The interviewer might ask hypothetical (what if) questions designed to test your ability to deal with job-related incidents. It is also common now for skilled interviewers to ask “behaviour description” questions. The purpose of these questions is to find out how you’ve dealt with certain kinds of situations in the past on the theory that the best predictor of future performance is recent past performance. For example, the interviewer might ask: “What has been one of the most stressful experiences you’ve had at work this past year. Tell us about the situation and how you handled it.”

In the process of responding to tough interview questions, the applicant reveals something about the kinds of situations that are stressful for him/her and the resources he/she uses to deal with them. The applicant also may illustrate his/her research, analytical, planning, communication and negotiation skills.

You can prepare by analyzing your work and life experiences and thinking of specific examples that give evidence of how you’ve used your skills. Use them to answer the following questions:


  1. Please give us an example of a work situation where you feel your coping skills were tested and tell us how you handled it
  2. Describe a situation where a fellow worker or supervisor had expectations of you, which you felt were unfair or unrealistic. How did you deal with these circumstances?
  3. Can you identify a work-related situation where you recognized a problem and initiated some action to correct the problem!
  1. Give us an example of some research you have done. How did you decide on specific resources! What were your findings and conclusions! What, if any, decision or recommendations did you make as a result of your research!
  2. Give us an example of a time when you conformed to a policy that you found disagreeable. What was your rationale!
  1. Can you describe a group situation where you were the only dissenter or person with an opposing viewpoint! How did you handle it! What were the results!
  2. Give us an example of a verbal presentation where you wanted/needed to influence the group to adopt your idea

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