How to Handle Behavioral Based Interview Questions
Behavioral based interview questions attempt to find out how a potential employee behaved in a variety of situations. Employers want to learn as much as possible about how the interviewee handled problems on the job, or how they reached any noteworthy accomplishments. By understanding their thought process and behavior, they can gauge their future performance. After all, past performance dictates future performance. There are numerous behavioral questions to ask during an interview, but here are the most common:
Have you ever been criticized while on the job? If so, how did you handle it?
Tell me about an irritating work situation.
Describe the biggest failure you made in your previous job. What did you learn from it?
Tell me about a goal you achieved and the steps you took to achieve it.
Have you ever had to deal with a company policy you were against? How did you handle the situation?
Tell me about a time when you were in disagreement with your supervisor. How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome?
Give me an example of a time when you assumed the role of a leader.
Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty to complete a task.
Have you ever missed a deadline? What caused this to happen and how did you change your work process to prevent it from happening again?
Give me an example of a time when you had to use your negotiation skills.
As you can see, most of the questions begin with “tell me about a time” or “give me an example of.” This is your chance to play storyteller. When you are asked a behavioral question it is important to thoroughly describe the given situation, what actions you took and what the outcome was. The goal is to accentuate your positive qualities through your course of action.
Let’s say you were asked to describe a situation where you had to work with a colleague you did not get along with. First, you would describe the situation. Maybe you had to work with this person on a project that had a tight deadline. Next, go in to detail about how you dealt with the person. Were there arguments that you settled in a calm manner? Were you able to set your differences aside to complete the project? Finally, explain the outcome. Was the project completed on time? Were you able to see eye to eye with your colleague and move past your differences?
Preparing for behavioral based interview questions will help you to answer confidently. If you are caught off guard or at a loss for words, you may give off the impression that you are unsure of yourself. Make note of the above example questions and begin to make formulate your answers ahead of time. Think about what situations in your previous job highlight your positive qualities and use them to your advantage. Make sure you are detailed and clear with your answers. To further increase your chances of success, try practicing the interview process with a friend or family member.