How to Master Behavioral and Situational Interview Questions

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to the workforce, including the job search and hiring processes. Recruiters and hiring managers have the added obstacle of making sure a job candidate is a good fit for a position — many times a remote position — over virtual interviews. To help them overcome these difficulties, they are making good use of behavioral and situational interview questions. Here’s how you can prepare effectively for these kinds of interview questions.

[See: 15 Best Remote Working Jobs.]

What Are Situational and Behavioral Interview Questions?

Situational interview questions are questions that deal with hypothetical situations in the future and what you would do in that situation.

Behavioral interview questions are questions that deal with past work experience and situations. Instead of hypothetical situations, these questions require you to provide concrete examples of previous situations that you have dealt with.

Your answers to behavioral interview questions give a hiring manager insight into your strengths, soft skills, personality and level of experience. When a hiring manager knows how you dealt with a situation in the past, it helps them know how you would handle future situations in the workplace and if your answers to the situational interview questions are accurate. While hiring managers will generally tailor these questions to the specific position they want to fill, below is a list of sample interview questions and answers to help you get started.

Situational Interview Questions and Answers

Q: Tell me how you would build up your team, foment good communication and implement deadlines using virtual communication only.
A: I understand how challenging it is to maintain good relationships at work while working remotely. I would coordinate a short, weekly break room on Zoom or the meeting technology the company uses to give everyone time to socialize. I would also schedule team or one-on-one virtual meetings as needed to provide them with clear instructions on tasks and deadlines.

Q: How would you react and respond to an angry client who is upset about something that isn’t your fault?
A: I would listen to the client patiently and determine the source of their frustration. I would make sure to get their contact information, and then I would do what I can to help solve the problem — even if it wasn’t my fault.

Q: What would you do if you are assigned a task that you have never done before?
A: I would let my manager know that although I have never performed this type of task, I would be glad to take it on after receiving some guidance. I would ask my manager which co-worker I could approach to show me how to do the task. I would also do some research on my own to not overly burden others.

[Read: How to Showcase Your Skills to Land a Job.]

Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

Q: Tell me about a time when you handled a challenging situation.
A: One of my team members became very sick a few days before an important project was due and had yet to complete their assigned tasks. I called them and had them explain what needed to be done to complete the tasks. Then, I divided the final tasks between our team members. We were able to complete the whole project before the due date, and we secured a new client.

Q: Tell me about a time when you had to be flexible and adaptable.
A: When I moved to working remotely due to COVID, I really had to adapt to working at home. My employees were facing the same challenges, so I had to be flexible in my expectations of others and myself. I found that taking a few minutes at the beginning of each week and prioritizing my top three tasks has helped me to be flexible in what I ask of my employees. We make sure to focus on completing the most important items first.

Q: Give me an example of when you have worked with others who are different from you.
A: When I accepted my internship, I worked with other students from all around the world. It was so interesting to learn about their cultures and see different ways to accomplish tasks. I feel that experience has really helped me to be open to people of different backgrounds and accept new ideas.

[READ: Best Skills to List on Your Resume.]

Tips for Answering Behavioral and Situational Interview Questions

— Following the STAR interview method can help you answer behavioral interview questions and brainstorm potential ways to answer situational interview questions.

— When answering behavioral interview questions, use measurable results when possible.

— Since situational interview questions do require some thought and storytelling, don’t be afraid to ask the recruiter for a moment to collect your thoughts.

— Examine the job posting and think about the challenges you might face and what strengths and skills are needed for the position.

Since remote work is here to stay for the near future, hiring managers are looking to hire someone who is dependable, trustworthy and highly motivated. They are also interested in hiring professionals who work well with others and who are inclusive of other backgrounds and cultures. Ensure that you’re showcasing some of these attributes when answering behavioral and situational interview questions.

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How to Master Behavioral and Situational Interview Questions originally appeared on

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