Top Situational Interview Questions and Answers

Situational interview questions - also known as behavioral questions
Situational interview questions – also known as behavioral questions

As a job seeker looking to land a job as an M&M evaluating it is important to respect situational interview questions during the interview session. Situational interview questions usually come to job seekers as a surprise but this should not be the case. Remember, there is a popular saying that he who fails to plan, plans to fail. 

Providing proper answers to situational interview questions will definitely put you ahead of other candidates and also help you secure the job. So, how do you prepare to answer situational interview questions? The good news is that we have compiled the top 2 situational questions and their corresponding answers that companies hiring monitoring and evaluation experts usually ask during their interview sessions.

We have also provided samples that will inspire you and help you craft your unique answer. We encourage you to leverage the samples provided in this article and then practice as often as you can so that you can build or develop confidence when answering situational interview questions.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Why Recruiters Ask Situational Interview Questions? #

Understanding why hiring managers ask situational interview questions will help you better understand how to respond to such questions. Studies conducted by recruitment firms suggest that employers or hiring managers ask situational interview questions because they want to know and determine how job seekers will be able to handle difficult situations without needing the help of their supervisors.

How to Answer Situational Interview Questions #

Before we proceed to share the top 2 situational job interview questions to expect in any interview that you attend as a monitoring and evaluation expert, let’s quickly walk you through how to answer situational interview questions professionally.

Whenever you are faced with situational job interview questions, your answer or response should contain the following:

  • A related problem that you faced and the solution you proffered.
  • Your response should also contain how your employer benefited from the solution that you preferred.

If you can answer a situational interview question in the format above, you will not only stand out from other candidates, you will make it to the good books of the hiring manager.

Example Situational Interview Question #

Now, let’s take a look at a sample and illustrate how the sample used the format above.

Situational interview questions: Tell us about a time you had to collaborate with a coworker who was difficult to work with.

Right way to answer the question

(Problem) There was a time I worked with a data analyst who was always fun complaining about taking up projects with limited resources. (Solution) How I was able to successfully collaborate with him was that I took out time to learn his personal behavior and working style. During the learning process, I discovered that he was battling with a divorce case with his wife. As I got to know him better, I discovered that he was a great team player only that the divorce case was tearing him apart. (Benefit to employer) We started to work harmoniously after that, which made us win an award of excellence as the most dedicated team in the organisation.

The format is: problem, solution, benefits to the organization.

Wrong way to answer the question 

Let me be honest, working with a difficult data analyst was actually very challenging in my previous workplace. His attitude were very annoying which left me with no other option than to get a transfer from the human resources department to a department where I can be comfortable working.

Can you now see the difference between the two answers above? The first answer complied with the format that we have provided while the second answer did not comply with the format. Hiring managers or recruiters will not waste time to hire the candidate that provided the first answer. 

2 Common Situational Interview Questions #

Below are the top 2 situational interview questions that you should always look out for whenever you are attending an interview session as an M&E expert:

#1. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for work.

RIGHT

As the head of data gathering 5 years ago in my previous workplace, our boss took a two week vacation to travel abroad with his family. During the period of his vacation, we got an order from one of our customers to analyze a situation. I immediately called for an emergency departmental meeting to rally round staff members under my supervision. We were able to meet and exceed the customer’s demand. The action that I took fetched our company over $5 million. 

WRONG

As my boss was away on vacation with his family, we received a call from one of our customers to analyze a critical company resource. I immediately called my boss for his directives. The boss asked me to work overtime and then send the report to his email address for review. While I had plans to travel to visit my in-laws, I had to cancel my plans to fulfill the client’s order. 

2. Describe a situation where you weren’t satisfied with your job. What could have made it better?

RIGHT

During my stay at my previous workplace, I faced a situation where customers were always complaining that our ordering page was creating duplicate orders. As the head of evaluation, I was able to evaluate the situation and provided a detailed report for the technical team to resolve the issue. The complaints by customers went down by over 35%.

This answer is amazing! Any candidate that provides this type of answer is sure to get the job. 

WRONG

In one of my outings as the head of evaluation my department encountered errors in the company’s order forms. Management had to put the form on hold pending when a consultant was hired to fix the problem. 

Here, you can clearly see that the candidate didn’t proffer a solution to the problem.

How to Prepare for a Situational Interview #

Situational interview questions about their professional experience are tricky, will ask about how to solve problems, deal with situations, or carry out tasks. Based on our research with 500 EvalCommunity’s members, they are:

List of Soft Skills
Strong Work EthicTime ManagementDetail-Oriented
DependableSteady Under PressureProblem Solving
Positive AttitudeCommunicationDecision Making
Self-MotivatedFlexibilityCustomer Service
Team OrientedConfidenceCritical Thinking

Does preparing for situational behavioral interview questions and answers sound hard? You only have to do it once for any number of interviews.

Start with:

  • Common Job Interview Questions and Best Answers

Next, move on to behavioral questions:

  • Method for Acing Behavioral Interview Questions

Finally, move on to specific answers:

  • How to Describe Your Current Job Responsibilities
  • Tell Me About Yourself
  • What Are Your Strengths?
  • What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
  • What Is Your Management Style?
  • Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
  • Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?
  • Why Do You Want to Work Here?
  • Why Should We Hire You?

Key Takeaway #

That’s a wrap! Preparing ahead for your next interview could be the magic that will help you land a great job. Here’s a recap of what we have explained so far:

  • Prepare for situational job interview questions in advance. Identify the problem in the question and then proffer solutions and highlight how your solutions benefited the company.
  • Do not let situational interview questions be surprising. Expects them when the hiring manager is asking questions about your skills and experience.