Behavioral interviews are always challenging. If you’re not prepared, it will seem like these types of questions are designed to trip you up. But if you’re prepared, you can handle these questions with ease. What are behavioral questions? What are some of the most common types of behavioral questions, and how can you prepare for them?
What Are Behavioral Interview Questions?
Behavioral interview questions are increasingly popular ways for interviewers to determine if a candidate is right for the job. They do this by asking questions designed to elicit a response in the form of a story about your past behavior. These questions usually start out something like, “Describe a time in your life when you…” Or they may lead with, “How would you handle a situation where you…” While you can’t know which direction the interviewer will go with these questions, you can practice some of the stories you will tell to illustrate some of your best skills.
Preparing for the behavioral interview question starts with a thorough review of the job description you’re applying for. Then look at your resume and review some of the primary projects you’ve worked on. Think about the skills needed in the job. How did those primary projects help you hone the skills you’ll need to do the job you’re applying for? Practice a few stories/behavioral answers, being careful to keep them under two minutes. You can use the STAR interview method to structure your answers. Describe the:
- Situation or context of the story.
- Task or goal you were trying to complete.
- Action you took to accomplish the task.
- Result of your effort.
Keeping the STAR method in mind will help you keep your answers more concise and to the point. You do not want to lose your audience by giving them a long-drawn-out story.
Top Behavioral Questions
Here are a few common behavioral questions for you to practice answering:
- Describe a mistake you made in your current position. How did you rectify your mistake?
- Tell me about a difficult challenge you had to overcome in one of your past roles. What did you do to overcome it?
- What was the last new skill you learned at work? How did you learn it and apply it on the job?
- Have you ever had a conflict with your boss? How did you handle it?
- Describe a situation where you know you could have handled things differently. What did you learn from that experience?
- Tell me a story about experiencing serious on-the-job pressures. What happened?
- What is your proudest professional achievement, and why?
Are you struggling to make your answers concise? Read on to find a few examples of how to answer these difficult but interesting questions.
Sample Answers to Behavioral Questions
If the question is, “Describe a time when you had a conflict at work. What did you do?” here is a sample response:
“In my last job, I disagreed with my supervisor on how to handle an angry client. We made a billing error, and the client was upset. My boss suggested we give the client a big discount. I suggested apologizing first to see if we could smooth things over first. After talking it through, my supervisor and I compromised. I apologized and offered the client a smaller discount. Issue resolved!”
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