Behavioral Interview Questions - And How to Answer Them

In: How To

How to answer behavioral interview questions

Passing an interview with brilliance takes preparation, confidence, and a little bit of luck. You should also consider the type of interview you’re attending – the success strategies for a group interview will differ from those you’ll be using in a panel interview. Today, we are going to explain how to answer the questions during a behavioral interview.

The concept behind the behavioral interview is the way you used to act in the past determines your attitude and performance in the future. So, to reveal your underlying attitude and skills, the interviewer will be asking about the particular situations in the past and how you handled them. In this article, career professionals of our resume writing help are going to reveal the preparation tips which will help you structure your answers in a way that appeals to the hiring authorities most. You’ll learn how to make the right impression even when answering to really unpleasant and tricky questions. So, let’s get started!

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7 tips to answer behavioral interview questions

The examples of behavioral interview questions

The questions that the company representative will be asking you depend on the target position, industry and the company’s policy. You’ll get a clue that the interviewer is conducting a behavioral interview when they ask you something like “What was the last time you failed and how did you handle it?” or “Did you have to resolve a conflict with a difficult yet important client?”. And, as you describe the past working situations, the interviewer will evaluate whether you have the necessary skills, approach to work and education to excel in their company.

How to ace the behavioral interview?

  1. Don’t come unprepared
    You can’t know in advance what behavioral interview questions you’ll be asked. However, you still need to prepare for an interview as you usually do. Otherwise, you’re going to mumble, stumble upon your own words or saying the first thing that came to your mind, leaving not the best impression with the interviewer.
    In addition to researching the company, take your time to recollect your major professional successes and challenges. You can even write them down so if the hiring manager asks you about the examples of successful teamwork, you’ll already have a prompt.
  2. Use the STAR approach
    Career counselors state that the STAR approach is an effective way to respond to the behavioral interview questions. It implies a certain structure that you should follow to give an informative and comprehensive answer.
    • - S – situation – outline the context in which you had to operate;
    • - T – task – describe the task you had to complete, the problem you had to resolve or the goal set;
    • - A – action – tell about the particular actions you’ve taken to complete the above-mentioned task;
    • - R – result – explain which result you’ve managed to achieve with your actions.
      Why the STAR technique works? Not only it helps you give a focused answer without rambling around the topic, but also allows you to demonstrate which skills you applied to reach the goal.
  3. Add figures and facts
    When telling the story as per the STAR approach, inject it with precise figures and specific results. You can also drop the name of the famous client or the boss who is an influential person in the industry. Instead of saying “thanks for the new management technique I introduced, we saved time”, say “The team started completing the tasks by 10% faster”. The facts show your focus on results and build creditably.
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  4. Show your cultural fit
    As you prepare for the interview, investigate the company’s corporate culture using their website, social media pages, and the stories of people who work there. When answering the hiring person’s questions, use the different angles to come across as a perfect cultural fit. For example, if the company encourages individualism and competition, put the stress on your own contribution and efforts. If the company values teamwork, tell the stories that illustrate the success of the team you were working in.
  5. Work on your body language
    We know that you’ve heard of the importance of body language and non-verbal signals before. However, it’s worth being repeated. The thing is if you describe yourself as a great negotiator and top performer while sitting with your shoulders rolled over and your legs crossed, the interviewer receives the discrepant impression. This is why even the tips for interview handshake are so important.
    A famous life coach Antony Robbins recommends ‘power posing’ to look and feel more confident. Before you enter the office, stand with your hands on the hips like Superman for 2 minutes. Taking this pose increases your testosterone levels by 20% and reduces stress.
  6. Avoid being negative
    The interview isn’t likely to cover your successes only. The interviewer will want to see how you handle conflicts (by the way, here’s some expert advice on the matter: http://resumeperk.com/blog/conflicts-at-work-most-common-types), resolve tough situations and deal with failures. So, you’ll probably be asked about the situation when you received a complaint from the client, failed to deliver the project on time or made a mistake which turned out to be costly for business. Avoid responding something like “I never make mistakes”. You should admit making a mistake or acting wrongly in the situation, but focus on the lessons you’ve learned from the situation. For example, if you made a mistake due to lack of knowledge, you can mention that you took the corporate training to avoid this kind of mistakes in the future.
  7. Know your key selling points and show them
    When doing your homework, experts recommend that you write down the three main features that set you apart from the similarly qualified candidates. For example, you might be a truly skillful communicator who others would refer to for advice, or constantly offer marketing initiatives that pay off. Mention these competencies when the right question arises. Since the behavioral questions don’t have right or wrong answers, it’s okay that you take a few seconds to put your thoughts together (you can breathe out or sip some water).

Although there’s plenty of behavioral interview question examples with answers online, don’t rely on them solely. Your career and your story are different and unique. Just take your time to memorize your most notable experience and use the practices above in your preparation, and you’ll see that the behavioral interview can be passed with ease.

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