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How To Prepare For A Behavioral Based Interview

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Lets Look At A Sample Star Response

How to prepare for a behavioral interview

Its time to put everything weve learned into practice with a sample behavioral question and answer. Lets walk through a STAR response using one of the sample conflict questions from above.

Question: Walk me through a past conflict. What strategies did you use to resolve it?

Sample Answer:

Lets Break It Down

Behavioral Job Interview Questions About Communication Skills

Question #1 – How do you handle a disagreement with your colleagues? Give me an example of when you successfully persuaded someone to see things your way at work.

Situation: When I was working as a recruiter at Company X, I noticed that one of the candidates who had sent in their application was perfect for the role. Though he didnt have a university diploma and his resume wasnt too polished, reading his cover letter, it was obvious he knew the industry and had delivered clear results.

Task: I thought it was worth giving him a shot, but my supervisor didnt see it that way. She skimmed through the resume and told me not to waste time, and just discard the candidate.

Action: I was, however, still pretty confident in the candidate, so I talked to the supervisor over lunch. I took a bit of an indirect approach, though. Instead of trying to directly pitch the candidate, I asked her to clarify the job description a bit more. We went a bit in-depth on what, exactly, we were looking for in the candidate, and once we were done discussing it, I told her that we happened to have a candidate that possessed all the relevant experience, but his resume was a bit weak.

Results: Convinced, the supervisor decided to give the candidates application a more in-depth look and realized that they were, in fact, very qualified. She thanked me for bringing it up and agreed with me that the candidate was worth calling in for an interview.

Whats A Behavioral Interview Question

Behavioral interview questions are questions based on how you acted in a specific situation.

Theyre meant to gauge how you react to stress, whats your skill-level, and how you conduct yourself in a professional environment.

They also allow the interviewer to get a much better understanding of you as a candidate.

Just about anyone can answer a question like whats your greatest strength?

Not everyone, however, can answer a question like:

Can you tell us of a time when you went above and beyond the line of duty?

After all, to answer such a behavioral interview question, you really need to have some serious work experience and achievements.

Here are a few other popular examples of behavioral job interview questions:

  • Give us an example of a goal you failed to meet, and how you handled the situation.
  • Tell us about a time when you solved a problem at your job that wasnt part of your job description.
  • Tell us of a time when you took a risky decision and it didnt pay off.

Pretty simple, right?

Now, were going to teach you a proven method on how to answer every single behavioral interview question successfully.

Read Also: Interview Questions To Ask A Cfo

The Best Way To Prepare

What’s the best way to prepare? It’s important to remember that you will not know what type of interview will take place until you are sitting in the interview room. So, prepare answers to traditional interview questions.

Then, since you don’t know exactly what situations you will be asked about if it’s a behavioral interview, refresh your memory and consider some special situations you have dealt with or projects you have worked on. You may be able to use them to help frame responses.

Prepare stories that illustrate times when you have successfully solved problems or performed memorably.

The stories will be useful to help you respond meaningfully in a behavioral interview. You can research the STAR interview response technique, which offers a way of answering behavioral interview questions.

Finally, review the job description, if you have it, or the job posting or ad. You may be able to get a sense of what skills and behavioral characteristics the employer is seeking from reading the job description and position requirements.

Tips To Answer Behavior Based Interview:

How to Prepare for a Behavioral Based Interview
  • Most convenient and popular method used to answer questions at the behavior based interviews is the Star Format. The star format includes Situation, for example the candidate will have to describe some recent challenge, or situation in which one found themselves in. Following this, the person will have to focus on the task, as in what one expects to achieve from it.
  • Then comes the action, or how the applicant reacted to the situation or even to have a look at the substitute options. Then Finally, comes the results, as in the outcome of the challenge or situation. The candidate will have to explain if the person was able to achieve ones goals at the end of it. One can also state what one learned from it.
  • Also Check: Questions To Ask Cfo In Interview

    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.

    Describe A Time When Your Team Or Company Was Undergoing Some Change How Did That Impact You And How Did You Adapt

    Interviewers want to know how you handle organizational change. Your story doesnt necessarily need to be about some massive company reorg, it could even be about a new system for sharing files. The key to making sure interviewers get what they need from your answer is describing the steps you took to adapt and then generalizing your experience.

    So you might say:

    This past year my manager left and the company was unable to fill her position for several months. This completely upended the way our team operated since shed been the one who made sure we were all on the same page. After a couple of weeks of missed deadlines and miscommunications on the team, I sheepishly suggested we do a quick daily check-in. It took no more than 10 minutes a day, but it helped us get back to working efficiently again and really reduced the frustrations that had started brewing. It helped me understand that adapting to change requires understanding the gaps a change creates and thinking creatively about how to fill them.

    Recommended Reading: Cfo Interview

    What Is A Behavioral Interview And How To Prepare For One

    Not sure how to answer behavior-based interview questions? Here’s what you need to know.

    Whether you’re an active job seeker, or you’re considering a career move that will soon place you into the applicant pool, giving some thought to the interview process will put you in a better position to land the job. In today’s world, many organizations and hiring managers are turning to behavior-based interviews instead of traditional interviews to help them identify job candidates for long-term success.

    Also called competency-based interviews, this format is popular with hiring managers across industries. ZipRecruiter reported that in a January 2015 ExecuSearch Regional Hiring Outlook survey that focused on northeastern United States, 63 percent of respondents replied that they used behavioral questions during interviews.

    So, what does a behavioral interview mean for candidates? Should you expect a trap? Will the hiring manager try to throw you off your game? Is the conversation about to get confrontational? Before you get too nervous, we explain everything there is to know about behavioral interviews.

    Give Me An Example Of A Time When You Were Able To Successfully Persuade Someone To See Things Your Way At Work

    How to Answer “Behavior Based Interview Questions” – Interview Tip

    No matter your role, communication skills are critical and interviewers are going to keep asking related questions until theyre sure yours are up to snuff. When asked about persuasion, emotional intelligence and empathetic listening can be good pieces of your communication skill set to emphasize.

    A good answer could sound like:

    I once was tasked with pulling the plug on a project. Of course, this can be incredibly disappointing for those affected. Done poorly it could destroy a teams morale. I cant discuss the project too much, but suffice it to say that everyone on it worked really hard and it took some serious convincing for them to agree this was the right choice. Rather than letting the idea take hold that months of their work was being scrapped, I proactively shared with everyone all the ways their work would still be utilized by different parts of the company. Its not what they had intended, but seeing that their work wasnt wasted softened the blow and allowed me to share the hard truth that we wouldnt be able to realize our original goals. Taking the time to consider what negative reaction they might have and making the effort to be empathetic allowed me to directly address their concerns and show them that this was the best way forward.

    Also Check: Preparing For System Design Interview

    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.

    Behavioral Job Interview Questions About Adaptability

    Question #1 – Tell me about your first job in the industry. What did you do to learn the ropes?

    Situation: Well, my first job in the field was as a junior dev ops engineer. While I did have extensive knowledge of the field, I didnt have too much experience doing it.

    Task: This made it very hard for me to get started with the job. While I was working almost all the time, I wasnt getting too much done.

    Action: So, what I did was, taking a lot of my personal time to really work and learn the ins and outs of dev ops. I also made sure to talk to my team members and get their input on daily tasks.

    Results: A few months into the job, I managed to learn the ropes and ended up being a lot more productive.

    Question #2 – Can you give me an example of when you had to adapt to a new and sudden change in the workplace? What happened?

    Situation: Sure thing. In my previous position as an account manager at Company X, we had to suddenly change all of our CRM software and move all the data to a new tool. The CRM tool wed been using till now wasnt fit for a growing team, and on top of that, they were upping their pricing, so it wasnt really worthwhile for us.

    Task: I was put in charge of finding the replacement CRM, as I was the one who knew the previous one inside-out. And this was also an opportunity for me to clean up our outdated info and start fresh. All the while, I still had to handle my daily responsibilities and as usual.

    Also Check: How To Prepare System Design Interview

    Common Behavioral Interview Questions And Themes

    Behavioral interview questions vary widely, and theres no way to predict the exact list of questions youll be asked. The good news, however, is that these behavioral questions tend to relate to common themes such as teamwork, leadership, conflict, and problem-solving.

    Weve outlined these themes below, including a few sample behavioral interview questions for each. Although the exact wording may differ in an interview, the themes your interviewer wants to hear about will likely remain the same.

    As you read through these themes, identify two to three success stories for each topic. And remember that there may be additional themes that pertain to the job for which youre interviewing. Take your cues from the job description and what you know about the type of work you do.

    If youre still unsure what type of work youre qualified to do, upload your resume to Chegg CareerMatch for a list of jobs that are a good fit for your skill set.

    What Is Behavior Based Interview

    180 Behavioral Job Interview Questions You Need to Know
  • In a behavior based interview, the candidate will have to explain oness past conduct or activities, so that the interviewer can evaluate if the person is fit for the job profile.
  • To look at an example, the recruiter could ask the applicant to talk about the experience when one dealt with difficulties in the project or of situation when one exhibited leadership qualities. The answer given by the applicant is expected to be an indicator of the persons professional behavior.
  • The behavioral interview is also called as competency based interview. What makes it distinct from the traditional mode of interview is that the questions asked at the interview vary, so that this mode of interview or behavioral interviews are expected to be more truthful in assessing a candidates skills and capability to hold a position.
  • The basis for this assessment is to see how action at an earlier situation, would equate to future performance. A relatively new method of screening as compared to the earlier traditional type of interviews, this method requires a candidate or applicant to be more precise and clear, even providing tangible examples to support their answers.
  • The interviewer knows well to base the questions that have answers which would reflect the qualities that the interviewer would like for his candidate to have. All the applicants are also to be evaluated based on the same behavioral criteria.
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    Tell Me About A Time When You Worked Under Either Extremely Close Supervision Or Extremely Loose Supervision How Did You Handle That

    This question is getting at how you like to be managed, but its phrased in a way that may tempt you to speak negatively of a previous employer. Stay focused and keep your response neutral to positive.

    So you could say:

    As an intern at Online Content Co., I felt like my every move required approval, which isnt everyones cup of tea, but I really appreciated it back when I had no idea what I was doing. I actually credit the close supervision I got for helping me pick things up so quickly. After I officially joined the team as a staff writer though, it started to feel a bit restrictive. I thought once I proved myself it would get better, but after a few more months with no significant change a mentor helped me see that I wasnt being proactive about communicating with my manager. Rather than going to my one-on-one meetings with nothing prepared and being peppered with questions, I started arriving with an update of all my ongoing work. All the same information got conveyed, but instead of feeling micromanaged, I felt empowered and it made all the difference in my experience.

    What Are Behavioral Based Interviews

    The behavioral based interviewing style focuses on how you have dealt with specific workplace situations in the past, which correlate to major competencies that have been identified as critical for an employee to be a high-performer and most successful in the role which you are applying for. Some examples of competencies which could be evaluated are: Safety Focus Business Results Orientation Decision-Making Customer Focus Decision Making Financial Acumen Influence Organizational Awareness and more.

    This short guide will help you prepare for what you can expect with these types of questions, and how to focus your answers for the most effective, concise response.

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    Answering A Behavioral Question

    Behavioral questions usually are open-ended. They can cover a very wide range and its not possible to prepare for every question that can be asked. What helps, however, is to relate the question to commonly asked questions that you have prepared for and answer accordingly. The following 5-step process will help you answer a behavioral question during an interview.

    We will use the following example

    Example Question: Tell us about a time when you had to convince senior executives

    What Is A Behavioral Interview

    How To Prepare for a Behavioral Interview

    A behavioral interview is a popular interview technique employers use to assess job candidates based on their past behavior. For example, instead of asking hypothetical questions like, How would you react if you were under a lot of pressure at work? they would instead ask situational questions like, Describe a time you were under a lot of pressure at work. How did you react?

    In this quick video, Indeed recruiter Evan explains how you can prepare and answer these questions.

    Here are some important tips to consider when preparing for your next behavioral interview:

    • Study the job description.

    • Review major projects youve worked on.

    • Revisit previous job performance reviews.

    • Make a list of your professional accomplishments.

    • Use the STAR method to structure your response.

    • Be open and honest in your answer.

    • Practice your interview responses aloud.

    • Keep your answers under two minutes.

    With these kinds of questions, interviewers are usually trying to learn three things: First, they want to know how you behaved in a real-world situation. Second, they want to understand the measurable value you added to that situation. Finally, they are trying to learn how you define something like pressure at worka concept different people might interpret differently.

    Related: The Most Common Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

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