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Behavioral Interview Process

A behavioral interview is a popular interview technique that employers use to evaluate job candidates based on their past behaviors.

This method is based on the premise that past behavior is the best indicator of future performance.

During these interviews, individuals will be expected to formulate detailed responses based on actual experiences or circumstances.


How To Prepare

Read the job description carefully. Make a list of the top skills or qualifications required. Think of a story that demonstrates your ability in each area. Following the STAR technique, write your stories down, including the situation, task, action and result. Then, practice saying them out loud several times, either by yourself or with a friend. Keep in mind that your answer should only take about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. As you include each of the elements, try to be concise.

If you’re feeling shy or lacking confidence, this practice is all the more important. You should get comfortable with these stories. Remember, you won’t be able to anticipate every behavioral question you get, but with a strong set of anecdotes, you’ll be able to answer each one with confidence.


STAR Technique

Answers for behavioral interview questions should be formulated using the STAR technique. Using this technique will help individuals draw from past experiences to structure a response.

  • Situation: What is the context of your story? In setting the situation, you are telling your listener when or where this event took place. For example, “We were working on a six- month contract for a high-value client, when our agency merged with another, larger firm...”
  • Task: What was your role in this situation? For example, “It was my role to lead the transition for my group while also communicating with our client to keep the project on track.”
  • Action: What did you do? For example, “I set up weekly check-ins with the client to update them on the progress of the merger. This cemented an important level of trust between us. I also had regular one-on-ones with each person on the team, both to assess how they were handling the change and to make sure we would meet our deadlines.”
  • Result: What did your actions lead to? For example, “We ended up completing the project on time, meeting all of their specifications. It was incredibly rewarding to navigate a lot of change and succeed under pressure.”


Answering a Behavioral Interview Question

Question: Tell me about a time when you overcame a conflict at work.

Answer: “At my last job, my colleague and I had a disagreement over how to handle a sensitive situation with our client. We made a mistake on their campaign that resulted in poor overall performance. While my colleague wanted to move forward without explaining the mistake, I thought it would be best to let the client know what happened.

After going back and forth, I asked him if we could set some time aside to weigh the costs and benefits of each option. In the end, we needed to see each other’s motivations and fears to get a better understanding of the other.

We decided to let the client know what had happened, and agreed to provide them with another campaign at no cost. While it did result in a short-term loss for the company, the client appreciated our honesty and booked their next annual campaign with us. My colleague and I were also recognized for our teamwork and ended up counseling other client teams on conflict resolution.”


Example Interview Questions

Success in a behavioral interview is all about preparation. You answers may not necessarily be wrong, but these questions are aimed at getting to know the real you. The important thing is to be honest and to practice structuring your responses in a way that communicates what you have to offer.

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Describe a time you were under a lot of pressure at work/school. How did you react?
  3. Give me an example of a difficult problem you solved. How did you solve this problem?
  4. Can you tell me about a challenging situation you overcame at work/school?
  5. Tell me about a time you overcame a conflict at work/school.
  6. Can you tell me about a time that you set and achieved a certain goal?
  7. What is your proudest accomplishment and why?
  8. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  9. How would your previous employer/instructor describe you?
  10. Tell me about a time when you were part of a team and someone did not pull their weight. How did you handle this?
  11. Give me an example of a complex problem you faced and how you solved it.
  12. Tell me about a time when saw someone do something that was unsafe, and how did you handle it?
  13. Can you describe a time when you had a conflict with someone at work? What did you do?
  14. Tell me about a situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
  15. Give me an example of how you set goals and achieve them.
  16. Give an example of your weaknesses.
  17. Tell us about your greatest strength.
  18. Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
  19. Tell me about a time when you used your verbal communication skills in order to get an important point across.
  20. Describe a time when you had to train someone.
  21. Tell me about a difficult decision you have made in the last year.
  22. The telephone is ringing, the control panel is alarming, and your boss is asking you to complete a task. How do you prioritize these situations?
  23. Tell me something you had to learn very quickly but knew nothing about before.
  24. Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

Source: Indeed Career Guide

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