If you have recently been on an interview, you may be familiar with the Behavioral-based interviewing technique. If not, I will explain a little further. Behavioral interviewing is an interview technique where the interviewers will ask you a series of questions such as “Tell us about a time when you…” or “Describe a time when you had to… How did you handle it?” This has become very popular because it not only allows your interviewer to asses past experiences but also allows them to predict future on-the-job behavior. These types of interview questions are more probing and more specific than traditional ones, so you need to be prepared. Since you don’t know what specific questions they will ask, the best way to prepare for this type of interview is to think of major accomplishments throughout your career or perhaps some high-profile projects you successfully worked on. This will help you frame your thought process when preparing for these types of questions. How else can you be sure to ace these interviews? Well, you should keep this top of mind: Listen carefully to the question that is being asked and make sure you completely understand. There is nothing wrong with asking them to clarify, if you did not understand the question, to ensure you are answering correctly and practice using the STAR method to answer these questions:
Situation: Give them specific details of the situation you are describing. Provide context.
Task: What was the task or the goal in this situation?
Action: What action did you take? What did you do?
Result – Explain how you arrived at the result. Be specific and thorough.
As I always say, confidence is key. To gain this confidence, practice answering some sample questions with a family member or friend out loud until you are comfortable with them. As career coaches, we also offer mock interviews where we will target the position you are interviewing for, pull out the main criteria based off the job description and create a series of questions that fall in line with the needs of the role, to help you be better prepared.
Keep in mind there are no right or wrong answers. The interviewer is simply trying to understand your thought process and behavior in these situations. I have added a few questions below to help you get started:
- Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
- Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do?
- Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
- Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?
- Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?
- Tell me about a time when you had to balance different priorities. How did you handle this?
- Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
- Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.