Situational Interview

Definition

The term situational interview is used to describe a technique that asks a job applicant to explain how they behaved in the past under a variety of circumstances or workplace scenarios.  A situational interview can also involve problem-solving questions, to evaluate the applicant's ability to think logically or creatively.

Explanation

Also referred to as behavioral interviews, a situational interview is used by recruiters and hiring managers as part of the job applicant evaluation process.  This technique is founded on the theory that job applicants who have successfully handled certain situations in the past will do so again in the future.

There are several sub-techniques that can be employed too.  For example, a situational interview can involve describing a scenario to the applicant, and asking them to describe how they would handle the problem if they were in charge.

Another form of situational interview questions asks the applicant to describe how they handled a condition in the past.  A scenario described at the interview could be something like:

Describe a time when you were faced with an approaching deadline, and there did not appear to be enough time to complete the work.

Finally, this term can also be used to understand the job applicant's problem solving capability.  For example, the applicant might be asked to figure out the number of gasoline stations in New York City.

Related Terms

job interview, screening interview, phone interview, panel interview, stress interviewexit interview, case interview, illegal interview questions, informational interview, open interview, second interview, stay interview, STAR interview