How do I answer “Hypothetically” interview questions?

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By RobertBass

Hypothetically, interview questions can be the most difficult to answer because they can vary widely and, unlike “what is your greatest strength,” it can be hard to plan discrete answers ahead of time.

These types of questions are crucial for companies who want to understand how you think and how you approach work situations. These questions, unlike questions about your past experiences, give a glimpse into your potential in a company setting.

Types of Hypothetically-Asked Questions

There are three types of Hypothetically questions. Each type has a different focus that the interviewer is trying to test.

Asking job-related questions. They might ask project managers how they would deal with losing key members of their team.

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  • Questions to help you understand your mind. This category covers common topics such as ethics, leadership, and conflict resolution. An interviewer might ask a sales representative how they would deal with a client who is unhappy.
  • Questions to assess creativity and critical thinking skills. A Google interview reveals that “You have a colony of Mars with which you want to communicate.” How can you create a communication system with them?
  • There are a few common techniques that you can use to show confidence and give compelling answers to all Hypothetically interview questions.
  • Take a moment to reflect and then clarify

Candidates often jump straight into answering a question to avoid awkward silences and get to the point quickly. Candidates often respond to questions in this way, which can lead to a less structured and focused answer.

Instead, take some time to think through the question before you move into answering mode. This will show the interviewer that you are thoughtful and taking time to think about the question. A pause can also help you exude confidence. This is a technique that powerful speakers use to show poise and gravitas. This pause can also help you organize your thoughts, which will make it easier for the interviewer to follow your thoughts. An organized, slow answer is always better than an unstructured, quick answer.

This is not only a time to pause but also a chance to hypothetically ask some clarifying questions that will push your thinking and help you find the right solution.

  • Hypothetically Externalize your Thinking

Interviewers can use Hypothetically questions to get a better idea of how you think. They can see your approach to problems and make assumptions. It is important to demonstrate HOW you approach the question, rather than what your answer is. Interviewers will benefit from you taking the time to explain your thinking to them. This also allows you to get a sense of how you would work together as they respond to your feedback. This helps the interview transition from a question and answer format to one that is more conversational.

  • Structure along big Themes

It will be easier for interviewers to understand your thoughts and help you consider other themes. Instead of listing numerous ideas and making a laundry list, for example, when you are asked “How would the iPhone be improved?” you might group them into a hardware – functionality, aesthetics and software, and b) software OS and apps, and c) the developer ecosystem. This technique helps you to think of related ideas within each category, and reduces the cognitive overhead that interviewers would have in trying to interpret many different ideas.