Behavioral interviewing is based on the premise that past behavior is the best predictor of future success. Therefore, how someone has behaved or performed in the past will probably be a good indicator of how they will behave or perform in the future. Behavioral interview questions usually begin with, “Tell me about…” or “Describe a situation…” You will be asked to describe specific situations that demonstrate your abilities in a specific competency (e.g., analytical skills, leadership, motivation).
Here are some examples of typical behavioral questions and the competencies they demonstrate:
- Describe a difficult problem that you tried to solve. How did you identify the problem? How did you go about trying to solve it? (Demonstrates problem solving)
- Describe a time when you tried to persuade another person to do something that he/she was not very willing to do. (Demonstrates leadership)
- Describe a time when you decided on your own that something needed to be done, and you took on the task to get it done. (Demonstrates initiative)
Behavioral questions are very difficult to answer spontaneously. So, you need to be prepared in order to effectively answer these questions!
- Using the job description and organizational research, determine the competencies that are required for success on the job. These may include: leadership, business acumen, creativity, communication, teamwork, problem solving, analysis, etc. Remember that different companies and industries may require different c ompetencies, even for the same position. For example, “self-managing” can mean one thing to a dot com and something very different to a traditional Fortune 500 firm.
- Know your résumé. This might seem obvious, but your résumé is often the basis for many questions. Identify the competencies that your résumé demonstrates.
- Decide which of your experiences best exemplify your abilities in the competencies the company is seeking. Be able to draw from a variety of experiences that demonstrate your skills and abilities (e.g., work, school,volunteer work).
- Use the STAR (Situation/Task, Action, Results) method to formulate your answers to the behavioral interview question:
Common Competencies and Behavioral Interview Questions:
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