What would you do if we asked you to stand up in the middle of this interview and do the hokey pokey? How would you respond if we told you that you had spinach in your teeth? What would you say if we told you that the entire company would be joining us for the interview?
- Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for work. …
- Tell me about a time you had to choose something else over doing a good job. …
- Describe a situation where you weren’t satisfied with your job. …
- Tell me about a time you reached a big goal at work.
10 SITUATIONAL Interview Questions and Answers (STAR Method included)
1. What would you do if you made a mistake that no one else noticed?
Would you address the error and risk slowing things down or ignore it to keep the project or task moving forward?
Employers may ask this question (or something similar) to assess your integrity and determine whether your ethics and beliefs align with the company. Consider using your response as an opportunity to share your commitment to honesty and quality work.
Example: “I’ve always found it’s better to take responsibility for your mistakes—and work to correct them—to learn from your errors. When I worked as a barista, a customer asked for a soy latte and I accidentally made their drink using whole milk. While there’s a chance they may never have known, I knew my error could affect their experience. I promptly told my manager, remade the drink and apologized to the customer for the wait. The customer was satisfied, and my manager thanked me for doing the right thing. From that point forward, I paid special attention to drink ingredients.”
#5. “How would you respond to a request for doing a task you’ve never done before?”
“I’m a very quick learner and like a challenge, so I would accept the task. If it’s something that I feel uncertain about, I would ask for guidance. In fact, a similar situation happened when I was working as a sales associate for Company B. We’d just expanded and opened another store, and my manager asked me if I wanted to be in charge of the new employees at the location. I’d never been in a management or leadership position before, but I knew how the store and business worked very well and I agreed. It took me the first few days to get adjusted to the team and my duties, but everything went smoothly after that. After two years I was offered the position of general manager at the store.”
With this question, the employees are looking for someone who isn’t afraid to say no to a challenge but also knows their limits and capabilities. This answer gives them just that.
“Well, It depends on the task, really. I wouldn’t accept something that’s too difficult for me and risk making a fool of myself, but sometimes that’s necessary in order to move up in my career so I’d probably say yes (once in a while, anyway).”
In this example we have quite the opposite: the of someone kind of lazy, who gets out of their comfort zone only when really necessary.
#7. “Tell me a situation where you took the initiative to fix a problem.”
“When I was first working in the service industry as a barista, the coffee shop was constantly having problems with the supplier. They were always bringing orders days late and in a lot of cases, with some products missing. The manager was barely present and didn’t mind that much, but I had to constantly tell customers that we were out of decaf or whatever product we were missing. I decided to contact the supplier to discuss the issues, but they were very unhelpful. So I did some research and found another supplier. They had glowing reviews and even had a larger variety of ingredients. I brought the proposition to my manager and laid out my case. He immediately agreed and we switched suppliers. It was a great relief for everybody.”
This answer gives the interviewers exactly what they are looking for and more. It shows a person who takes initiative, is a great problem-solver and has leadership skills as well.
“When I used to work for B Company, I found out one morning that the elevator to the offices had stopped working, so I immediately called maintenance. Since I’d arrived at work earlier than everybody else, by the time they got there the elevator was up and running again.”
Is this initiative to fix a problem or just common courtesy? You guessed it – it’s the latter.