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Situational interview questions are designed to help the employer determine how you would handle a specific, challenging situation. They are quite similar to behavioral questions except behavioral questions ask you to tell about specific times when you handled challenging situations, while situational questions ask you to tell how you imagine you would handle a hypothetical situation.
Here are several sample situational questions that you might come across:
You suspect a client is at risk for suicide, how would you handle the situation?
You a speaking with a client whose second language is English. He is asking a lot of questions, and he has a strong accent and is speaking quickly. You are having difficulty understanding what he is saying. What would you do?
You are working with a coworker who is consistently making mistakes that affect customers and that impact your ability to do your own work. You have tried talking with this colleague, but you have seen no improvement in the quality of her work. What would you do next?
You notice a coworker stealing from the company. What would you do?
In this role, you will provide administrative support for two managers. You are working on a large project with a looming deadline for one manager, when the other manager hands you a project and says it must be completed immediately. It is not possible for you to complete both projects within the deadlines provided. How will you manage the conflicting demands on your time?
You have recently begun managing a team within the organization. One of your team members applied for the same job, and she is resentful that she was not given the job. She is speaking in a manner that is disrespectful and undermining your authority. How will you handle the situation?
You see a coworker taking a shortcut with his job that could become a safety hazard. What will you do?
You determine that you are not on track to make your sales targets for the quarter, and you failed to meet targets for the previous two quarters. You suspect your manager is not happy with your performance, but she has not spoken with you about the situation. What will you do?
Keep in mind, the type of situational question you are asked will depend upon the nature of the job. So, if the most challenging aspect of the job will involve dealing with angry customers, you will likely be asked situational questions about that. If, on the other hand, the biggest challenge on the job will involve dealing with short deadlines, the situational interview questions you are asked will be focused on that aspect of the job.