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Using Situational Answers During an Interview

While many job seekers spend the majority of their time preparing for questions that involve their past employers, academic history or day-to-day responsibilities, employers within the hospitality industry tend to look for specific examples of problem solving, conflict resolution and customer service from your career. As such, they’re bound to ask situational or even hypothetical questions during the interview process, as a means of identifying and targeting top talent.

Requirements of a Situational Answer

Apart from concrete achievements and hard facts or figures, a situational answer requires several qualities from the interviewee. First and foremost, it requires a high level of problem-solving expertise on your behalf. By asking a hypothetical or situational question, your interviewer is really trying to gauge your ability to think on your feet and react on the fly.

Next, situational answers also require a great deal of analytical prowess on your part. The ability to quickly analyze the question, review your past achievements and deliver a cohesive answer is an art that can only be mastered through practice. As such, you may want to rehearse the interview process with a friend, co-worker or even in front of a mirror. While this won’t prepare you for every possible situational question, it can help you prepare by reviewing your most recent and relevant accomplishments in the field.

Learning Experiences

One of the most effective strategies you can use when providing a situational answer, especially if it could be conceived as a shortcoming or potential downfall, is to describe how you’ve been able to learn from your past experiences.

Employers of today realize that nobody is perfect, so it’s crucial that you are able to illustrate how you’ve been able to rectify any prior mistakes or inefficiencies. If this was achieved through extracurricular training or development, make sure to mention that during the interview. Not only does this show motivation and initiative on your behalf, it is something that can usually be verified by a potential employer or hiring manager.

Difficult Situations

Describing how you’ve been able to overcome a complicated situation in a prior job, whether this pertains to a troublesome co-worker, a difficult task or an unfair manager, can also go a long way in demonstrating your self-motivation, commitment and persistence.

While you should take care to maintain professionalism when describing such situations, especially if it involves a former manager or supervisor, the ability to overcome adversity, complexity and difficulty in the workplace is a highly desirable trait in the hospitality industry today.

A Lack of Career Experience

Situational questions can be even more difficult when you have little or no experience in the field. If this is the case, mention it to the interviewer. You might still be able to answer their questions, however, by relying on your past experiences in school or life in general. If so, don’t hesitate to do so. This can go a long way when trying to make up for experience in the hospitality industry or trying to fill in gaps or periods of unemployment throughout your career.

Turn That Interview Into Your Next Job

There’s no denying the stress and worry of a job interview. However, the process doesn’t need to be so stressful. If you need help refining and developing your interview skills, or even if you need help securing an interview in the first place, contact the staffing professionals at RMG Staffing today!

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