Hypothetical questions starting ‘’what would you do if…’’ and followed by an imaginary, critical situation are to assess candidates’ analytical and communication skills. However, they are problematic because the answers are usually idealized. Therefore, instead of getting information about what people actually do, we receive the hypothetically perfect answer.
If you ask someone ‘’what would you do if you see someone is being robbed or brutally beaten up on the street?’’, all you hear will be the assumptions, idealized answers such as they would interfere or call the police. Nevertheless, these answers are not representing what these people would do in reality, they can freeze with fear or start running away to protect themselves.
Another issue on hypothetical questions is that it may make obvious for the interviewee to figure out what kind of answer is expected. Interviewee may give sufficient answers but they are usually far away from providing solid clues about the attitudes.
This is what makes hypothetical questions inadequate. Most of us know the right thing to do, but how many of us take the hit and actually do the right thing?