How to Format Interview Questions to Students

By now, you are ready for students to enter the interview phase. You have each of your interviewers prepared to asses a different skill and now its important to think about HOW you’ll phrase your questions. These are as important as WHAT you ask, because it will dictate how the student answers.

Behavioral Interview Questions

Definition: uses past performance to indicate future behavior. This forces students to recall examples quickly, tests their ability to articulate a situation in a clear manner, and draw parallels between the situation and your question.

How to assess an answer: it should be no longer than 2 minutes in length, and be structured with a beginning (setting the scene), middle (what the challenges were and how the student overcame them), and end (what was the result). If you are able to walk away from the interview and recount this story to a colleague, then the student answered it well.

What it assesses: a student’s ability to articulate a situation clearly and determine what facts are most important. This is imperative for an employee, especially in a work conflict when they are escalating a situation to you.

Situational Interview Questions

Definition: Posing a specific situation/ problem and asking students what would they do in that situation

How to assess an answer: Did the student provide detail/ reasoning about why they answered the way they did? Did they ask follow-up questions to understand the situation prior to answering?

What it assesses: Problem-solving

Technical Interview Questions

Definition: These are not just for engineering/ finance students. This can be any question that asks a student HOW they do something.

How to assess the answer: Was the student able to provide clear steps/ instructions as to how they go about completing that task? If you were unfamiliar with the task, would you have understood what it entailed based on their answer?

What it assesses: Ability to define a project and assign/ delegate tasks. This is especially important for jobs that require the student to explain what the follow-up/ next steps are for a customer or colleague

When to Use What?

As a general rule, we advise most of your questions be behavioral or technical in nature. Think about how you would answer the difference between this behavioral and situational interview question: “What WOULD you do if you saw a homeless person on the street who looked ill” vs “What DID you do when you saw a homeless person on the street?” The behavioral question will get you a more authentic answer, and then you can ask follow-up questions about what they would have done differently (self-reflection). In the situational question, you’ll get an answer that is built more around the ideal than the real.

Published by BYLT Consulting

BYLT Consulting is a strategic campus recruiting firm that works with clients to develop effective campus recruiting solutions, including on-campus hiring, internship and full time program design, execution and management. For any questions, please reach out to


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Felicia Fleitman

Over 10 years of recruiting experience working in a variety of industries, including law, CPG and IT. Felicia spent several years focused on summer associate program strategy and execution for Big Law, before moving to agencies where she worked closely with company founders to help them identity and hire strategic leaders for their teams.