In the movie 3 Idiots, the character development of Raju Rastogi (played by Sharman Joshi) is interesting. Toward the end of the movie, Rastogi appears for a job interview in his wheel-chair. His straightforward answers and brutal honesty take the panel by surprise. They want to offer him the position if he’s willing to change his attitude and be more diplomatic while interacting with clients.

The potential employers are painting a hypothetical situation for Rastogi. Situational questions are quite common in interviews as organizations want to gauge whether you’re a good fit. Read on to explore the definition of a situational interview and effective ways to answer situational questions.


  1. What Is A Situational Interview?

  2. How To Prepare For A Situational Interview

What Is A Situational Interview?

It’s no secret that every employer, irrespective of industry and job listing, refers to a list of frequently asked questions during the hiring process. While it’s useful to get acquainted with the list, a successful job-seeker will also prepare for the type of interview expected. There are various types of interviews such as behavioral, case-study, competency and situational.

A situational interview refers to the process where employers ask candidates about their response to a particular situation they may face on the job. In other words, individuals have to explain how they would solve a problem in the most efficient manner. Situational interview questions are designed in such a way that employers can assess someone’s problem-solving skills and ability to manage difficult circumstances.

People often confuse situational questions with behavioral ones. The latter often begins with ‘tell me about a time when…’ Understand the difference between the two before you begin preparing for your interview questions.

Let’s look at the 10 most popular situational interview questions you can prepare for.

  • How would you handle a situation where you had to work closely with someone you didn’t like?

  • Imagine you are about to complete a project but the priorities change suddenly. How will you handle it?

  • You’re about to submit your project when you realize that you made a mistake. What will you do in that situation?

  • How will you react to a situation where your team disagrees with your decision?

  • How will you handle it if one of your team members isn’t meeting your expectations?

  • Your manager or coworker criticizes your work. How will you manage this situation?

  • How will you approach a task you’ve never done before?

  • Tell me how would you handle communicating with an aggressive client or customer?

  • You’re working on an urgent task but your manager asks you to take up another important task. How will you prioritize?

  • How will you handle it if you weren’t satisfied with your role or job?

How To Prepare For A Situational Interview

Situational interview questions and answers focus on how you’ll handle real-life scenarios by relating to similar situations in the past. You get a chance at highlighting your professional experience, personal strengths and self-management skills. The most effective way to navigate situation interview questions and answers is to use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) Framework. It will help you answer situational questions in a cohesive manner, articulating the obstacle and resolution with clarity. Let’s look at the STAR framework in greater detail and see how you can identify specific challenges.


  1. Situation

Before you talk about solving a problem, take some time and provide context for the situation you experienced. Include relevant details that will help you describe the situation.

  1. Task

Talk about your role and responsibilities or the end goal in the situation. This is where you discuss what went wrong and what you were supposed to do.

  1. Action

This is the most crucial step in answering any type of situational questions. You describe how you faced the situation and the ways in which you overcame the setbacks. The solution highlights your problem-solving skills.

  1. Result

The final step is sharing what you achieved and how it helped the situation. When sharing the outcome of your actions, be as specific as possible.

Preparation is key to improving your chance of getting hired. You have a competitive advantage over other applicants when you project confidence in the way you tell a story. Harappa Education’s Ace The Interview course will help you stay ahead of the game by equipping you with relevant tips, tricks and frameworks. Power-packed modules, examples and practice exercises will teach you about the STAR Framework in greater detail. Deliver ideas with precision and stand out with your stories!

Explore topics such as General HR Interview QuestionsBehavioral Interview Questions to Prepare for, Top Telephone Interview Questions & How to Prepare for Mock Interview from Harappa Diaries and crack your next interview.

Related articles

Discover more from Harappa with a selection of trending blogs on the latest topics in online learning and career transformation