How to prepare for a situational interview?

While you may not know the exact situational questions an employer will ask, you can use something called the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to prepare thoughtful, thorough speaking points. Using this method helps you fully address the interviewer’s question in a cohesive story, highlighting a clear obstacle and resolution.

First, take some time to identify specific challenges you’ve faced in your career. If you’re entering the job market for the first time, consider obstacles you experienced in school or extracurricular activities such as team sports. Then, break down each experience using the STAR method:


Explain the context of the situation you experienced, including relevant details.

Example: “In my previous role as a customer service manager for a retailer, my team was often overwhelmed with calls and emails during the busy holiday season. However, we didn’t have the budget to hire seasonal help.”


Discuss your responsibilities or your role in the situation.

Example: “I was responsible for making sure the customer service team was able to resolve customer questions and concerns quickly and effectively and to ensure customers were always fully satisfied with their experience.”


Describe how you overcame the challenge or faced the situation.

Example: “To help ease the workload, I created a more condensed version of our phone script and developed several additional email templates to help my team address customers needs faster.”


Share the outcome you achieved through your actions, and be as specific as possible.

Example: “By creating better resources, I was able to help increase response time 60 percent and increase customer satisfaction rates by more than 25 percent year-over-year.”