What’s a behavioral interview? It is an interview where the questions asked require the candidate to share examples of specific situations they were in and had to use certain skills to get the job done. Basically, it is how you prove that your past work ensures you are capable of doing the same for your new potential employer.
Behavioral interview questions force the candidate to go past the generic answer and to rely on their personal history. This way, the hiring manager can be certain they’re bringing on the best candidate for the job. And if you’re on the receiving end, you want to be prepared for anything so that you can stand out from the rest of the competition.
What is the best way to tackle behavioral interview questions?
- Take your time. Don’t hesitate to take a brief moment before you answer the question. Feel free to take a breath, a sip of water, look at your feet, or even just pause. This allows you time to calm your nerves and to think of an appropriate answer to the question.
- Prepare ahead of time. Now, this is a no-brainer. Be sure to review the most common behavioral interview questions (listed below) ahead of time so that you can practice your answers. Why should you do this? Because it ensures that you will already have a handful of answers ready for behavioral interview questions and you won’t be caught off guard, racking your brain and appearing unprepared.
- Use the STAR Technique. When answering any questions, be sure to use the STAR technique. When you complete each of the four steps, you will be able to provide a thorough answer and will avoid getting off topic.
- (S) Situation. Describe the situation when and where the situation took place.
- (T) Task. Describe the task you were required to complete. Include any problems you solved if they arose during this time.
- (A) Action. Explain what action(s) you took to complete the task or t0 solve the problem at hand.
- (R) Results. Explain the result of your action(s) and focus on how your action(s) brought about this success.
- Be Positive. Usually, you are required to focus on a problem or a failure that you have experienced at work during behavioral interview questions. Therefore, be sure to describe the problem or issue that you encountered, but be sure not to focus on the negative too much. Instead, you should quickly shift to describing how you solved the problem and what the positive outcome was.
What are some common behavioral interview questions?
- Give an example, in your career, when you used logic to solve a problem.
- Give an example, in your career, of a goal you reached and how you achieved it.
- Give an example, in your career, of a goal you didn’t meet and how you handled it.
- Have you handled a difficult situation with a co-worker? How?
- Have you handled a difficult situation with a supervisor/another department/a client? How?
- What do you do if you disagree with a co-worker?
- What do you do if you disagree with your boss?
- Describe a stressful situation at work and how you handled it.
- Tell me about how you have worked effectively under pressure in your career.
- How do you handle a challenge?
- Have you ever made a mistake and how did you handle it?
- Describe a decision you made that was unpopular with your co-workers and how you handled implementing it.
- Have you had to convince your co-workers to work on a project they weren’t happy about? How did you do it?
- Tell me of an example of how you were able to motivate employees or co-workers.
- Have you ever put off making a decision? Why?
- Have you ever dealt with a company policy that you weren’t in agreement with? How?
- Have you gone above and beyond your job role and responsibilities? If so, how?
- When you worked on multiple projects, how did you prioritize?
- How did you handle meeting a tight deadline? Did you make the deadline? If not, why not?
- Give an example of how you set goals and achieve them.
- Did you ever not meet your goals? Why?
- What do you do when your schedule is interrupted? Give an example of how you handle it.
- Do you listen? Give an example of when you did or when you didn’t listen.