Be prepared by knowing what to expect.

Behavioral job interviews, also referred to as competency-based interviews, are used by some of the world's top organizations. While traditional interviews often focus on open-ended questions that leave room for opinion-based responses, behavioral interviews ask questions about past experience and performance to shed light on how a candidate might handle situations in the future. As a result, behavioral-based interviews are considered a much more reliable choice to predict future on-the-job behavior compared to traditional interviews.  

 Types of behavioral-based interview questions

Behavioral interview questions help shed light on soft skills and competencies vital for the position in question and overall success within an organization. The various types of behavioral interview questions typically begin with:

·  Give me an example of a time …

·  Tell me about …

·  Share about a specific moment when …

·  Describe a time …

·  How did you handle a situation where …

 By asking these types of questions, interviewers get a glimpse into past actions, real-life responses, and results with hopes of also getting a glimpse into possible future actions, responses, and results. 

Specific examples of behavioral-based interview questions

When interviewers develop behavioral interview questions, they often do so with specific competencies in mind. Read on for some examples of behavioral interview questions you might encounter.  

Leadership and influence

1. Give me an example of a time when you successfully motivated a co-worker or your team.

2. Tell me about a time when you had to take on the workload of a co-worker or manager due to their absence.

3. Describe a time when you managed an underperforming employee. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome? 

Adaptability

1. Tell me about a time that you felt you failed at a project or goal. How did you handle the situation? 

2. Give me an example of a time when you were moved to a new team. How did you acclimate to the new work environment? 

3. Describe how you came-up-to-speed in your first position. What were some of the challenges you faced? What went well? 

Time Management

1. Give me an example of a time when you missed, or almost missed, a deadline. How did you handle the situation? What changes did you make to avoid making the same mistake again?

2. We often have a lot of items on our to-do lists. Tell me about a time that you felt overwhelmed by all the tasks you were facing. What did you do to handle the list and stress?

3. Describe a long-term project that you oversaw. What steps did you take to keep things on schedule to meet goals and deadlines? 

Problem-solving

1. Give me an example of a time when you made a mistake. How did you handle and correct it?

2. Describe your goal-setting process. 

3. Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with your manager or a co-worker. How did you handle the situation?

Listening and communication

1. Tell me about a time when you were leading a virtual team. How did you communicate with team members and ensure the team remained connected?

2. Give me an example of a time when your approach to a problem or project was unpopular. How did you communicate with disgruntled co-workers? How did you get them on board?

3. Describe a time when you were asked to develop written communications and content for a significant leadership presentation.

Client-focused 

1. Give me an example of a time when you had to provide a customer or client with unfavorable news, or you did not meet their expectations. How did you handle it? What was the result?

2. Provide some examples of times when you had positive experiences with clients. What do you contribute to your success?

3. Describe a time when you were working with a challenging customer. How did you handle it?

The above examples of behavioral-based interview questions are a great start. If you're wondering what types of questions your interviewer might ask, look at the job description, and research the company to determine the values and competencies they seek. Develop your list of questions from there. 

As you practice your responses, the STAR method works well to develop focused and detailed answers that highlight your efforts and accomplishments and put you that much closer to landing the job. 

Not sure if you're ready for a behavioral interview? Our coaches can help. 

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