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.
The dreaded statement at the end of an interview: "Do you have any questions for me?" We all know we are supposed to ask questions, but what?
Most job seekers know that questions about pay and benefits aren't appropriate at this stage, but what else should you ask?
Now is a great opportunity to dig into the specifics of the job. My favorite question - that is appropriate for just about any interview - is "Why did this position open up?". If there has been high turnover, why? Have the last few people been promoted? That means there is good opportunity for advancement. Is it a new position? The company appears to be growing. While there is no right answer to this question, it can tell you something about the culture.
Can you describe the company culture to me? Or, What is a typical day like here? Or, If you were to hire me, what would be my top priority for the first 90 days? Take the opportunity to dig deeper into the position and the organization. The hiring decision is a two way street and you should have as much information as you need to determine if this is an organization you want to work for.
And finally, always ask what the next steps are so you will know if and when to follow up.
This is one of the most commonly asked - and hardest to answer - interview questions there is. We all know we are going to be asked, we just don't generally know what to say.
As with any interview question, the first thing to do is to ask yourself "What are they trying to learn by asking this question?". In the case of Tell me about yourself, that could mean several difference things.
They may want to get to know you personally, they may want to hear about your job history, they may want to know about your education, or they may just be making small talk as you both get settled. How do you figure that out? Ask them what they would like to know, then answer accordingly.
The challenge with that solution is that most job seekers would not be comfortable asking. If that is the case, then you want to try to touch on as much high level information as you can which allows the interviewer to dig down on what interests them.
The best formula I've heard includes:
So, tell me about yourself.