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The better your interview questions are, the more you’ll learn about your candidates. There are many interviewers who expect candidates to just come out and say why they’re great. But it’s the interviewer who needs to take the lead. Even if you’re new to interviewing candidates, you’ll likely already have a few questions related to the role in mind. You can also mix in some situational and behavioral questions to get to know candidates even better.
- Situational interview questions present the candidate with a hypothetical situation and ask them how they would handle it. “What would you do if…”
- Behavioral interview questions ask the candidate to recall a past experience and describe how they did handle it. “Tell me about a time in a past job when…”
Situational questions can be a curve ball for candidates. They force them to think about how they would handle the challenges associated with the role. On a deeper level, you get insight into what they value or what they overlook. Situational questions allow them to craft their perfect response to your made up scenario while behavioral questions force them to share real experiences.
Behavioral questions give you a good idea of what candidates have excelled at and struggled with in the past. Many people who favor behavioral interview questions believe the way a candidate worked in the past helps predict how they’ll work in the future. That makes sense but these questions also help you learn what personal problems a candidate is working on improving.
Examples of Behavioral and Situational Interview Questions
Adaptability: Managers say adaptability is the most important soft skill they screen for. To stay competitive today, your company needs to be able to adapt to a changing economy and business needs.
- Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something you had never done before. How did you react? What did you learn?
Culture Fit: Will the employee represent the values of your team?
- Tell me about a time in the last week when you’ve been satisfied, energized, and productive at work. What were you doing?
Teamwork, Cooperation: Will they share with others to achieve the best results?
- Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. How did you handle interactions with that person?
- Can you tell me about a time when you followed a rule that you didn’t agree with? Why did you comply? How did you feel?
Initiative: Are they creative and resourceful in their work processes?
- Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
Customer Service: Is the person focused on great service?
- Tell me about a time when you made sure a customer was pleased with your service.
- Can you talk about a time when you dealt with an upset or angry customer? What did you do? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Ask the right interview questions to get the answers you need.
Situational and behavioral interview questions are most effective when they directly relate to the role you’re hiring for. Most importantly, know what the role requires so you can ask the candidate about real and hypothetical scenarios that help you learn if they’re the person for the job.