How to Do Scenario Interviewing

Traditional interviews often contain questions that have obvious answers. This type of interview structure makes it difficult to accurately gauge the candidate in a meaningful way. In a scenario-based interview, the interviewer sets up a specific scenario designed to gain insight into how the candidate would behave in a specific situation. The answers are a better indication of that person's fit for the company. This type of interview tests the candidate's problem solving and analytical skills and helps the company form an opinion on what sort of employee the candidate would be.


    • 1

      Review copies of your company's traditional interview questions and the ideal employee profile if one exists. Most companies have a set of standard questions they like to ask applicants. Some companies may have an ideal employee profile where they list the personality traits and other qualities they would like to see in each employee.

    • 2

      Create the scenarios based on the information obtained in the previous step or based on your ideas of important interview questions. The purpose of the scenario is to elicit a response that reveals the candidate's ability to fulfill a certain aspect of the position. The website HR Matters gives an example of a traditional interview question to gauge a person's ability to "self-motivate" as: "Are you a self-motivated person?" Convert that to a scenario by describing a situation in which the person has certain tasks to perform without fixed deadlines and direct supervision, then ask the candidate how he would handle that situation and complete the tasks.

    • 3

      Review the scenarios to verify that the answers reveal the personality traits and other factors you need to gauge for each candidate. Edit any closed-ended questions that have solid or obvious yes or no type answers.

    • 4

      Conduct the interview. Explain the scenario-based interview process to the candidate and tell her that there are no right or wrong answers. Request that she simply explain her response to each situation. Take copious notes during the session.

    • 5

      Review the notes from each interview session. Develop an employee profile on each candidate based on their answers and choose the one which most closely identifies with the company's vision of the ideal employee.

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