November 19, 2021

Asking Situational and Behavioral Questions During Interviews

Sam Caucci

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The interview is one of the most important parts of the hiring process, so recruiters and hiring managers need to be able to implement the best interview strategies to make sure that they are hiring the right candidates for the job. After your interview you should be certain about whether or not a candidate is the right match. This is why it’s important to ask the right questions during the interview.

Why is it important to ask the right questions?

Your interview questions are important because the better they are, the better you will get to know your candidates and potential new hires. Many interviewers make the mistake that the candidate will take the lead and let them know why they’re great, but the interviewer will need to be more proactive than that. 

Even if you aren’t familiar with interviewing, you’ll most likely have some questions prepared already that are related to the role. However, you should also use situational and behavioral questions to get to know your candidates even better. 

What are situational interview questions?

Situational interview questions are designed to present your candidate with hypothetical situations where they are then asked how they would be handling the situation. For example, questions that start with “What would you do if…” These questions help you assess the candidate’s problem solving skills and get familiar with their thought process.

What are behavioral interview questions?

Behavioral interview questions are meant to ask your candidates to remember a past experience and to describe how they handled it. These types of questions can start with “Talk about a time when…”

Advantages of Situational Questions

Situational questions can push candidates to show how they can think outside of the box and handle any challenges that might come up in the role. Experienced interviewees will have prepared answers for the most common interview questions. But asking them situational questions will lead them into going more off-script and encourages more critical thinking on their end to start thinking about the situations they might encounter if they get the role. 

Asking these types of questions will give you an idea of how the candidates will be able to handle what’s involved with the role. But, on an even deeper level you will also get to know the things that they value or what they might overlook. Answering situational interview questions will give the candidate a chance to demonstrate their ability to make difficult decisions and how well they handle stress while showing off their communication skills. 

These are some examples of situational interview questions that you can ask your candidates:

  • How would you pitch our services/products to customers?
  • Imagine you have multiple different tasks, how would you prioritize them?
  • Tell me how you would handle an upset customer.
  • How would you deal with conflict between two employees?
  • What changes would you make if you were CEO of our company? 

Advantages of Behavioral Questions

Behavioral questions can help give you a better sense of what candidates have excelled or struggled within their previous roles. Behavioral interviewing is known to be one of the most accurate predictors of a candidate’s future performance on the job. Situational questions gave candidates the opportunity to craft an answer on what they would do in a specific situation, but behavioral questions will ask them to share their real-life experience.

Most interviewers who use behavioral questions think that it will represent how a worker will behave in their role in the future. And while that’s not wrong, these types of questions will also help you learn about and understand what personal issues the candidate is working through. For example, you can ask the candidate a mistake they made in the past and what they learned from the experience. 

Behavioral interviews can also be a good way to eliminate unconscious biases to find new talent, as they can help you avoid age discrimination since they won’t need a candidate to have years of work experience, rather they focus more on transferable skills and abilities. A candidate’s answers don’t need to only come from past work experiences, they can also use examples from volunteer work, extra-curricular activities or even their family life. 

Some examples of typical behavioral questions you can ask include:

  • Give an example of a goal that you reached and how you were able to achieve it.
  • Have you gone above and beyond in a role? If so, how?
  • Tell me about a time that you worked effectively under pressure.
  • Tell me about a time you weren’t happy with your work and why.

Both situational and behavioral interview questions are greatly effective when they are related to the role that you are hiring. The sample questions provided in this article are a great start, but you should use them as inspiration for coming up with your own role-related interview questions. 

To do that you should have a solid understanding of what the role requires so you can ask your candidates about real and imaginary scenarios that can help you get to know if the individual will be a good fit for the role. 

At 1Huddle, we offer cloud-based employee gamification software that can easily adapt to any employee recruitment or gamification strategy you want to implement at your workplace. You can customize your content for a seamless experience and all of your employees will be able to access their training anywhere, anytime and at the push of a button. You can use our gamification platform to measure their performance and make key decisions on where you should take your gamification strategy next. 

Do you want to learn more about how 1Huddle can help you level up your workforce? Start your free trial of 1Huddle today.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

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