Employers commonly use behavioral interviews to evaluate job candidates based on their previous behavior. Meanwhile, in a behavioral interview, job candidates are asked to explain how they have handled work-related circumstances.
This provides the interviewer with information about the candidate’s background and personality.
Learn more about behavioral interviews and how to prepare for them.
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What Exactly is a Behavioral Interview?
If you’ve ever interviewed for a job, you’ve probably already had a behavioral interview.
Many employers believe that conducting this type of interview increases the likelihood of finding a qualified candidate.
Employers will focus on your previous experiences during this type of interview. The interviewer will expect candidates to demonstrate their abilities by providing specific examples from their previous work, school, and life experiences.
The Process of a Behavioral Interview
The interviewer will determine what competencies are required to perform the job before meeting with a candidate.
Following that, they create a series of behavioral questions to determine whether a candidate possesses those abilities.
Many behavioral interview questions revolve around soft skills, which are difficult to quantify.
Problem-solving, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, listening, writing, and speaking abilities are included.
The behavioral interview is predicated on the assumption that prior performance foretells future performance.
Many behavioral interview questions focus on soft skills, which are difficult to quantify.
Problem-solving, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, listening, writing, and speaking abilities.
The behavioral interview is based on the assumption that past performance predicts future performance.
The majority of behavioral interview questions begin with “Tell me about a time when…
For instance, if conflict resolution is a required skill, the question might be, “Tell me about a time when two people you had to work with didn’t get along and how you handled it.”
Give an example involving two current or former coworkers if you have work experience.
It will be tricky to discuss previous job-related experience in an interview for your first job.
Instead, choose an experience that occurred while you were working on a group project for a class, participating in team sports, or doing volunteer work.
It doesn’t matter what experience you draw from as long as it’s appropriate to discuss in a work environment, as long as you clearly state the problem, demonstrate the steps you took to resolve it and review the outcomes.
How to prepare for a behavioral interview?
Because many job interviews are behavioral, it’s best to prepare relevant examples for any interview.
To accomplish this, thoroughly read the job description and research the company to determine the employer’s competencies.
If you’re working with a recruiter, be sure to discuss your expectations with them.
Here are some of the skills you should be prepared to discuss during your behavioural interview:
- Making a choice
- Conflict Resolution
- Job-specific technical abilities
- Problem-solving Leadership
- Paying Attention
- Verbal Communication
Examine your previous jobs for examples of when you’ve had to use those skills.
Please make a list of them and practice explaining them to an interviewer.
Discuss who was involved, what happened, and what you did to achieve the desired result.
Consider examples with both positive and negative outcomes.
Interviewers may inquire about situations that you could not resolve favourably and what you learned from those encounters.
Using the STAR Method
The STAR method is one way to structure your examples.
STAR is an acronym that stands for:
Situation: Provide the necessary context for the interviewer to understand your example.
Task: Talk about the problem or issue you were working on or the task you were assigned.
Action: Discuss the steps you took to solve the problem or finish the task.
Result: Discuss what occurred as a result of your actions.
For instance, the interviewer may ask you to describe a mistake you made and how you dealt with it.
A sample response could be as follows:
Our whole team was working on an intricate marketing project for a client. I was asked to prepare a campaign presentation for a client conference, but I brought the wrong version of the presentation, which was missing a few critical slides.
At the conference, I apologized to the client, verbally explained what was missing on the missing slides, and sent the correct version. Fortunately, the client was understanding.
I also thought about how I name files and made a folder to hold the most recent version of client files, so I don’t make the same mistake again.”
When responding to behavioral interview questions, give specific and professional examples.
In two to three minutes, you should be able to tell a concise story.
Interviewers want to learn more about your thought process and the strategies and skills you use to solve problems by asking behavioral interview questions.
Here are some common behavioral interview questions and how to answer them, organized by topic.
Employers ask time management questions to understand how you handle multiple responsibilities, prioritize time, and delegate tasks to meet deadlines.
In your response, share your thoughts on how you prioritize your to-do list. Consider emphasizing your organizational abilities as a tool to help you stay on track.
- Tell me about a goal you set and accomplished, as well as how you did so.
- Tell me about a time when your workday ended before you had completed all of your tasks.
- Please give me an example of when you had to prioritize one task or project over another.
- How did you set your priorities?
- Tell me about a long-term project you worked on recently.
Ability to adapt
Plans may not always go as planned, but the ability to change your strategy demonstrates your determination to succeed.
When answering questions about adaptability, your goal should be to show growth, even if you were unsuccessful at the time.
- Can you tell me about a time when you needed to be adaptable or flexible?
- Tell me about a time when you needed to be inventive to solve a problem.
- Tell me about your experience working under extreme stress.
Employers will ask you questions about how you overcame a difficult situation to assess your level of perseverance.
They want to know how you deal with stress and whether you can break down more significant problems into smaller tasks.
To respond to this question, try telling a brief personal story about a specific situation. Try not to be too general. Finish your response by stating what you learned from the experience.
- Explain to me about a time when you messed up.
- What steps did you take to correct it?
- Tell me about a goal you didn’t meet.
Values and motivation
Employers can gain insight into what you’re passionate about, how you stay focused, and what gets you excited by asking questions about your values and motivations.
Your responses will assist employers in determining whether you are a good fit for the company’s mission and work style.
- Tell me about your proudest professional moment and why it was significant to you.
- Can you tell me about a time when you were dissatisfied with your work?
- Tell me about a body of work that you believe had the most impact on you or your company.
- How do you stay motivated when your job entails performing repetitive tasks?
Communication skills are required both inside and outside of the workplace.
Prepare to answer questions about times when you needed to communicate verbally and in writing during an interview.
- Tell me about a time when you had to manage your time well.
- Tell me about a time when you had to explain a complicated subject to someone who didn’t know much about it.
- What steps did you take to ensure that everyone understood what you were saying?
- Tell me about a time when you had to establish rapport with a coworker or client who had a different personality than you?
Working directly with others or with stakeholders requires the ability to interact and communicate effectively with others.
When answering questions about teamwork, use “I” statements to draw attention to your contributions to the team’s success.
- Tell me about a time when you worked with people who were not like you.
- Tell me about the most impressive presentation you’ve ever given.
- What made it so good?
- Tell me about a time when you thought you were a good leader.
- Can you give me an example of how you helped to shape the culture of previous teams, companies, or groups?
- Give an example of how you motivated a coworker, your peers, or your team.
To successfully respond to questions about workplace tension, describe a situation in which you took the initiative to resolve a conflict rather than your manager or coworker.
Avoid casting a negative light on the other person.
A disagreement with a coworker does not always indicate that the relationship has been harmed or that the other person is inherently wrong.
These questions are designed to elicit stories about how you can approach a problem from another person’s point of view to understand it better.
- Describe a time when you disagreed with your manager’s leadership style or team culture.
- Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a peer and how you resolved the situation.
- Tell me about a time when you wished you had handled a situation differently with a coworker.