How To Handle Behavioral Interview Questions

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Over the past several years, the behavioral interview format has come to be preferred by many employers. It does have several distinct advantages over a traditional ‘directed’ format. But first of all, exactly what is a behavioral interview?

Basically a behavioral interview is one where you are asked questions about your actual behavior in various situations – real-life or hypothetical. In a traditional format, they attempt to get the same info by asking for your opinion about something.

Here’s an example that should make the difference clear.

A traditional interview might pose a question like ‘What are your views of ethics in the workplace?’ A corresponding behavioral interview question might be, ‘Tell me of a time when you faced an ethical dilemma at work.’

The theory is that it is more difficult to fake a described situation than to express opinions that might be contrary to what you actually believe and how you behave in real-life.

Thus, this type of interview is supposed to give the employer a better insight into the job applicant.

The key to winning at a behavioral interview is to be prepared with a number of actual examples of how you handled work situations. These examples should showcase one or more of your skills and abilities that tie in with what the interviewer is looking for.

Once you do basic research on the employer and determine exactly what they want, you’ll be in a position to formulate effective answers to these behavioral interview questions. Check out the free interview answers on this site.

  • Tell me something about yourself. (This is a common starter in all types of job interviews. See this link on how to answer this question.)
  • Tell me about when you faced a discipline problem among your subordinates.
  • Which weakness of yours has caused greatest problems at work? Give me an example.
  • Tell me about a situation where you faced great stress at work. How did you handle it?
  • Give me an example of how you handled a personality clash with your boss.
  • Tell me about an ethical dilemma you faced at work.
  • Describe how an adverse situation you faced outside work negatively impacted your work.
  • What activities do you do on a typical day at work? What percentage of time do you spend on each?
  • Exactly how have your responsibilities changed over the past three years?
  • Give me an example of a time when you showed great initiative.
  • Your best customer is threatening to go to the competition because of a service problem he faces. What will you do in this situation?
  • If you are called upon to dismiss a subordinate from his job, how will you handle it?
  • Give me an example of an instance when you had to lead a team and the team didn’t want your leadership.

As you can see, behavioral interview questions are all about actual or simulated situations and your responses to them. This calls for careful advance preparation. Do not try to wing it at the job interview!

See this link for information on how to handle behavioral interview questions.