Situational Style Interviewing

June 28, 2017 by In Blog
Situational Style Interviewing

A common interview model that is used today is called Situational Style Interviewing! What is it? How can you use it as an interviewer or a candidate?

The hiring manager will put you into a situation or a business case, which is similar to the responsibilities you would do in your future job. This is a critical part of the interviewing process because it tests 2 things: your existing technical skills and your potential to perform this skill in the future. The way the hiring manager comes up with the situation is by going through the job description and picking out the key tasks and turning them into a question.

For example:

If you were interviewing for a job in HR, you might be asked:

  • If you had this job tomorrow, how would you recruit five new people?
  • Set up a succession planning model?
  • Conduct evaluations?
  • Establish a training plan?

Here are some questions to help you prepare for this in case you are put into a situational style interview:

“Imagine that you had this job tomorrow, how would you….”

  • Finance: consolidate the accounts, prepare year end closings, do tax planning, control the P&L? Prepare the billing process? Prepare the VAT? Issue invoices? Control the accounts receivables?
  • IT: support the networks and applications? Develop the business tools? Integrate our systems? Optimize the database? Manage the web applications? Secure the environment? Set up business continuity? Keep the system up and running? Support the end users? Evaluate new technologies to support our growing business?
  • Logistics: make the transport routes? Optimize the stock levels? Schedule the trucks? Set up the processes for export? Select a transport company? Establish KPI’s for your department?
  • Marketing: re-define our brand for the b2b market? Consumer market? Establish a marketing plan? Short-mid-and long term? Launch new service/product? Conduct market research? Identify new business partners/opportunities? Support/train sales force? Forecast potential business?
  • Sales: make sales calls? Build a pipeline? Qualify new customers? Manage existing accounts? Close new business?
  • Customer service: manage the customer expectations? Manage the company priorities? Cross-sell our services/products?

This model teaches you 2 things: 1) what they know already and 2) where they might have potential

If the candidate responds, “I don’t know, since I’ve never done that.” most likely, they would not have potential to do it. If a candidate responds, “I don’t know but this is how I would do it….” and gives a structured clear answer which is concrete and relevant, they could be considered for a job that they have never done in the past. And at least, they have come prepared.

Erica Elias is a certified business and career coach ( and has interviewed more than 6,000 people, with She is also an author and her books can be found on these links: and

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