Prepare well for an interview and you have a great chance of showing off what you’re really made of. But preparation can be tricky when there are so many different kinds of questions that could potentially come up.
Behavioral interview questions in particular require forethought so your responses showcase relevant strengths. Especially when looking to pivot from an unrewarding position, telling compelling stories about how you successfully navigated workplace complexities could be crucial to getting that perfect job.
What’s the Intention of Asking Behavioral Interview Questions?
These types of questions aren’t designed to test how you behave in an interview but are incorporated to allow the interviewer to assess how you would handle a certain situation.
In other words, behavioral questions are used because your past experiences and successes are a positive indicator for your success in the future. Employers want to know if your approach to a situation – either positive or negative – will fit well in their team and company as a whole. It will show your ability to adapt, your relationships with co-workers, time-management skills, client skills, together with your motivation and values.
Examples of Behavioral Interview Questions
There are many different types of behavioral interview questions:
- Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
- Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. Describe the situation and how you dealt with it?
- Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your work. What could have been done to make it better?
- Give me an example of a time you had to manage numerous responsibilities at once. How did you handle that?
These can be the most tricky questions because you aren’t relying on your qualifications or your immaculate employment record. Instead you’re essentially being tested on how you would act in the job.
But don’t let this intimidate you. There is a great strategy to follow in order to answer these types of questions in a structured and thorough manner.
Using the STAR Technique Can Help You Give a Well-Organized Answer
STAR stands for situation, task, action and result. It’s a good way of remembering the structure of answering a behavioral question which usually requires an active example of a past situation or experience.
SITUATION: This is where you describe the situation or event that took place. It isn’t necessary to go into too much detail, keep it concise and include the important facts.
TASK: Here you describe the task that you were asked to complete. This is where you will mention any difficulties and challenges.
ACTION: Explain what you did to solve the problem or complete the task.
RESULT: This is where you’re telling the interviewer how the situation turned out according to the actions you took. It’s important to focus on the outcome being a positive for either yourself, your team or the company as a whole.
Steps You Should Go Through to Answer Behavioral Questions
There are some key things you can do to respond to these types of questions with confidence and show off your abilities in a positive way.
Preparation: This is an obvious one but behavioral questions are ones that can cause us to get stuck if we haven’t spent some time thinking about various past scenarios and situations. Spend time researching common behavioral interview questions and make sure you have a few different examples that can be adapted for different questions.
Pause before you answer: Even the most confident of us can get nervous when being interviewed. We often think blurting out our answer will hide our nervousness but it can go against us if we haven’t formulated the right answer in our mind first. Don’t be afraid to pause and take a sip of water to give yourself some time to think of your best prepared anecdote for the question asked.
Remember the STAR technique: If you answer with the STAR technique in mind, then you are guaranteed to formulate a well-structured answer that covers all bases.
Focus on the positive: The reason we may find behavioral questions hard to answer is because in many cases, we’re asked to describe a difficult or challenging situation. It’s really important to focus on turning this into a positive – talk about what you learned from the experience or how you fixed it – don’t dwell too much on the negativity of the event.