Role Plays in Job Interviews

Here is a topic that your often find a lot of information on that is how to answer role-plays in job interviews. I decided to include a few points about how to succeed in role-plays in your job interview. The reason why I decided at this topic is because increasingly more, more employers are asking job applicants to role-play a specific scenario in order to assess their skill. Role-plays are used in job interviews for positions such as law enforcement, customer service, hospitality, customs and border services, and the list keeps on growing.

Before going further, it’s important to note that role-plays skills such as customer service, conflict resolution, and so forth are often taught in workshops that span anywhere from a full day to several weeks. The goal of this article is provide you a few helpful tips so that if you are asked to role-play scenario as a part of your job interview, you will be better prepared.

The Goal Of Role Play In A Job Interview.

Employers are increasingly discovering that traditional job interview questions alone are not sufficient to actually assess how well a job applicant will fit into their organization. Whereas traditional job interview questions will ask you, “tell me how you would handle situation like this?” A role-play scenario would ask you demonstrate the skill in question within a specific scenario. In customer service job interviews you might be asked to role-play a scenario with an angry customer. Or perhaps in a sales job interview, you might be asked to role-play scenario where you had to sell something to the hiring manager. Your success in a job interview role-play will go a long way in convincing the hiring manager that you have the skills they need.

Use Active Listening.

Employers want to know that you have people skills that are strong interpersonal skills when dealing with others. One great technique that you can use to demonstrate your listening skills is to use active listening in your job interview answer. Active listening is when you relate back what you heard to the person that you are speaking with twin sure that you understood correctly. An active listening statement might sound like, “so if I understand you correctly, this is the second time you had to bring this defect the phone back to the store and you are asking for a tote full refund.” By using active listening in your role-play,  even if the answer you give is not correct, you will get credit for using the right techniques in coming up with your answer.

Empathy In Role-Plays.

Empathy is the ability to take another person’s perspective, and get a sense of what they’re feeling. This is very much related to the idea of emotional intelligence or EQ. It is very important that you show empathy during your job interview role-plays, since this demonstrates your sensitivity and interpersonal skills to the employer. Showing empathy within an active listening statement might sound something like, “I sense how frustrated you are because this is the second time you had to bring this defective phone back to the store. You really prefer a working phone, but you have lost confidence in this product and that is why you want to fully fund”.

Ask Questions.

Role-plays scenarios typically leave out specific facts so that the answer is not so easy and would leave room for the candidate to reason. For example, back to the customer service role-play example, you might not be told whether or not the customer had a bill or receipt, how long ago they purchased the product, the condition of the product upon return, and so forth. As such, it is very important for you to ask questions to gather more information to make a sound judgment. By asking common sense questions, you demonstrate to the employer that you cannot jump to conclusions and that you gather facts in order to make decisions. If you do not know what questions asked, use the 5W’s and how: who, what, where, when, why and how. For example, a good question might be, “if you had it your way, how would you like to see this resolved?”

Would you lie for the company?

What can you do for us that other candidates can't?

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Bonus Questions


  • Sometimes we have to go against traditions or policies to accomplish a goal. Describe a time when this has happened to you.
  • Tell me about accomplishments of which you are the most proud. What challenging experiences have you had?
  • Have you taken any sales training courses? Which courses were most useful? Least useful?

Daily Interview Tip

If your response is good and you see positive reaction such as a nod or smile, stop answering. Many applicants ruin a perfectly good answer by continuing. It's hard to overturn a negative first impression so it's important to start off the interview strong. When given a chance to ask a question if you do not ask a question, it sends the wrong signals--that you're not really interested in the organization, don't know what's important to you in an employee/employer relationship, or lack confidence and assertiveness.