January 4, 2008, Newsletter Issue #128: The Situational Interview

Tip of the Week

Be prepared for a situational interview. In this type of interview, you are given a hypothetical situation and asked how you would handle it. You may also be asked to detail an actual situation from a past job experience and explain how you handled it. In both cases, the interviewer is trying to assess your problem solving skills and ascertain whether you understand how to handle typical challenges.

To prepare for situational questions, make a list prior to the interview of some difficult situations you encountered, and think about how you solved them. Common situations to consider are times when you had to give bad news, times when you disagreed with a company policy, or times when you had to deal with a difficult person.

Imagine specific challenges that might arise in the job you are applying for and brainstorm similar situations that you have been in. If you would have done something differently, share that with the interviewer. It shows that you have learned from your experiences and that you are thoughtful.

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