How to Ace Behavioral & Situational Interviews

interviewThere are a few different types of interview questions, and here at MJD, our mission is to help prepare you to ace either one!

Let’s dig right in, shall we? There’s the behavioral one which is always a favorite. It dives deeper. While many interviewers prefer to stay on the surface by asking direct questions about your past work experiences, some may venture into the land of behavioral questions.

These types of inquiries focus on your past to predict future outcomes. For instance, they may ask you to describe a time when you were embroiled in internal politics on the job. What was the outcome? Tell me about your biggest setback and how you overcame it.The key to acing these questions it to first pause for silence. Think about one specific example to illustrate your point. Once you’ve identified it, describe the situation. The interviewer truly wants to hear how you handled it and what you learned. By assessing your behavior, they’re trying to predict future outcomes.

As for situational interviews, they’re slightly different. Instead of relying on the past, the interviewer will dive into the future. Let’s say your boss is out of the office for two weeks and you have to make executive decisions in her absence. Your team isn’t submitting proposal drafts to you on deadline and you can’t even make any decisions because the drafts haven’t been submitted. Time is ticking, your team is unresponsive and your boss will definitely be unhappy when she returns if nothing’s been accomplished. What do you do?

Here’s the key to acing these types of questions: solve their problem! Plus, they may be probing to see how much expertise you have on a subject. Definitely aim to solve the problem at hand but also be honest and specific in your approach.

Identify the issues, describe your solutions and most importantly, your actions to resolve them.