What is a Behavioral Interview?
Behavioral interviews are based on the premise that the best way to predict the future is to examine past behavior. Behavioral interviewing is becoming more widespread and many employers prefer these questions as they feel that they help to make more accurate hiring decisions. Questions are designed to elicit responses from the candidate about how he or she handled certain situations in the past. This allows the interviewer to compare a potential employee’s actions with his/her self-proclaimed attributes.
Think of situations that occurred on the job that effectively demonstrate that you possess some of the most commonly sought after employee traits: leadership, customer service, problem-solving skills, initiative, etc. Prepare short descriptions of the situation using the following method:
S – Describe the Situation
T – What Task (s) did you identify that needed to be completed?
A – What Action did you take?
R – What was the Result of your action?
• Don’t exaggerate – be honest!
• Be specific. Don’t generalize events; give a detailed account of one event.
• Stay focused – do not ramble!
An example using the S.T.A.R. method: Can you tell me about a time you solved a problem?
Situation – At the last minute, my boss had asked me to reserve a conference room at a nearby hotel for an important meeting of the area directors of our company. This meeting was to be held later that same week. Unfortunately, because this request was so last minute, I was unable to find a hotel with an available conference room for the event.
Task – I needed to find a space large enough to accommodate the 200 attendees of this meeting on very short notice.
Action – Since it was summertime, it occurred to me that the local university may have an available classroom that may meet our needs. I called the events planner of the school and arranged for our meeting to be held in an amphitheater-style classroom complete with PC/internet access and a projection screen at the front of the room – all for half the cost of a conference room at a hotel!
Result – The meeting was a success. My boss was impressed with my solution and doubly impressed with the savings to the company!
POSSIBLE QUESTIONS YOU MAY BE ASKED DURING A BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW:
• Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment in solving a problem.
• Describe a time on any job that you held in which you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
• Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
• Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication skills in order to get an important point across.
• Give an example of an important goal which you had set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it.
• Tell me of a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in to get a job done.
• Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you or vice versa.
• Tell me about a time when you worked under tremendous stress.
• Give me an example of a problem you faced on any job and how you went about solving it.
• Describe an experience when you dealt with an angry customer.
• When was the last time you “broke the rules” (thought outside the box) and how did you do it?
• What was the wildest idea you had in the past year? What did you do about it?
• What is the most difficult decision you’ve had to make and how did you arrive at your decision?