Interview Content (Types of Questions)

Situational Interview: A series of job related questions focus on how the candidate would behave in a given situation.

Behavioral interviews: A Series of job related questions that focus on how the candidate reacted to actual situations in the past.

We can also classify interviews based on the content or the types of questions they contain. In a situational interview, you ask the candidate what his or her behavior would be in a given situation. For example you might ask supervisory candidate how he or she would act in response to a subordinate coming to work late three days in a row we’ll see that often, the best interviews are both structured and situational questions and answers. In such a structured situational interview, you might evaluate the applicant on say his or her choice between letting the persistently late subordinate off with a warning versus suspending the subordinate for a week.

Whereas situational interviews ask interviewees to describe how they would react to a hypothetical situation today or tomorrow, behavioral interviews ask interviewees to describe how they reacted to actual situations in the past. For example, when Citizen’s baking Corporation in Flint, Michigan, found that 31 of the 50 people in its call center quit in one year, Cynthia Wilson, the center’s head, switched to behavioral interviews. Many of those who, left did so because they didn’t enjoy fielding questions from occasionally irate clients. So Wilson no longer tries to predict how candidates will act based on asking them if they want to work with angry clients. Instead, she asks behavioral questions like, tell me about a time you were speaking with an irate person and how you turned the situation around. Wilson says this makes it much harder to fool the interviewer and indeed only four people left her center in the following year.

Situational questions start with phrases such as, suppose you were faced with the following situation. What would you do? Behavioral questions might start with a phrase like can you of a time when .. What did you do?

Behavioral or situational interviews can produced a lot of tension. It’s pretty intense said one applicant for a consultant’s job with Accenture, the consulting firm, you can pretty much fake one or two answers, but the third time they come back to it, you pretty much can’t. You’re pulling from real life, and you’re nervous. [The interviewer] asked how I would prepare for something important. He came back to that again and again to make sure what I said was true.

Job related interview: A series of job related questions that focus on relevant past job related behaviors.

Stress interviews: An interview in which the applicant is made uncomfortable by a series of often rude questions. This technique helps identify hypersensitive applicants and those with low or high stress tolerance.

In a job related interview, the interviewer tries to deduce what the applicant’s on the job performance will be based on his or her answers to questions about relevant past experiences. The questions here don’t revolve around hypothetical or actual situations or scenarios. Instead, the interviewer asks job related questions (such as which course did you like best in business school?) The aim is not draw conclusion about, say the candidate’s ability to handle the financial aspects of the jobs to be filled.

In a stress interview, the interviewer seeks to make the applicant uncomfortable with the occasionally rude questions. The aim is supposedly to spot sensitive applicants and those with low (or high) stress tolerance. The interviewer might first probe for weaknesses in the applicant’s background, such as a job that the applicant left under questionable circumstances. The interviewer then zeroes in on the weaknesses, hoping to get the candidates to lose his or her composure. Thus, a candidate for customer relations manager who obligingly mentions having had four jobs in the past two years might be told that frequent job changes reflect irresponsible and immature behavior. If the applicant then responds with a reasonable explanations of why the job changes ere necessary the interviewer might pursue another topic On the other hand, if the formerly tranquil applicant reacts explosively with anger and disbelief the interviewer might deduce that the person has a low tolerance for stress. —

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