Traditional Versus Behavioral Interviewing
In this or a previous job search, you probably prepared for and might have been asked traditional interview questions:
- What is your biggest strength ?
- Why are you the best candidate for this job?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Many job seekers are far less prepared foror even stumped bymore commonly used behavioral interview questions like: Describe a situation in which you used persuasion to convince someone to see things your way.
A lot of organizations favor behavioral interviewing over the traditional sort because its a more effective way to select the candidate that best matches a job posting and fits into the company culture.
Experiment With Memorization Methods
Memorizing is often misused in the process of studying. Some people memorize whole sentences, paragraphs and lectures without grasping their essence.
However, memorization can be useful when you need to learn definitions and classifications really quickly. Dont avoid this technique if you want to fill your brain with information without wasting any time.
Try this if you want to memorize more and faster: How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People
You Can Learn From Your Mistakes
We all make mistakes during work.
However, its important to show that you can learn from those mistakes and improve. In the end, nobody wants to hire someone who makes the same mistakes over and over again.
This can come in the form of the following questions:
- Tell me about a time when you failed at something. How did you handle the situation?
- What is your weakness?
Yes, you can use this point to construct a great answer for What is your weakness? For example, you can find a mistake or shortcoming you have, acknowledge it, and show the interviewer how you are trying to improve it. I believe this answer will sound a whole lot better than: Im a perfectionist.
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Tips For During The Interview
During the interview, if you are not sure how to answer the question, ask for clarification. Then use the STAR technique, being 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 are not what the interviewer is looking for, this position may not be the best job for you.
Behavioral Interview Sample Answer
Using the above techniques, here is an example of how you might answer a behavioral interview question:
Question: Tell me about a time when you overcame a conflict at work.
Answer:At my last job, my colleague and I disagreed on how to handle a sensitive situation with our client. We made a mistake in their campaign that resulted in poor overall performance. While my colleague wanted to move forward without explaining the mistake, I thought it would be best to let the client know what happened.
After going back and forth, I asked him if we could set some time aside to weigh the costs and benefits of each option. In the end, we needed to see each others motivations and fears to get a better understanding of the other.
We decided to let the client know what had happened and agreed to provide them with another campaign at no cost. While it did result in a short-term loss for the company, the client appreciated our honesty and booked an annual campaign exceeding their spending with us in the past. My colleague and I were also recognized for our teamwork and ended up counseling other client teams on conflict resolution.
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The Star Method: How To Ace Behavioral Interview Questions
Behavioral interview questions are a big part of most interviews in todays job market. Focusing on your past work experiences, hiring managers ask these questions to determine if you have the right combination of skills and personality traits for the role.
Since these are open-ended questions, many job seekers get caught off guard when they come up in an interview. Instead of explaining how they can handle various workplace situations that come up, they rehash the skills and experience already listed on their resume.
To ensure you dont make this mistake, the STAR Method can help you prepare for a variety of behavioral interview questions. Continue reading to learn more about behavioral-based interviews and how the STAR Method can help you leave a last impression:
What are behavioral interviews?
The logic behind this strategy is that your past performance can predict your future performance. Since the employer has already defined what skills are needed for success in the role, they will ask you questions about past experiences to determine if you meet that criteria. Generally, these questions can be more specific and thought-provoking than general interview questions. Here are some common behavioral interview questions:
What is the STAR Method?
Describe The Action That You Took
Portray what you did to hit your target in that situation. This is also the best time to explain:
- Why you chose a specific action or process
- Alternative courses of action you could have taken
The interviewer will be looking for skills like your ability to reason and problem-solve to come up with an optimal solution.
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Behavioral Interviews: How To Prepare And Ace Interview Questions
As a software engineer, when you think of interviewing, you probably only conjure up images of solving technical coding problems on a whiteboard. Turns out, theres a lot more to interviewing than your technical skills alone. Behavioral and cultural interviews are now an essential part of your hireability as a candidate.
Many talented candidates can get overwhelmed by behavioral interviews since they seem far less straightforward than technical questions. But have no fear! Today, we want to walk you through all the need-to-know information about behavioral interviews to dispel the fears and empower you as a candidate.
Heres what well cover today:
Get hands-on with behavioral interview prep today.
Try one of our 300+ courses and learning paths: Grokking the Behavioral Interview.
Facebook Behavioral Questions: Leadership
In addition to employees with a collaborative nature, Facebook is looking for employees who are able to motivate their team, resolve conflicts, drive alignment, and build relationships. This is because most roles will involve not only working in teams, but also leading them when appropriate.
This would be a good time to show that youve got drive and empathy, particularly if you’re interviewing for a manager role. Some of the leadership skills that Facebook is looking for in these questions include how you earn trust and take ownership, process and grow from past experiences, support the people around you, and overcome difficult situations.
Example behavioral questions asked at Facebook: Leadership
- Tell me about a time you lead a team
- Tell me about a time you had to step up and take responsibility for others
- Tell me about your worst boss and why they were bad
- How would you advocate for a commitment to a priority, when that priority is not high on someone else’s list?
- How would you manage timelines in a highly matrixed environment, where there is no top down authority?
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Why Employers Ask Behavioral Questions
Behavioral questions are designed to learn how you would respond to a specific workplace situation, and how you solve problems to achieve a successful outcome.
Behavioral interview questions are generally formatted by presenting a situation, inquiring about what action you have taken to respond to something similar in the past, and what the result was.
The interviewer will ask how you handled a situation, and you will need to respond with an explanation of what you did. The logic is that your success in the past is a positive indicator of your success in the future.
Essential Tips for Answering Top Behavioral Questions
Review Your Experience And Accomplishments
A well-crafted resume that focuses on your accomplishments and plays up your strengths is the key to unlocking job opportunities. Use bulleted lists to demonstrate relevant experience, accomplishments, and key skills. Try to include keywords from the job posting, and target your resume to the position you want by researching it online to make it stand out from the competition.
You could even use resume builder apps to create a professional-looking resume with minimal effort. These apps also have powerful features like auto-suggestions, formatting tools, and sample templates for inspiration.
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Why Should We Hire You
If you are at the point of a live interview, you should be highly interested in the position.
This gives you a great opportunity to tell your interviewer how your expertise will positively impact the role. Right now, you are in the spotlight to clearly show that your experience is the perfect fit for the position and why. Shine on!
Ways To Prepare For Situational Interview Questions
Interview questions are tricky. While there a number of ways to stumble during a review of general facts and work history, it’s the situational questions that often pose the greatest risks. These open-ended questions are the business world’s equivalent to an essay question on a college exam it’s a chance to show off what you know in a format of your choosing, with just as many chances to choke if you’re not ready.
But just like an exam, even if you don’t know specifically what you’re going to be asked, you can still prepare for likely questions. And part of that is preparing responses, including stories that showcase your talents or learning experiences worth noting.
So what should you say? What kinds of details do you need to share, and in what order? Below, members of Forbes Coaches Council offer their advice on the best ways to prepare for situational questions:
From top left to right: Jennifer Oleniczak Brown, Anne Marie Segal, Lianne Lyne, Lucie Yeomans, Sunil Harrypersad, Lindsay Guthrie, Meridith Elliott-Powell, Laura DeCarlo, Jill Hauwiller, Adrienne Tom, Lisa Barrington.
All photos courtesy of the individual member.
1. Take An Improv Class
2. Fit Your Answer To The Role
3. To Prepare, You Need To Breathe And Visualize
4. Research The Company To Tailor Your Answers
5. Have In Mind 10 Responses That Address Leadership
6. Use The STAR Format
7. Tell Non-Work Stories About Successes
9. Aim For A 2-3 Minute Story
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How To Make The Best Impression
Before you head out to your interview, review these tips and strategies for behavioral interview success. Be sure youve got the appropriate interview attire ready to wear, have questions of your own ready to ask the interviewer, and are prepared to follow up after the interview with a thank-you note.
How To Use Stories To Ace Your Behavioral Interview
Ive never met anyone who loves participating in job interviews. Im sure there are people out there who enjoy them. Im not sure what to think about those people though. For the rest of us, we need all the motivation we can get heading into an interview. Its as if searching for a job isnt stressful enough, now theyre going to stick you in front of a panel of business professionals that will grill you for an hour or more with any question they want.
Over the years Ive screened thousands of resumes and have interviewed hundreds of candidates . Before becoming a hiring manager in my day job, I spent two years freelance recruiting with a friend who owned a small recruiting business. Like most things, getting good at something typically requires a lot of practice. Being interviewed is a great way to get reps, but so is being on the other side of the table.
While Ive worked for the same company for almost 13 years, Ive had the opportunity to interview for internal positions multiple times. Behavioral interview questions have been part of every process. The better prepared you are, the less nervous and more personal youll be during your interview.
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Facebook Behavioral Questions: Role
Our last category focuses on the questions that are specific to certain roles, such as what made you get into design? for product designers. While you should expect a combination of each of the previous four categories in any interview, the following questions apply most to data scientists, product managers, product designers, and software engineers.
Right, now lets get into some questions.
Example behavioral questions asked at Facebook: Role-specific
- Tell me about a recent / favorite project and some of the difficulties you had
- Tell me about a product you lead from idea to launch
- Tell me about a time you struggled on one of your software projects
- Tell me about a data and analytics project you’ve worked on
- Tell me about what made you get into design
- How do you influence product?
- Which part of the design process interests you most?
- Why do you want to be a product designer rather than a UX researcher?
Use Interview Guides To Prepare For Common Questions
The interview is the most important step of your job search. You come to the table with strong skills, so it should be a fairly smooth meeting if you’re properly prepared.
The best way to prepare for your interview is to ask yourself questions that are based on typical interview guides or questions compiled by popular job search sites, or career-focused websites.
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Practice The Star Method
Many recruiters recommend that candidates follow the STAR method to answer a behavioral interview question. STAR stands for:
Following the STAR method, first, you would describe the situation you encountered, the task or goal that you needed to reach, the action that was taken, and the result of that action.
This is a succinct way to detail your skills and experience while also highlighting how you analyze a situation and execute a plan based on the circumstances of the specific situation.
Why Are You Looking To Leave Your Current Job
This may seem like a place to launch into all the things you dont like about your current job. Or to talk about what a terrible person your boss is. Dont do it. Thats the path you do not want to go down. And thats really what this question tends to prod out of many people.
If I am interviewing you and ask this question and you tell me all the ways your boss doesnt appreciate you and your company has terrible leadership, Im thinking what youre going to be saying about me in a year when you are interviewing somewhere else.
Make sure you are framing your answer in a way that doesnt shed bad light on your current or most recent employer. You want to focus on things like youve enjoyed working for the company but your growth options are limited there so you are exploring outside opportunities.
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Behavioral Job Interview Questions About Teamwork
Question #1 – Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone completely different from you. How did you adapt to collaborate better?
Situation: Sure, I always enjoy working with new and different people. Usually, because they bring something new to the table. At Company X, there was a particularly young developer who was assigned to work with me on a new software development project, and I was to run him through what our typical coding process was like.
Task: It was also my job to get to know him, and find common ground so that we could effectively work together. The fact that he was younger wasnt an issue for me, but because he was completely self-taught, he didnt know a lot about the industry methodologies we used.
Action: Teaching him everything from scratch would take too much time. So, instead, I briefly explained the development process we were using for that specific project, and taught him how to write tests for our code-base. Writing tests is the number 1 way to learn what code does. After all, thats how I got started with development.
Question #2 – What do you do when your team member refuses to, or just cant complete their part of the work? Give me an example.
Action: I started regularly checking in on her to see where she was with work. I would bring it up at times over lunch, send a quick Slack message, and so on. She wasnt taking this quite well, but it DID get her to work faster and more efficiently.
Practice Answering Problems Using Your Grid
Before we try to memorize everything on our grid, were just going to practice answering some standard questions with our grid in front of us. Practice formulating a one- or two-minute response to each of the questions for different combinations of projects and questions.
For example: What was a time you had to make an unpopular decision?
Go through each of the projects that you have listed, and try to formulate your answer according to the STAR Technique in the next section. Practice speaking out loud and thinking as you go. You want this to become easy.
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