With the reduced amount of in person interviews and jobs, we have seen a rise in situational based questioning in interviews. It makes sense – if you can’t pick up on some of the non-verbal cues or have the person physically in your office, it helps to understand how they handle certain situations.
These are great for both sides, if asked and answered correctly. There is no sense in an interviewer asking a QA Specialist how they would perform a QC Stability test. There is also no sense in an interviewee not being prepared to speak to their background and provide examples when asked these questions.
The best response I have found and still preach is the STAR Model. Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Basically, be prepared to tell a story that is relevant to the situation posed. What was going on, what did you need to accomplish, what did you implement, and what was the result? If you can paint a picture (concisely) and allow them to envision you in the role handling the task ahead, you can demonstrate you ability to perform the job.
As the candidate, pay close attention to the situational questions asked. Are these common problems you see in your environment? Cool, then you can step in, make an impact, and be successful. If you can’t answer the questions because you lack the experience or there are major red flags in the challenges the company is facing, you know it is a place that you will not be set up for success. Win/Win.
So be prepared with 5-6 stories or accomplishments that are relevant to the job when you are interviewing. And know if they aren’t relevant – something about the job, company, or opportunity may not be best for you.
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