Prepare for a Behavioral Interview With These Guidelines.
Behavioral Interview: To help you better prepare for your next behavioral interview, I will provide you with tips to help you prepare for it as well as steps you can take to prepare. Additionally in this article, I will give you a highlight of both common and tricky questions and answers to Behavioural interviews.
Prepare for a Behavioral Interview now. But bear in mind that behavioral interview questions require you to share examples of specific situations they’ve been in where they had to use certain skills.
What is a Behavioral Interview?
Behavioral interviewing explores the workplace competencies that are required for successful job performance.
If the job requires a person to be able to analyze and find solutions to problems the interviewer will ask the candidate to provide an example of when they previously displayed that behavior.
“Tell me about a problem you uncovered in your previous job. What steps did you take to sort it out?”
It is often difficult to think of good examples within the time constraints and stressful context of a job interview.
Know which behaviors (sometimes referred to as competencies) are required in the position by reviewing the job description and requirements.
Behavioral Interview Tips
- Study the job description
- Review the major projects you’ve worked on
- Revisit previous job performance reviews
- Make a list of your professional accomplishments
- Use the STAR method to structure your response
- Be open and honest in your answer
- Practice your interview responses aloud
- Keep your answers under two minutes
With these kinds of questions, interviewers are usually trying to learn three things: First, they want to know how you behaved in a real-world situation. Second, they want to understand the measurable value you added to that situation. Finally, they are trying to learn how you define something like “pressure at work”—a concept different people might interpret differently.
Success in a behavioral interview is all about preparation. There aren’t necessarily wrong answers. 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.
Five Steps to Get Yourself Prepared
- Analyze the position you are being interviewed for; determine the skills required.
- Evaluate and reflect upon your background to identify your skills and experiences related to the position.
- Develop brief scenarios or “STAR stories” before your interview that demonstrates your leadership, teamwork, communication, initiative, etc. Each “story” should explain the situation, task, action, and result (STAR).
- be specific in your stories. Giving generalizations will not help the employer understand and evaluate your behavior and skills. Employers want to know what you DID do rather than what you WOULD do in a given situation.
- Identify three to five top selling points that set you apart from other candidates – and be sure to take the opportunity to point them out during the interview.
Common Behavioral Interview Questions
Here are five common behavioral questions employers might ask any applicant.
1. Tell me about a time you had a conflict with someone within the organization.
As you know, conflict is a part of life, and it’s extremely common within companies given people spend most of their days working side-by-side with different people and personalities.
So, hiring managers to ask this question to gauge how you resolve differences with other people—and figure out how you’d do it at their company too.
2. Tell me about a time you worked on a challenging team project.
Chances are you are going to have to work as part of a team, and companies want to know that you play nice when you are collaborating, which is why they will often ask this question.
Companies want to learn if you can collaborate with others, can handle any problems that may arise, and if you are generally a team player.
3. Do you prefer to work alone or with others?
Regardless of the type of business, interviewers ask this question as a way to see if the job candidate will fit into the company culture. They know their environment—and will use this question to see if you’d fit in or have big problems acclimating.
4. Tell me about a time you took a leadership role. What was the role and what was the outcome?
Suited more for senior-level job candidates, this is a behavioral question that many companies ask to see if you have leadership potential. Not only is it very hard to fake this question, but it’s a great one to use to see if you possess any leadership abilities.
5. What’s the most difficult problem you had to solve? How did you navigate it?
Problem-solving is an important skill in almost every job, which is why companies will ask job candidates to tell them about a difficult problem they had to solve.
Here, a hiring manager wants to learn if you are the type to run to your manager any time there is a situation—or someone who will deal with the situation on your own.
Tricky Behavioral Interview Questions
1. If a coworker had an annoying habit, and it hindered your quality of work, how would you resolve it?
This may seem like a perplexing question, but it’s “designed to get to you how you deal with others,” explains Crawford. “Draw from a real-life experience if possible.
What annoyed you? How did you resolve it? Is there a more effective way to handle the situation if it would happen again? Identify the annoying habit and then outline the steps you would take to try and resolve the situation while maintaining a good relationship with your coworker.”
2. Tell me about the worst manager you ever had. How did you navigate him or her?
Before you bash your last boss, “remember that your hiring manager has your resume and knows where you have worked, so your managers won’t be completely anonymous,” warns Crawford. “However, you might explain a type of management style that wasn’t ideal for you.
And if you haven’t had a bad manager, don’t make one up. Let the hiring manager know that you honestly have gotten along with your previous managers, and focus on how you can work with different personality and management styles.”
3. What part of the newspaper do you read first? What does this say about you?
“This kind of question is asked to get to know you better as a person,” says Crawford. And while “at first glance, this seems a fairly easy question,” she says, it’s not. So, “before you answer, think about what genre of articles appeals to you: technology, fashion, current events,” Crawford advises.
“Now determine if there is a way to link the genre that appeals to you as a professional. For example, if you are drawn to articles about technology, you could explain that your love of technology means that you enjoy learning new ways of doing things, you are open to change, and look to stay on top of current trends.”
4. If your current employer had an anniversary party for you, what five words would be written on the cake to describe you?
While it may seem silly, “this question is designed to reveal how you think your manager perceives you,” Crawford says. “Before answering, ask yourself: how do your coworkers describe you? What did your manager commend you on recently?”
With the answers to these questions in mind, “don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your reply,” Crawford says. But don’t be too verbose either. “You don’t want to give the impression that your anniversary cake would be too big,” she says, “so try and keep the words short and sweet.”
One technique for answering interview questions is called the STAR method, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results. That helps you break down your answers into the when, where, what, and how, and articulate the results without rambling.
STAR Method For Behavioral Interviews?
Looking back at your past jobs, prepare good behavioral examples using the following STAR technique:
- ST – Describe the specific situation or task you were involved in
- A – Detail the action and steps you took in the situation
- R – Outline the results and outcome of your actions. What happened, what was accomplished, what did you learn
Listen carefully to the questions asked and, if need be, ask for further clarification. Answer with an appropriate and specific example. Often the interviewer will ask follow-up questions to get more information.
“Tell me why you did that”
“Take me through your decision process”
“How did you feel about that”
so it is essential to have a complete, actual example to draw on.
Don’t view behavioral interview questions as curveballs meant to trip you up. View them as opportunities to highlight your insight, experience, and critical thinking skills as indicators of future success.
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