario, because it will help the employer (and you!) decide if you’re a good fit for what this specific role entails. “Simulation questions demonstrate how you would handle realistic challenges faced by individuals in this role,” Allstate’s hiring guide tells prospective hires. “There are no right or wrong answers.”
- Know what to expect of the format so you can practice ahead of time. Allstate’s team describes the format, which they use when hiring for certain Claims roles, simply: “You will read about a situation and then talk about how you would handle it. [A technical interview question] is an opportunity to share your thought process and capabilities when faced with real life situations.” Consider contacting your school’s career center about a mock interview, where the staff can give you some examples of situational interview questions relevant to the role you’re interviewing for and help you craft your responses.
- Tell a story. Situational interview questions serve as a great opportunity to flex your story-telling muscle. While the questions are mostly theoretical, they may tie into your experience around handling a similar situation in the past, for example, “How would you deal with an irate customer on the phone?” Follow the STAR method to tell a good story. Start your response by describing the situation, the action you would take to address it, and any results you’d set out to achieve.
*The tips provided are recommendations that do not guarantee the outcome of an interview.