When you’re interviewing for supply chain jobs, you try to prepare as best you can by reviewing your resume and practicing your responses to questions that might be asked. But what will happen if you walk in and the interviewer wants to ask you situational interview questions?

What’s a situational interview question?

  • There are two types: past experience questions and circumstantial questions.
  • For past experience questions, you’ll be asked to provide a negative situation from your professional experience, and give a detailed explanation of how you successfully resolved it.
  • For circumstantial questions, you’ll be given a specific set of circumstances or challenges and asked how you would create a positive outcome from them.

How do you prepare for these types of questions?

Interviewers use past experience questions because they believe your past behavior will predict your future performance on the job. The interviewer wants to know how you’ve tackled previous challenges.

They’ll ask you to tell them about a difficult situation you’ve faced in your past work history that you resolved successfully.

Think of some examples before the interview, review those situations, and analyze them. What steps did you take? What words did you use? You’ll want to give the interviewer very specific details and demonstrate your knowledge of what it takes to create a positive outcome.

Part of the reason employers use circumstantial questions is to gauge your ability to think on your feet. For these questions, the interviewer will create a challenge for you to solve. It may be a situation you actually have faced in your work history, or you may be required to respond to a hypothetical scenario.

This can be difficult if you’ve never dealt with such challenges before, but use the same structure: specific actions leading to specific results, handled professionally.

Here are some common situational interview questions that you may encounter:

You have a deadline approaching and fear you will be unable to meet it. What do you do?

Describe a situation where you were in disagreement with a co-worker and explain how you handled it.

A co-worker frequently leaves early when the boss is not around, and asks you to cover for him. What would you do?

Please describe a project that you led from start to finish and describe your strategy for seeing it through.

While situational interviews may be drastically different from your past interview experiences, they’re not impossible to conquer. It’s a chance for you to show how you handle real work situations, your problem-solving style and whether your priorities and goals match with the company’s.

If you feel you could use a little help in preparing for these types of questions, contact the supply chain recruiting professionals at ZDA. We can offer valuable insight on possible questions supply chain employers may ask and how to answer them.