How To Answer Behavioral Interview Questions Appropriately
First of all you want to always be honest. Know which behaviors (sometimes referred to as competencies) are required in the position by reviewing the job description and requi~ements. Looking back at your past jobs will also help you prepare good examples.
Rather than focusing on your resume and reviewing your accomplishments you have written on paper, the "behavioral" interviewer will ask you open-ended questions that will cause you to describe real circumstances and your responses to them.
General answers about behavior are not what the employer is looking for. You must describe in detail a particular event, project, or experience and how you dealt with the situation, and what the outcome was. The premise behind behavioral interviewing is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in similar situations.
Although it will be more difficult to prepare concrete answers in advance to these interviews (as opposed to traditional ones), you can and should take some time to review.....
- your understanding of yourself,
- your past successes and
- concrete examples of your accomplishments.
Work on honesty, sincerity and candidness. When you start to tell a behavioral story, the interviewer may try to sort out the details by understanding your behaviors.
When answering "behavioral questions", stay clear of the pat answers that interviewers are accustomed to hearing. For example, don't try to portray yourself as a person that never makes mistakes or as a person whose only failings are that you work too much, are too dedicated, too loyal, etc.
Be honest about your mistakes since the experienced interviewer will be looking for "progress" and"growth", not "perfection". But, do give an example ofhow you learned from your mistake and how that experience has benefited you in the long run.
Be concise and to the point! In all behavioral answers, the interviewer wants to hear.....
•:.A brief description of the problem, challenge or situation.
•:.What your action was & how you decided that action.
•:.A brief description of the result of your action and your assessment of its result.
Describe the situation that you were in, the problem you faced, or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand what happened. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event. If you have little work experience refer to situations that occurred while you were at school, playing on a sports team, or any extra-curricular activities you were involved in.
Describe what you did (action you took) and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did --not the efforts of the team. Don't tell what you might do, tell what you did.
Describe the results of your action. What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?
Following is an example of a situation:
Situation: Advertising revenue was falling off for my college newspaper and large numbers of long-term advertisers were not renewing contracts.
•: Action: I designed a new promotional packet to go with the rate sheet and compared the benefits of our circulation with other ad media in the area. I also set-up a special training session for the account executives with a School of Business Administration professor who discussed competitiv.e selling strategies.
• Result: We signed contracts with 15 former advertisers for daily ads and 5 for special supplements. We increased our new advertisers by 20 percent [quantities are always good] overthe same period last year.
The pressure for a candidate to deliver from day one has forced employers to base their hiring
decisions on what you can contribute now. Hiring managers are increasingly attracted to behavior-based interviews because of its accuracy in predicting whether you'll deliver from day one or not.
We will review some common behavioral questions asked in an interview.
1.Describe a situation when working with a team produced more successful results than if you had completed the project on your own.
2. Have you ever had a conflict with a peer or supervisor? How was it resolved?
3. If you know your boss is 100% wrong about something, how would you handle it?
4. What important goals have you achieved in the past year?
5.Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses at work that tested your coping skills. What did you do?
6. What have you learned from your mistakes?
7. What did you like best and least about your previousjob?
8. Give me an example of a problem you faced on the job, and tell me how you solved it.