Behavioral interviews are often conducted by employers to asses how a candidate would handle certain situations that may arise within the company. The advantage of holding this type of interview is that it offers some insight into how a candidate has dealt with past problems.
Answers to behavioral questions are typically in the form of a story. It is important that you, the interviewee, describe the situation, the action taken, and the results in great detail. Choose your stories wisely and make sure they answer the question appropriately. The interviewer needs to understand what your thought process is so they can establish if you will be a good fit for the company.
Make sure you use this opportunity to describe your important accomplishments. If the question asked has a negative connotation (i.e. the interviewer is inquiring about a failure), try to explain what you learned from the situation. Employers are well aware that mistakes and failures will happen from time to time. It is a matter of how well you handle those situations and what you learned from them. Those who are on the hunt for a new job, need to be prepared to participate in a behavioral job interview. More and more employers are turning to this tactic when evaluating potential employees.
Sample Behavioral Questions
- Give me an example of a time when you were given too many tasks and had to prioritize your tasks.
- Describe a situation where you took the initiative to be a leader.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with an unruly customer.
- Tell me about a time when you motivated your co-workers.
- Give me an example of a time when you anticipated a problem and took preventative measures to avoid it.
- What would you say is the riskiest decision you have ever made?
- What was the biggest mistake you have ever made?
- Tell me about a time you were paired with a co-worker you did not get along with. How did you handle the situation?
- Give me an example of a time you were forced to follow a company policy you did not agree with.
- Describe a difficult situation you encountered with a previous supervisor.
- Tell me about a time when you set and achieved a work goal. What steps did you take to meet that goal?
- Give me an example of a time when you were unable to complete an assignment because you did not have adequate information or were not prepared. What were the consequences and how did you overcome them?
- Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond in order to finish a task.
- Describe a situation where you had to use your persuasion skills to convince another person to see things your way.
- Tell me about a time when you went out of your way for a customer.
- Describe something you have learned that has further improved your career.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to juggle a demanding work schedule and a busy personal life. What steps did you take to maintain a healthy balance?
- Tell me about a time when you took on the role of a leader.
- Tell me about a difficult decision you had to make this year.
- What would you say is your greatest achievement thus far?
- Have you ever had to fire a friend? If so, how did you handle the situation?
- Tell me about a time when you had to change your usual methods in order to reach a goal.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to carry out a task that was completely new to you. What was your approach?
- Tell me about a time when things did not go as planned. How did you handle the situation?
- Tell me about a time when you feel you did not communicate effectively. What did you do to resolve the issue?
- Give me an example of a time when a team member was not pulling their own weight. How did you handle the situation?
- Tell me about a time when you received constructive criticism. How did you handle it?
- Describe to me the most difficult time in your life? What steps did you take to make a change?
- Tell me about a time when you overcame an unfavorable situation.
- Give me an example of a time when you overlooked an obvious solution to a problem.
How to Prepare for a Behavioral Interview
Preparing for a behavioral job interview is just as difficult as preparing for a traditional one. An effective way to prepare for a behavioral interview is to write down all of the scenarios you would like to use as examples. Take the time to evaluate the above examples of behavioral questions and really think about what the interviewer is trying to find out. Are they asking about your reliability? Maybe they want to know more about your leadership skills. Write down each quality and then list some positive examples that demonstrate that quality. From there, narrow down your list to one solid example. For instance, you may want to talk about a time when the company was nearing a deadline and you came up with a new method that got the job done in time. This will demonstrate your dependability and your ability to take initiative. Both are great qualities that employers are likely to be looking for. While you will never know for sure what questions the interviewer is going to ask, you can be ready by preparing your stories ahead of time.
Behavioral interviewing is not as intimidating as they may seem. By preparing some examples ahead of time, you will be ready to answer the questions appropriately and in a timely manner. Remember to provide the interviewer with the scenario, the action taken and the result. Do not skimp on the details and be positive with your examples. Employers want to understand how you are going to deal with various problems that will, at some point, arise. After all, your past actions will be a good indicator of your future actions.
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