My name is Emma, and in today's video, I am going to teach you about job interview questions;
specifically, we are going to talk about a type of job interview question called "a situational
"Situational" is quite a large word, and you know, it's nothing to be afraid of, if you
get this type of question.
What we are going to learn today is how to recognize a situational interview question,
and how to answer one.
And I'm going to share a whole bunch of tips on the best ways to answer these types of
All right, so to get started, I've shown some examples of a situational interview type of
So, let's read these together.
The first question: "You hear someone making a racist joke in your office.
What would you do?"
"You disagree with the way your supervisor says to solve a problem.
What would you do?"
"You have been placed in charge of a team for a new project.
What are your first steps to get the team going?"
So, I want you to think about these questions, and: What do they have in common?
If you said that these questions were talking about an imaginary situation or a hypothetical
situation, you're correct.
When we answer these types of questions, we're talking about something we would do if a situation
So, this is not based on our experiences; this is based on, you know, what we might
do if this situation happened to us.
So, again, there are many different types of interview questions; this is just one type
that you might get.
And these are just some examples; there are many more examples of situational interview
So, how do we know these questions are situational interview type questions?
Well, there's a couple of keywords which can really help you recognize and identify these
types of questions.
If you hear the word: "If"; if you hear the word "would", these are really good hints.
So, for example: "What would you do?"
That's a... right there, we know: "Okay: 'What would you do?'
it's a situational question."
Again: "What would you do?"
Another common clue or another way we can tell that a question is situational is they
often start with the word: "You", because they want you to imagine yourself in this
So, for example: "You hear someone making a racist joke in the office."
Or: "You have been placed in charge of a team for a new project."
This hasn't actually happened to you yet, but this is something that might happen to
you in the future at this job.
So, the interviewer wants to know: "If this happened, what would you do?"
Okay, so now what we're going to do is we're going to look at some more examples of situational
interview questions, and we're going to do a practice listening activity to help you
practice recognizing these types of questions.
Okay, so now that you know a little bit more about situational interview questions, let's
practice listening for them.
So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to say some different types of interview questions,
and I want you to decide: Are they situational or not?
Are they situational or something else?
So, I want you to take out a piece of paper and get your pen or pencil ready, and I want
you to make a picture on your paper that looks like this.
So you can write: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, a column for yes and a column for no.
And when... so, you can pause the video, and then when you're ready, you can unpause it
and we can begin.
So, now that you have your piece of paper and your pencil ready, and you've put this
on your paper, let's get started.
I'm going to say a question, and if it's situational, I want you to put a checkmark under "Yes";
if it's not situational, I want you to put a checkmark under "No".
And to help you with this, remember: Situational questions usually have keywords in them, like:
"If", "would", or they might begin with a sentence that starts with "You".
So, let's... let's practice.
Question number one: "What would you do if you knew your boss was absolutely wrong about
an important work-related issue?"
So, again, the question is: "What would you do if you knew your boss was absolutely wrong
about an important work-related issue?"
So, which one do you think?
Do you think it's situational or not situational?
This question is a situational question.
How do we know?
Well, I said: "What would you do?"
So this question is an imagination question.
You're not talking about your past experience; you're talking about: "If this happened, hypothetically,
I would do this."
So it hasn't happened; it's something you imagine in your head that you would do.
Question number two: "Tell me about a time when you made an unpopular decision at work.
Tell me about a time when you made an unpopular decision at work."
So, what do you think?
Is this a situational question?
This one is not a situational question.
This is a different type of interview question.
We didn't hear the words: "If", we didn't hear: "What would you do?" and we're not asking
you to imagine what you would do; we're actually asking you for a past experience, so this
is not a situational question.
Question number three: "If you found out an employee was stealing from the business, how
would you talk to this employee?
What would you say to this employee?"
So: "If you found out an employee was stealing from the business, what would you say to this
All right, so think about it.
Is it situational or not situational?
Well, we said the word: "would".
We said... and we also said the word: "If".
"If you found out an employee was stealing, how would you talk to the employee?"
So we used the words: "If" and "would", so, situational.
The next question: "Why do you want to work for our company?
Why do you want to work for our company?"
So, this question, is it situational?
No, it's not situational.
This, you're just talking about your reasons for wanting to work for a company.
You're not talking about... you're not really pretending or imagining a situation; you're
just talking about what you like about the company and why you want to work there.
And the last question: "Imagine you have a deadline and you are running out of time.
What would you do?"
So: "Imagine you have a deadline and you are running out of time.
What would you do?"
Okay, so I think you probably heard this word: "would".
"What would you do?"
So that, again: "Oh.
'What would you do?'
So, again, listening for keywords is very important during an interview because they
help you to decide what and how you're going to answer the question, and what the interviewer...
how the interviewer wants you to answer a question.
So, we've looked at some examples of situational interview questions, and there's many different
ones and many different types; now what we are going to do is we are going to practice
answering a situational question.
Okay, so we've learned about how to identify situational interview questions, so now let's
practice answering situational interview questions.
So, I have here an example of a situational interview question.
And, again, there's many different examples, and depending on your work, you might see
But imagine you're applying to be the leader or the supervisor at a company.
"You are the team leader for a new project.
What are your first steps to get the team going?"
So, again, this is an imaginary situation.
You haven't gotten the job yet, so this is more about what you would do in the future,
or like, if you could imagine this: What would you do?
So, how do we answer a question like this?
Well, you have to say, first off, what you would do; and then you can also, if you want,
talk about: Why would you do it?
You can give some reasons, if you want to; but the most important thing is to talk about
what you would do.
So, don't talk about past experiences, don't talk about, you know, what your friend Paul
would do - talk about what you would do in this situation.
And also very important: Be specific.
So, I have here two example answers, and I want you to think about: Which is the better
So: "You are the team leader for a new project.
What are your first steps to get the team going?"
First answer is: "I would make sure we work together."
And the second answer is: "Firstly, I would meet with my team and find out what people's
areas of expertise were.
Next, I would provide a clear timeline for the team and discuss our goals."
Which answer do you think is the better one?
In this case, the second answer is the better one.
Because, first of all, we gave a lot more detail; we were more specific.
And that's what's very important in these types of questions.
You want to give a couple of examples in your answer.
So we're giving multiple things we would do.
And if you want, you could talk about why you would do them.
Why do you think this is important?
For question number one: "I would make sure we work together", that's too short of an
You're not really giving much detail, and you're not really explaining: How would you
make sure you work together?
That's what they really want to see.
They want to see specific steps, like: What will you do, specifically?
So, again, these questions, a lot of students get really nervous about them; but if you
really take your time and you think about it, they're not that difficult once you actually
know what the interviewer is looking for.
So, be specific.
And a lot of the times you're pretty much either solving a problem, or you're talking
about maybe how you would make an ethical decision.
So, once you see a lot of these types of questions, you start to notice a pattern and they become
a lot less scary.
So, now what we're going to do is we're going to look at some common tips that can help
you with these questions.
So, how can you best answer a situational interview question?
Well, number one, which is probably one of the most important things to know, is you
really need to listen carefully to the question.
One of the biggest complaints interviewers have is that the person who's doing the interview
doesn't know what the question is, and answers a different question.
So you always want to answer the question the interviewer is asking you, so you must
listen very carefully.
And that's why it's so important to get used to recognizing situational questions, because
it helps you to understand what the interviewer is looking for in their answer.
Or in your answer.
So listen very carefully and answer what the interviewer asks you.
Now, for a lot of students or people who are learning English, this can be really hard
because, you know, listening is a tough skill.
It's difficult sometimes to listen, especially when it's not your own language.
So, what you can always do is: If the interviewer asks you a question and you just have no idea
what the interviewer asked, ask them to repeat it.
You can say: "I'm sorry.
I didn't catch that.
Could you please repeat the question?"
This is better than just, you know, answering something else.
Now, of course, you don't want to say this for every question in the interview.
Ideally, that... you know, that would not be good, but every once in a while, if you
don't understand the question, you can ask them to repeat the question.
And, again, listen for the keywords.
If you hear the word: "If", "What would you do?", "You are the, you know, head of a newspaper
company", anything like this - you know it's a situational type question, so you know how
My next tip is about grammar.
Situational questions are imaginary questions; they're hypothetical questions; they're not
based in the past; they're more based in possibly the future, but you know, we don't know if
this will happen - so your answer often will have "would" in it.
So, if somebody says to you: "What would you do if, you know, someone in your company was
Your answer could start with: "I would", and then you have a verb.
So, for example: "If someone in my company was stealing, I would report them to, you
know, human resources."
Or: "I would... you know, I would talk to them and maybe find out more information.
So, the key here is: Grammar - we often use "I would" in our answer to these questions.
So, here's another example, you know: -"If you had a lot of projects all at the same
time, what would you do?"
-"I would complete the hardest project first."
Or: "I would start with the easiest project to get the ball rolling."
So, a lot of the times this is the type of grammar we're using here.
But, that being said, the most important thing is not usually... like, English is important,
but your ideas are what's the most important thing.
So if your English is not perfect, it's okay.
My English is not perfect; nobody's English is perfect.
So, it's okay if you make some English mistakes.
The most important thing is that you have good ideas.
So, try your best with your English, but again, the ideas are what's the most important thing.
These can really help organize your answer.
A lot of the times for situational questions, you want to give a couple of examples of what
you would do.
So, this can be a reminder to you.
"First of all, I would", blah, blah, blah.
"Secondly, I would do this.
Finally, I would do this because of this."
So we often use these to organize our answers.
You can also use: "Next... then... after that... first of all..."
So, these... there are many different organizers, but they really help the listener to understand
your ideas more clearly.
Another tip, and this is also a very important tip: Prepare before the interview.
One of the most common mistakes I see for both students... for people who are learning
English and for people who are not learning English, who speak English as their first
language, is that they don't prepare for interviews.
They go to the interview.
They're very happy they have an interview, but they don't do any preparation, so then
they get these types of questions and they don't know how to answer them, and they get
really stressed out and they panic, and you know, they answer a different question maybe
because they don't know what they should say.
If you prepare and if you practice, you're going to do a lot better on your interview
and you're going to feel more confident during your interview.
So it's very important to prepare before the interview.
You know, they... they want to know specifically what you would do.
So, think about it, think carefully, and then say something specific that you would do.
You know, how would you deal with a co-worker who, you know, wasn't nice to customers?
How would you deal with a boss who was very difficult?
What specifically would you do?
Number seven is, again, a very important tip: Practice makes perfect.
When you first start doing situational interview questions, they can be very difficult; but
the more you practice, the easier they get.
So, you know, they become very clear; you can start to think about different situations.
Practice makes perfect, and it's very important for situational interview questions to practice,
So, how can you practice?
Oh, I thought you'd never ask.
There are many ways to practice.
We have a lot of resources at our... at our website, www.engvid.com.
You can find the link to some of these resources in our description.
We have resources for situational interview questions where you can actually see more
examples, and you can use that to practice maybe with a friend or your family, or you
know, your dog.
So, you can... maybe your dog's not the best partner, but yes, you can practice these types
We have resources for other type of interview questions; there are behavioural interview
questions, there are standard interview questions.
We have a lot of resources on the different types of interview questions, so I highly
recommend you practice these before your interview, and you think about your experiences and your
You can also take our quiz.
At www.engvid.com, we have a quiz on the video that you've just watched.
You can, you know, practice more and practice even the English that you might have learned
from this video.
You can also subscribe to my channel; I have a lot of videos on vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation,
all sorts of different things, and that can also help you prepare for your interview.
So, thank you so much for watching this video.
Oh, okay, and I already talked about other types of questions - good.
Thank you so much for watching this video.
I hope you've enjoyed it.
And until next time, take care.