What Does The Interviewer Want In Behavioral Interview Answers
The interviewer wants an actual example from your past. What he or she does not want in answers to behavioral interview questions are the following:
- Vague responses – these include generalizations that do not provide a specific situation. Avoid using phrases such as “Most of the time…”, Usually…”, Sometimes…”
- Opinions – the interviewer is not asking for your opinion. He or she wants a real-life, factual example of what you did in a certain situation. Avoid phrases such as “I believe…”, “I think…”, “In my opinion…”
- Theoretical answers – these answers indicate what you would do rather than what you did do. Avoid phrases such as If I had ….”, I would have…”, “I might..”
Lets Say Youre Working On A Major Project And Youre In The Weeds How Do You Find Your Way Out
We all end up in the weeds now and then, so dont blow off this question by saying its never happened to you. Even the most productive rockstar can think of a time when things went south.
Ive worked hard to get good at time management, so Im usually in good shape. But I did once get overwhelmed when I was working on my departments annual report. I had too much information to compile, and I was overthinking it. I called in a couple of my colleagues to help me sort and prioritize, and we got the report finished on time.
Example Behavioral Interview Questions And Answers
Essentially, a behavioral interview means being asked a bunch of open-ended questions which all have the built-in expectation that your answer will be in the form of a story.
These questions are difficult to answer correctly specifically because the so-called correct answers are much more likely to vary compared to traditional interview questions, whose correct answers are typically more obvious and are often implied.
Behavioral interviewers are likely to ask more follow-up questions than normal, while giving less of themselves away. They want to hear you talk and react to every opportunity they give you, because the more you talk, the more you reveal about yourself and your work habits.
And thats okay. The takeaway here shouldnt be that the hiring manager wants to trick me into talking, so I should say as little as possible.
The real trick with this kind of question is to use the opportunities youre given to speak very carefully dont waste time on details that make you look bad, for example, unless those details are necessary to show how you later improved.
In addition to these general techniques interviewers might use on you, here are some common questions you might be asked during a behavioral interview:
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What The Interviewer Really Wants To Know
The interviewer asks questions like this to learn how you handle challenges. Everyone makes mistakes, and the interviewer wants to know how you handle it when it happens to you.
They also ask these types of questions to determine your weaknesses, and decide if you have what it takes to do the job well.
When answering this question, you want to be honest, but you should also do your best to tell a positive story about how you became a better job candidate because of a mistake.
Read below for more tips on how to answer this question, as well as sample answers you can tailor to your career experiences.
Behavioral Job Interview Questions About Leadership
Question #1 – Tell me about a time when you successfully delegated tasks to your team.
Situation: Well, at my first job as a team lead, I had to really get to know most of my team in order to delegate tasks appropriately.
Task: Most team members were new to the company, so I didnt have much to go with.
Action: So, I sat down with each team member individually, and really got to know them and their strengths and weaknesses, and distributed tasks based on their personality.
Results: Team members were pretty happy with the tasks they got, and started off their relationship with our company on a positive note.
Question #2 – Can you tell me about a time when you had to perform a task or work on a project you had no previous experience before? How did you approach this situation and what did you learn?
Situation: In my previous position at Company X, my manager had to leave unexpectedly for about a month due to a medical condition. Fortunately, she was able to give us a week’s notice.
Task: Because of that, our director asked me to fill in as the interim manager. I was familiar with the basics of management on a theoretical level, and I had worked with my manager closely before, but I certainly wasnt trained to be a manager yet. Though, I wasnt going to say no, and I, more or less, felt confident about my ability to take on the new challenge.
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Share An Example Of How You Were Able To Motivate A Coworker Your Peers Or Your Team
With this question, the interviewer is evaluating your ability and willingness to lead, even informally. A great answer is one that shows you provided encouragement and offered help in some way. This could mean you offered to help with some work if they’ve fallen behind or that you suggested helping them with strategies to move through their work more quickly and efficiently.
Example:“I noticed that one of my coworkers was having a hard time meeting her sales quotas each month. I told her that not every sales technique works for every personality and that it can take time to figure out what will work best for her. I suggested we find time over the next day or two and I would show her some techniques I was using that I found highly effective. And it worked! After a couple of weeks of practice and trial and error, she was consistently hitting her quota.”
Questions On Handling Stress
How do you handle stress? is almost always asked in a behavioral interview. This is one answer you don’t want to come up with off the top of your head, so do your homework. Come up with real-life examples that highlight your stress-management skills.
When responding, don’t blame others for the stress you felt. Instead, highlight how you used your amazing soft skills to overcome the stressful obstacle and ultimately succeed.
Acknowledge that you do experience stress not doing so will make interviewers think you don’t take your job very seriously or that you’re lying. If you’re blanking on work examples, explain how you personally manage your stress. For example, sharing that you meditate or run to alleviate your stress shows the interviewer that you don’t let things bottle up until you burn out.
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Tell Me About A Time When You Were In Conflict With A Peer And How The Situation Was Resolved
In workplaces where there are a large number of people with different personality types and communication styles, conflicts can occur. The interviewer wants to see, with this question, how you handle conflicts in the workplace and what your conflict resolution strategy is. A great answer is one where you demonstrate a specific strategy that you used to resolve a problem and find a mutually agreeable resolution.
Example:“I had a sales manager who was great about stepping in to help when members of our team were struggling with meeting goals. However, she had a single approach that didn’t work for everyone and members of our team were getting frustrated and felt they were being micromanaged. I suggested that I sit down one-on-one with our manager, having heard the frustrations of the team. I avoided us all sitting down because I didn’t want her to feel ganged up on and become defensive. After talking, we decided that she would let team members know her door was open if they needed help but that she would let them be in charge of the strategy they used to meet their goals. We also implemented a monthly, optional training program where we had different team members present what was working for them in order to offer a variety of approaches.”
Tell Me About A Time When You Made A Mistake What Did You Do To Correct It
The interviewer understands that everyone makes mistakes. What they want to know, with this question, is how you handle mistakes. A great response to this question is one in which you take full responsibility for the mistake, worked hard to correct it and took steps to minimize the likelihood that it would happen again.
Example:“When I was working at a printing company, I misquoted the fees for a particular job. I realized the mistake, I went directly to my manager and explained what happened. He said he appreciated my honesty and suggested that we waive the setup fee for the job as an apology to the customer. I spoke to the customer directly and explained what happened and that the quoted price was actually higher than my original estimate, but that we would be happy to waive the setup fee. The customer understood and appreciated the effort to make the situation right. After that happened, I printed our price sheet to have it quickly at hand and implemented a new process for quoting estimates, one in which I double-check the final estimate before sending it.”
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Study The Role Youre Applying For
Given Amazon’s notoriously high standards for their hiring process, you should also do as much research as you can about the role you’re applying for along with the work that the role’s department/team actually does. Your interviewer is bound to ask questions aimed at evaluating if you’re a culture fit, and your prior research will only help to make the best impression possible.
Not only that but your research regarding the role you’re applying for can give you a good impression on the behavioral skills necessary for the job. And by extension, it can give you a good idea of the behavioral questions they may ask regarding those skills.
Give Me An Example Of How You Set Goals For Yourself
The employer wants to know that youre focused on goals and what process you use to achieve them. Prepare an example that illustrates the steps you took to accomplish something in your career.
When I wanted to move from staff writing to content management, I started by breaking that goal down into manageable steps. I looked for an entry level position where I could learn the ropes for a couple of years. I worked hard, went to workshops and conferences, and was promoted in my department within the first year. Now Im here, ready to take it to the next level!
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Tell Me About The Last Time Your Workday Ended Before You Were Able To Get Everything Done
This question is designed to evaluate your commitment, work ethic, prioritization skills and ability to communicate. While the interviewer doesn’t expect heroic efforts daily, they do want to see a level of dedication to getting your job done. A great answer is that you either stayed late to finish your work, came in early the next day or prioritized differently. It’s also important to emphasize that you communicated to others that you might miss a deadline in case changes need to be made or clients need to be contacted.Example:“We had a client who wanted us to deliver new social media content to them by Wednesday of each week to get it scheduled for the following week. One week they requested double the content in order to increase their online activity in advance of a big launch. I decided to stay late the night before the deliverable was due. I also let the manager know that we might be a few hours behind for our content that week. A coworker and I went in early the next morning, together, made our deadline.”
What Not To Say
Here are some missteps to avoid:
- Don’t ramble.You want to give a tight two- or three-part response. Don’t get too into the weeds with the specifics of the challenge that occurred, and share your solution in plain and straightforward language. If you’re looking to keep focused, the STAR technique can help. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Use this framework to talk about these four elements. For this particular question, you’ll likely want to emphasize the actions you took, as well as any positive result that occurr
- Don’t complain. Yes, interviewers are asking about a problem. But that doesn’t mean they’re looking for you to share a laundrylist of issues and concerns that have come up in your previous roles. Focus on having the bulk of your answer center around the positive and the solution you came up with. At all costs, avoid speaking negatively about companies or specific colleagues.
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Why Are Behavioral Questions Used
Used correctly, youll find that it can be used to look for consistency in answers and how to identify how an employee will prove out with specific questions. Are we going to assess soft skills like problem-solving or critical thinking or their speaking skills?
The other thing that you can assess when you decide to use these kinds of interview questions isis the candidate prepared? Is the interviewer able to compare and contrast specifics? So are they using the interview guide? So there are certain things that my interviewer is prepared to use behavioral questions because they have documented questions, its structured, they are looking at the answers, they can compare and contrast one interviewee to the other, and then also we look for consistencies in behaviors as interviews are answering the questions.
Iv What Answers Do Employers Want To Hear
Interviewers do not ask random behavioral questions. They customize them to reflect the realities of the industry, the specific workplace, and the advertised position. That means they will be looking to hear about skills and experiences that are relevant and transferable. Therefore, you want to think of examples that relate directly to the job you are applying for.
That being said, there are some general skill sets that nearly all recruiters will be looking to gauge using behavioral questions. These include:
- Time management
- How you cope under pressure
- How committed you are to seeing projects through
So, always keep these in mind, and make sure that your answers to behavioral interview questions showcase your skills and personality at their best.
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Mastering The Rest Of The Interview Process
Now that youve adequately prepared for the behavioral round, its time to triumph over the rest of the interview process. From tips on auditing your digital footprint to preparing for video interviews, we are here to help you with every step of your journey. Visit our 2020 Job Search Guide to continue your expedition.
Kforce is a professional solutions firm specializing in building and managing elite teams within Technology and Finance & Accounting with top employers nationwide. Merging your vision and our expertise, we help you achieve powerful results.
If You Prepare To Answer Behavioral Interview Questions You’ll Be Armed With Examples No Matter What You’re Asked
Be prepared for behavioral interview questions.
Behavioral interview questions aren’t exactly like your traditional job interview questions. When you’re asked a typical question like, “What would you do if you had a customer who wasn’t interested in buying the product?” you can make up a story, invent a scenario, and go from there. Standard issue job interview questionsgotta love ’em! But behavioral interview questions are not that black and white.
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Tell Me About A Time You Had To Build Rapport With A Coworker Or Client Whose Personality Was Different Than Yours
This behavioral interview question evaluates your interpersonal skills. The interviewer wants to understand what steps you take to bridge differing opinions or work styles.
Answer: While working on a website redesign project, I had to collaborate with team members from across the country and even in different countries. When we launched the project, the first few minutes of each meeting, I did a mini team building exercise where wed work on solving a light hearted problem together. Once that was completed, each member would deliver their 2 minute update.
What I found was that the exercises helped establish trust among the team and a shared sense of accountability. This made it easier to deliver tough messages or to ask people to work more quickly.
Learn About The Company
It can be helpful to research the company. As with the job listing, this research will give you a sense of the qualities and abilities that interviewers will prioritize.
If time permits, conduct informational interviews with professional contacts in the field to get input regarding the preferred skills, knowledge bases, and personal qualities of successful employees in that type of job.
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Behavioral Interview Questions And Sample Answers
Here are some common behavioral interview questions you may be asked during a job interview. Review the responses and consider how you would answer the questions, so you’ll be prepared to give a strong answer.
As you can see from the sample responses, it’s important to be ready with specific examples and anecdotes.
While you don’t need to memorize answers, have a sense of what experiences you would share and how to describe them to the interviewer. You’ll want your examples to be both clear and succinct.