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Tips on Answering Situational Interview Questions  RSS feed

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We recommend using the MECE Framework to answer Situational Interview Questions:

MECE stands for “Mutually Exclusive – Collectively Exhaustive”

It is a problem-solving approach that forces you to list down all possible options without double counting.

1.    The Problem Statement is written down first. You must choose your words carefully while writing this down to ensure that there is no ambiguity in understanding the problem.

2.    The Options to solve the problem are then listed down in a tree-like fashion. The options must not overlap (Mutually exclusive) and no option must be missed out (Collectively exhaustive)

3.    Once the tree is built, the pros and cons of each path in the tree is discussed until the optimal solution path is decided.

Illustration 1: What will you do if your team’s project is unlikely to be completed before the deadline?

Illustration 2: One of your team members is underperforming. What will you do?

Illustration 3: Your Manager has a negative impression of you. What will you do?

Using MECE Framework in a job interview:

1.    Before starting with solutions, focus on defining the Problem Statement using a clear, unambiguous sentence.

2.    DON’T just use the MECE Framework within your mind. Use it to communicate that your thought processes are actually structured. Draw the MECE Tree on paper or on whiteboard during the interview.

3.    Once you have drawn the MECE Tree, engage the interviewer on different solutions that are the leaf nodes in the MECE Tree.

ü Ask questions to get more context to see if this solution is applicable.

ü Discuss pros and cons of each solution with the Interviewer.

ü Think out aloud to ensure that you and the Interviewer are on the same page.

4.    If the Interviewer offers any hints, always take those hints and make corrections to the MECE structure as necessary.

5.    After you have arrived at the final solution, conclude with a quick summary. The summary should restate the problem statement, describe the pros and cons of various alternatives considered and finally state the solution that you would recommend.

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