Behavioral interview questions are becoming increasingly more popular in interviews. They are an easy way to get a feel for how an employee will act on the job. And yet, most candidates are stumped when asked a behavioral question.
What is a behavioral interview question? Most behavioral questions start with "Tell me about a time when", but any question asking for a specific example of how something has been handled is considered behavioral.
Why are they asked? Common psychology says that if you did something a particular way in the past, you are likely to do it that way again in the future. So if I ask you to tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client, or when you had to make a difficult decision, I'm trying to learn how you work through problems.
How should you answer? There is no one right answer to a behavioral question. Be truthful, and try to be specific. Plan ahead by coming up with five or six work stories. If you cannot think of a work example, look at school or volunteer experience. If those don't exist, consider personal examples. If all else fails, tell the interviewer how you think you would handle the situation.
S.T.A.R. S.T.A.R. stands for Situation Task Action Result. If you tell your story using these four points, it will help to ensure you have covered all of the relevant information. Situation: background, set the scene. Task or Target: when, where, who, what were the specifics. Action: what action did you take, skills did you use. Result: what was the outcome of the situation.
Plan ahead. Google behavioral interview questions (or reach out to us for a common list) and write out your answers using the STAR method. You don't want to memorize the answer word for word, but if you know your story ahead of time, and remember a few key words, you will be ready to answer most behavioral questions.