Tips on How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

“I love answering behavioral interview questions,” said no-candidate ever. While you may be comfortable formulating answers surrounding your skills and achievements, it may be a different story for those behavioral interview questions.

Behavioral interviewing is a technique involving queries in which candidates describe past performance and behavior to determine future performance.   The answers should provide verifiable, concrete evidence as to how a candidate has dealt with issues in the past.

Most behavioral interview questions are based around the following themes:

  • Teamwork
  • Patient-care/Customer-care
  • Adaptability
  • Time management
  • Communication style
  • Motivation and core values

Here are some examples:

  • “Tell me about a time when you made a mistake. What did you do to correct it?”
  • “When you’ve strongly disagreed with your team members, how did you communicate those feelings?”
  • “Describe a long-term project that you managed. How did you keep everything moving along on time?”
  • “Describe a situation when you had to work closely with a difficult coworker. How did you handle the situation? Were you able to build a relationship with this person?”

Here are some tips to help you nail it.

Think challenge and specific action. Develop some compelling stories of when you faced a problem at work and make a list of the actions you took to solve it and the results. Formulate concise responses to keep you from rambling.

Next, come up with examples of times when you overcame obstacles, dealt with a crisis, or helped fuel a successful workplace collaboration. Think about how open you are to new ideas, how adept you are at finding common ground, and what experiences you might draw upon to navigate complicated problems.

One technique used to answer these types of questions is the STAR method. STAR is an acronym that stands for:

  • Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
  • Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
  • Action: Explain what specific steps you took to address it.
  • Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.

Rehearse, but don’t memorize.
You’re not a robot. Have some compelling anecdotes handy and practice them out loud. That way, you’ll feel polished and prepared.

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