Behavioral interviews are a popular format used by hiring managers to evaluate a candidate’s past experiences and behavior patterns. The goal is to predict how the candidate will perform in the new role based on their previous behavior. To ace a behavioral interview, it’s essential to prepare ahead of time and know what to expect. In this post, we’ll cover the most common behavioral interview questions and provide examples of how to answer them.
1. Understanding Behavioral Interviews
Before we dive into the questions, let’s first understand what a behavioral interview is. Unlike traditional interviews that focus on hypothetical scenarios, behavioral interviews ask candidates to provide specific examples of how they handled situations in the past. The interviewer will look for patterns and behaviors that align with the job requirements.
For a customer service role, the interviewer might ask, “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an upset customer. How did you handle the situation, and what was the outcome?”
2. Common Behavioral Interview Questions
Here are some common behavioral interview questions you might encounter:
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to overcome a difficult challenge?
- Describe a situation where you had to work with a difficult team member.
- Can you give an example of a time when you went above and beyond for a customer?
- Describe a situation where you had to make a difficult decision.
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure?
- Describe a situation where you had to adapt to a new environment.
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to lead a team?
- Describe a situation where you had to communicate effectively with someone who had a different communication style than you.
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict?
- Describe a situation where you had to take initiative and solve a problem.
3. How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions
When answering behavioral interview questions, it’s essential to follow the STAR method:
- Situation: Describe the situation or challenge you faced.
- Task: Explain the task or goal you needed to accomplish.
- Action: Detail the actions you took to address the situation.
- Result: Describe the outcome of your actions and what you learned from the experience.
Question: Can you tell me about a time when you had to overcome a difficult challenge?
Answer using the STAR method:
- Situation: In my previous role, we had a tight deadline for a project, and the team was struggling to meet it.
- Task: My task was to find a way to speed up the process and ensure we met the deadline.
- Action: I organized a meeting with the team and identified areas where we could save time. I delegated tasks and ensured everyone had a clear understanding of their responsibilities. I also worked with our vendor to expedite the delivery of some critical components.
- Result: We were able to complete the project ahead of schedule, and the client was thrilled with the results. I learned the importance of effective communication and delegation in achieving success.
4. Tips for Success
Here are some tips to help you succeed in a behavioral interview:
- Research the company and job requirements ahead of time to prepare relevant examples.
- Practice your answers using the STAR method.
- Be specific and provide details.
- Use examples from different areas of your life, including work, school, and personal experiences.
- Showcase your skills and qualities that align with the job requirements.
Behavioral interviews can be challenging, but with the right preparation, you can ace them. By understanding the format and following the STAR method, you can provide compelling examples that showcase your skills and qualities. Remember to research the company and job requirements ahead of time and practice your answers.
Q: How long should my answers be?
A: Your answers should be concise and to the point, but provide enough detail to showcase your skills and qualities. Aim for two to three minutes per answer.
Q: What if I don’t have relevant work experience?
A: You can use examples from other areas of your life, such as school projects, volunteer work, or personal experiences.
Q: Can I ask the interviewer for clarification?
A: Yes, it’s okay to ask for clarification or more information if you’re unsure about the question.
Q: What if I can’t think of an example?
A: Take a moment to gather your thoughts and think about a similar situation that you’ve faced. It’s okay to use examples that are not an exact match but still demonstrate your skills and qualities.