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Examples of Hypothetical Interview Questions for Employment

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Interview questions often ask candidates to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses or identify a challenge they overcame in a previous job. In contrast, hypothetical interview questions can be hard to predict, and you might not be able to draw on previous experiences in order to generate an articulate response. Reviewing examples of hypothetical interview questions can help you prepare for an employment interview, but a general rule is to avoid presenting rash or unrealistic solutions to these imaginary situations.

Gauging Honesty Levels

Hypothetical interview questions for employment might attempt to measure how honest you might be as an employee, according to Red Star Resume. For example, you might be asked how you would handle a supervised employee who was caught stealing or if you could imagine a situation that would justify taking office supplies home for personal use. In your response, emphasize process rather than generating a specific solution. For example, you might state that you would follow company procedure for handling internal theft, which might involve reporting the incident to a supervisor or filling out an incident form. Use the opportunity to emphasize your own moral code and personal commitment to honesty.

Signs of Leadership

Other hypothetical interview questions examine your ability to lead other employees, according to Writing Commons. Examples of questions might include how you would motivate a team that missed an important deadline or what action you would take if chronic tardiness became a problem in the workplace. Responses to hypothetical leadership questions might focus on information gathering, generating solutions, and positive or negative consequences. Rather than making statements about lazy workers, state that you might speak with individuals privately to learn what factors might be contributing to the situation before taking an appropriate action, which might involve discipline.

Yes, Ma’am Questions

Although employers want to hire strong leaders, they also want to hire employees who can take orders or suggestions from superiors with a positive attitude. Examples of hypothetical questions that relate to a respectful attitude might include asking how you would handle conflict with a supervisor or when it might be appropriate to go over a manager’s head to seek a resolution to a problem. Your responses should emphasize respecting the company’s hierarchy, cooperation, collaboration, and conflict resolution rather than your own personal or professional pride.

Customer Care Philosophy

Using hypothetical interview questions, potential employers might try to gain insight into your methods of handling customer needs. For example, you might be asked how to handle a dissatisfied hotel guest or a client who has requested a major refund for services rendered. Don’t attempt to frame your answer as an “us-against-them” mentality that pitches company priorities against client preferences. Instead, emphasize your personal commitment to quality customer care and then state that you would first turn to existing company policies to guide any subsequent measures.


Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.

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