The Top 7 Scenario Type Interview Questions

Tuesday, 29. March 2011

A few weeks back we posted answers to the top 10 ‘about you’ questions and asked you to provide us with some scenario type questions for our next issue. We got quite a few responses on our twitter account and have narrowed them down to the following 7 ‘Tell Me A Time When’ questions.

So without further adieu, tell me about a time when…

1. …you had to deal with a problem you had with a supervisor.

There are a couple of different schools of thought on this question. It could be a trick question where the interviewer wants to see if you will speak ill of your boss. The best way to answer this question is to remain positive and always accentuate the outcome rather than the trivial details. In other words talk about the positive steps you and your boss took to resolve the problem together, not what they did to annoy you.

2. …you had to work under pressure.

If you are asked this question by the interviewer it is easy to assume that the position you are applying for deals with a certain amount of stress. If possible provide real world examples that relate to the job, but if you don’t have any you can also provide examples from activities that involved deadlines or pressure. It is good to provide a couple of examples where you can show how you were able to rise to the occasion and that you didn’t mind the stress.

3. …you made a suggestion and how it was implemented.

If you can, try to come up with an example of a suggestion you made that was implemented in a field that is related to the type of work you are applying. If you don’t have one, try brainstorming for a really good example of a suggestion that you made that was considered successful and is still implemented today.

4. …you had to plan and coordinate a project from start to finish.

Provide the interviewer with specific examples of the project where you had to take responsibility of certain elements, such as being the chair of a committee, hand picking the team to work on the project, managing and motivating the team and coming up with the resolution, which should always be better than expected results and an outcome where superiors commended you on your efforts. If possible try to relate the example to the type of work you are applying for.

5. …you helped resolve a dispute between others.

Just like the question about dealing with a problem with your boss, stay away from the specific details of the dispute and concentrate on how you resolved the issue with each party being happy in the end.

6. …you had to take initiative.

Most companies typically aren’t looking for a drone; they are looking for a proactive, results-oriented person who doesn’t have to be told what to do. When asked this question supply the interviewer with multiple examples describing your ability to take initiative. Be careful with your choice of example, as no one wants a loose cannon in their company. So make sure you provide an example that shows you can take initiative but still follow the policy and procedures set forth by the company.

7. …you had the most fun on the job.

Try to stay away from personal stories where your work ethic could be in question. Think about some real work examples where you had to work on a project or within a team to accomplish something for the company. Bonus points if you led the team or came up with the idea, especially if it was successful, both for the company and the people involved.

In the next issue of ResumeMag we will discuss the top opinion type questions, as recommended by you. So feel free to leave a comment, send us an email or a message on twitter and we’ll add your question to the list.

Until then, happy job hunting,


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