Interviewers use behavioral interview questions to garner information from your past experience in order to predict your future success on the job. Behavioral interview questions help the interviewer to gather evidence of strength in critical behaviors (also known as competencies) important for the job you are applying for.
How the Behavioral Interview Works
During this type of interview, the hiring manager will ask you to provide specific examples of how you handled past situations, they will then ask probing follow up questions to identify the behaviors you exhibited. The interviewer will then use this information to predict how you are likely to behave in similar situations in the future.
Questions usually begin with:
– Describe a situation were you were involved in…..
– Give me an example of a time when you did xyz……
– Talk to me about when you were under pressure doing xyz………
The interviewer will then use your answer to these very open questions to probe the area deeper, so that they can get as full a picture as possible as to what you did in a particular situation. The questions are designed to pinpoint specific behaviors you demonstrated and gather evidence around them:
Expect typical follow up questions to look like this:
– So, who else was involved in that?
– So, what did you do next?
– Why did you choose that option and not the first option?
When answering these types of questions it is wise to focus on the specifics of each situation rather than answer the question in general terms, this allows the interviewer to gather more evidence and award you extra points. The best way to do this is to frame your answers using the STAR method. This method is described further in behavioral interview questions and answers.
In the behavioral interview, questions can be framed to elicit either positive or negative responses. For example “can you provide an example of when things went well” is a question designed to elicit a positive response, whereas “can you provide an example of when things did not go as planned” is an example of a question designed to elicit a negative response.
It is absolutly crucial for you to be aware of wheter or not the question is attempting to draw you into a positive or negative response, because this will determine how you respond to the question. Take a look at the examples below to become familiar with the two different types of questions:
Examples of Positively Framed Behavioral Questions:
– Describe a time when you used your influencing skills to successfully influence an outcome?
– Describe a tough decision you had to make?
– Describe a time when an innovative idea you had worked out well?
– Talk to me about how you plan and prioritise your day?
– Describe how you get other team members to come on board to your ideas?
Examples of Negatively Framed Behavioral Questions:
– Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone you didn’t like?
– Describe a time when you failed to plan properly?
– Tell me about a time when a project or piece of work didn’t go to plan?
– Describe a conflict situation that you were involved in that didn’t work out?
– Tell me about the last time you missed a deadline at work?
How To Handel Questions Designed to Elicit a Negative Response:
Candidates who are successful navigating these questions never take the bait! They do what is required, which is to explain the situation in specific rather than general terms, then instead of focusing on the negative outcomes, they focus on the positive results or learning’s derived from each event.
“Tell me about a time when things did not go to plan in work?”
“We agreed to work on a project for an important client, they always set very demanding deadlines, however this time it was particularly tight. As project leader half way through the task, I could see the team was struggling and took the initiative to renegotiate the timelines with the client. Even though we didn’t complete the project on time, the client was delighted with the end result as we finished it to a very high quality standard, above their expectations. Last month we won another major contract with them for similar work.”
The interviewer knows that not all situations in work go according to plan, so they are trying to ascertain if you are likely to be authentic and honest in your answer as well as how you handle these types of situations. So, provide a candid response, but always end on a positive note by describing what you did to remedy the situation or what you learned from the situation.
Remember, behavioral interview questions attempt to predict your future behavior by gathering information on past behavior. If you bear this in mind when answering these types of questions you will give the interviewer the evidence they need to award you the top scores in the interview.
Originally posted 2016-09-06 15:32:27.