GB Ep 88: How to Ask Situational Interview Questions

Giving a potential hire a situational interview lets you see whether or not they truly understand what they’re talking about, and bigger companies love to do them – especially for executive and hands-on roles.

Today I’m giving you a list of example situational interview questions that you can adapt to your own business type and the specific roles you need to hire for.

  • I’m going to give you some questions that I’d use in an example situational interview, and you can use them to come up with your own ideas for roles you’re hiring for. [01:54]
  • If you’re running a go-cart business, my first question is what type of business category would you place the go-cart business in? [02:07]
    • For example: recreational, fun, etc.
    • I wouldn’t give any hints, you would come up with the answer yourself.
  • What would your organizational chart look like? [02:32]
    • Who would be in it? Who’s running what?
  • How many people do you think you’d need in your city (minimum) to make this type of business work? [02:40]
    • This lets you dig into business aspects where you find out what percentage of people do go-carting per year.
    • There wouldn’t be any right or wrong response, it just shows that the person knows how to think and how they use their critical thinking skills.
  • How many employees would you need per business? Who would these employees be? [03:15]
    • Beyond the organizational chart, who else would you need? (cashiers, a janitor, someone at the finish line, etc.)
  • What would you do if one branch is successful and the others aren’t? How do you take the success of one branch and move it to the others? What’s your process for that? [03:35]
  • As the CEO or COO, how would you spend your time among the different franchises? [03:50]
  • Think about how to approach a situational interview from your company’s perspective and the positions you’re hiring for. [04:10]
    • For example, for developers, you’d do more testing than anything.
  • A lot of thought needs to go into preparing your situational interview questions. [04:33]
[spoiler title=’Transcript’ collapse_link=’true’]

Hello and welcome to another edition of Growth Bites.

Today we’re going to be talking about an example situational interview.

Those of you that have been involved with situational interviews know exactly how it is. Google is known for doing that. When you go to like a big company or even a like a financial service industry, when you’re talking about more executive roles and more hands on type of roles, you are going to bump into situational questions. And these are good questions that can really see if people know from a more foundational or technical point of view, if people really understand what they’re talking about and it really helps them get to the next level. Obviously, this still doesn’t replace the one week trial that you’ve heard me talk about in the past. But let me just give you an example right here.

So, an example situational interview, I’m just going to ask you. I’m just going to give you some questions right here and then you can take these questions as a starting point and really come up with some own ideas for your business specifically. So, let’s just say you are running a Go-Kart business. So, one of my first questions would be what type of business would you place your Go-Karting business in? Would it be recreational fun, whatever like basically, I’m not going to give you any hints but you’ll come up with the answers yourself. And then, I’ll ask you other questions. So, this is more like an operational type of interview just to see how your operational jobs are. Then, I’ll ask you, what would your organizational chart look like? Who would be in it, who’s running what exactly, why they are running these, why are these important. And then, I’ll also ask things like how many people do you think you would need in your city minimum to make this type of business work? And then, this starts to dig in to the business aspect where you might think off maybe a certain percentage of people do Go-Kart a year. You have to look on the statistics. You give some type of response that shows that there’s no right or wrong response but it shows that at least, you’re thinking about. It shows the interviewer how your critical thinking skills are. No right or wrong answer but it just shows how you kind of go to your progression.

And then, another question would be how many employees would you need for business and who would these employees be? You’ve done the org chart but who else would you need for business? Maybe, you need a cashier, you need a janitor, you need someone to run the karts, you need a person that kind of mud the finish line, maintenance person, things like that. Who do you need exactly in this business? And then, what would you do when you take the success of one branch? And you have a successful branch and the other one is just aren’t doing as well. How do you take the success of one branch and move it on to the others? What would be your process for doing that? Another question for you would be, as a CEO or the Chief Operating Office of this overall business, how would you spend your time among the different businesses that are spread out, the different franchises, if you want to call them that.

So, these are just some things to think about when you’re, this is like how you might approach like an operational interview. But then, you need to think about from your company perspective, how you would approach it? Maybe, it’s a marketing interview. Maybe, it’s a sales interview or a developer. For developer interview, you’re probably running more tests than anything. You’re properly evaluating their, old code and maybe, you are having them evaluate your code ask them on what they’ll do about it. You need to think about, when you do these situational, when you prepare these situational questions, a lot of thoughts have to go into them. They can’t just be half asked. They can’t just Google them. Every company is different. Just think about that and hopefully, feel free to repeat this if you need to and take some examples from it.

So, hope that helps.

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