What is a Behavioral Interview and Behavioral
Interview Questions and Answers
What is a behavioral interview? Behavioral based
interviewing is interviewing based on discovering how the interviewee
acted in specific employment-related situations. The logic is that
how you behaved in the past will predict how you will behave in
the future i.e. past performance predicts future performance.
vs. Behavioral Interview
In a traditional interview, you will be asked
a series of questions which typically have straight forward
answers like "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" or "What
major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle
them?" or "Describe a typical work week."
In a behavioral interview, an employer has
decided what skills are needed in the person they hire and will
ask questions to find out if the candidate has those skills.
Instead of asking how you would behave, they will
ask how you did behave. The interviewer will want to know how you
handled a situation, instead of what you might do in the future.
Questions in a Behavioral Interview
Behavioral interview questions will be more pointed,
more probing and more specific than traditional interview questions:
Give an example of an occasion when you used
logic to solve a problem.
Give an example of a goal you reached and
tell me how you achieved it.
Describe a decision you made that was
unpopular and how you handled implementing it.
Have you gone above and beyond the call of
duty? If so, how?
What do you do when your schedule is
interrupted? Give an example of how you handle it.
Have you had to convince a team to work on a
project they weren't thrilled about? How did you do it?
Have you handled a difficult situation with a
Tell me about how you worked effectively
Follow-up questions will also be detailed. You
may be asked what you did, what you said, how you reacted or how
Preparation for the Potential Behavioral
What's the best way to prepare? It's important
to remember that you won't know what type of interview will take
place until you are sitting in the interview room. So, prepare
answers to traditional interview questions.
Then, since you don't know exactly what
situations you will be asked about if it's a behavioral
interview, refresh your memory and consider some special
situations you have dealt with or projects you have worked on.
You may be able to use them to help frame responses. Prepare
stories that illustrate times when you have successfully solved
problems or performed memorably. The stories will be useful to
help you respond meaningfully in a behavioral interview.
Finally, review the job description, if you
have it, or the job posting or ad. You may be able to get a
sense of what skills and behavioral characteristics the employer
is seeking from reading the job description and position
requirements. Take a look at what employers are advised about
developing the job posting for a behavioral interview on the
About Human Resources site.
During the Behavioral Interview
During the interview, if you are not sure how
to answer the question, ask for clarification. Then be sure to
include these points in your answer:
A specific situation
The tasks that needed to be done
The action you took
The results i.e. what happened
It's important to keep in mind that there are
no right or wrong answers. The interviewer is simply trying to
understand how you behaved in a given situation. How you respond
will determine if there is a fit between your skills and the
position the company is seeking to fill. So, listen carefully,
be clear and detailed when you respond and, most importantly, be
honest. If your answers aren't what the interviewer is looking
for, this position may not be the best job for you anyway.