How to Answer Scenario Interview Questions


Scenario-based questions can be scary, in that they usually require some amount of improvisation (which is not everyone’s forte!) However if you’re going for jobs in retail or customer service – or any vocation where you interact with the general public –  the ability to think and act quickly is a coveted one. But don’t worry, once you get the formula down, it becomes almost like second nature.

Sell me this pen [coffee, book, etc]

To tackle the question to the best of your ability, the key is to first split this question into four parts (as follows):

  • Gather information on buyer
  • Respond to that information
  • How you deliver that information
  • Close the deal

Things to avoid:

  • Not gathering enough information on the buyer
  • Not listening to their needs
  • Selling for the wrong reason
  • Forcing the sell

Another common trend in scenario questions refers to behaviour, to gauge how you’d respond in an emotional and professional manner to certain obstacles. These types of questions also tend to focus on how you’d work under time constraints, or if an issue were to arise with a colleague. Since this is a key area of questioning, be sure you prepare by coming up with examples of a time you’ve had to overcome a problem, or when you went above and beyond what was expected of you.

Finally, when asked these hypotheticals, make sure you back-up your reasoning with work-relevant examples, and that you can relate them back to your potential role.

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