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Be Prepared for these Types of Interview Questions

woman sitting in interview with 2 hiring managers

Getting Ready for your Next Interview?


You're feeling confident. You've reviewed your resume, practiced your introduction, searched for common interview questions, and prepared your answers.

The interview starts and when the interviewer says, "Tell me about a time you disagreed with a colleague," you are ready to go and launch straight into an epic story, certain to awe and inspire all who are in earshot.

Or… maybe not. Don't panic. The most important thing to remember is to be honest, conversational, and be YOU. Be ready for three of the most popular types of interview questions:

  1. Behavioral
  2. Situational
  3. Technical

Behavioral Interview Questions

Interviewers often ask behavioral questions to evaluate and predict the potential performance of a candidate by learning how they conduct themselves in previous employment situations. They issue prompts that ask you to provide a real-life example of how you handled a certain kind of situation at work in the past.

In answering these questions, you want to remember to use personal pronouns: "I, me, and my" because you want to highlight your responsibilities. Hiring managers don't want to know how your current team handles things, they want to know how you can accomplish tasks.

Common questions include:

"Tell me a time you dealt with …"

"Tell me about a time when you leveraged …"

"Talk to me how you dealt with an uncomfortable situation with a work colleague."

You can answer these using the STAR Method. STAR stands for:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

This will set the scene, explain the situation, identify your task and responsibility, and describe the action you took and the results. It's helpful because it provides a simple framework for helping you tell a meaningful story about a previous work experience. So, let's break it down.

Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.

"In my previous sales role, I was put in charge of the transfer to an entirely new  CRM system—on top of handling my daily sales calls and responsibilities."

Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.

"The goal was to have the migration to the new CRM database completed by the third quarter, without letting any of my own sales numbers slip below my targets."

Action: Explain the steps you took to address it.

"To do that, I had to be wary of time management. So, I blocked off an hour each to dedicate solely to the CRM migration. Doing this gave me enough time to chip away at that project while still handling my normal tasks."

Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.

"As a result, the transfer was completed two weeks ahead of the deadline, and I finished the quarter 10% ahead of my sales goal."

Too many candidates skip over this crucial, final part of their response. They don't  clarify how their action made an impact—the result (and most vital element of the story.)

Remember, interviewers not only care about what you did, but they also want to know why it mattered. Make sure you emphasize the results you achieved and quantify them when you can. Numbers make a significant impact.

Your Response (Result): "As a result of those additions to our email strategy, I was able to increase our subscriber list from 25,000 subscribers to 40,000 subscribers in 3 months—which exceeded our goal by 20%."

Situational Interview Questions

You may be asked situational-type questions that examine and evaluate your critical thinking and decision-making skills during an interview.

These are in-depth, hypothetical questions that can help assess your critical thinking skills, creativity, and how you may respond to potential challenges at work. These questions usually begin with, "How would you handle XYZ if you…?" or "What would you do if…?"

To answer these, you can again implement the STAR method and talk about how you've experienced a similar scenario and how it relates to the hypothetical situation. Explain what happened, describe the challenge, outline the action you took to remedy the problem, and finally talk about the results.

Technical Interview Questions

In today's world, it's crucial for an interviewer to assess your technical proficiency. During your interview, the potential employer may assess your comprehension, aptitude, and skills as they relate to the job at hand. You can best answer these questions in one of three ways:

  1. You have used the technology in question before. Explain how, when, and where you've used it in your job.
  2. You have not used the technology but used similar technologies. Explain how they are comparable and how you use or have used them in your career.
  3. You have not used the technology before but you are familiar with it. Explain your willingness to learn and highlight how you've learned a new technology in the past rather quickly and how you accomplished it.

Ultimately, when it comes to answering interview questions, practice makes permanent. So, when it comes to all interviews, have some stories prepared and rehearse. You'll sound natural and conversational in no time.

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