In a behavioral job interview, the company asks questions about your past work experiences to find out if you have the skills needed for the job.
Behavioral interview questions are about how you have handled various work situations in the past. These questions reveal things about your skills, abilities, and personality. The logic behind behavioral interview questions is that how you behaved in the past reflects how you will behave in the future.
You will need to respond with specific examples of how you have previously handled situations in the workplace. Answers to behavior interview questions should in the form of a brief anecdote that illustrates your strengths and skills as a worker. In your answers, provide background on the situation, the specific actions you took, and the results.
Review examples of the questions you may be asked during a behavioral job interview and think about how you would answer them. That way you’ll be prepared ahead of time, rather than having to think of a response on the spot during the interview.
Formula for Answering Behavioral Interview Questions
When answering a behavioral interview question, use the STAR technique. This is a useful strategy for answering interview questions in which you must answer with an anecdote. There are four steps to answering using the STAR technique: situation, task, action, and results.
- (S) Situation. Describe the situation in which the event took place.
- (T) Task. Describe the task you were asked to complete. If there was a particular problem or issue you were trying to solve, describe that here.
- (A) Action. Explain what action you took to complete the task or solve the problem.
- (R) Results. Explain the result of your actions. For example, if your actions resulted in completing a task, resolving a conflict, improving your company’s sales record, etc., explain this. Try to focus on how your actions resulted in a success for the company.
Tips for Answering Behavioral Interview Questions
Take your time. It is okay to take a moment before answering the question. Take a breath, or a sip of water, or simply pause. This will give you time to calm any nerves, and think of an anecdote that appropriately answers the question.
Prepare ahead of time. Review common behavioral interview questions ahead of time, and practice your answers. This will help you ensure that you have a number of thoughtful anecdotes ready to answer any behavioral interview questions.
Follow the STAR technique. Be sure to answer any questions using the STAR technique described above. By completing each of the four steps, you will provide a thorough answer.
Be positive. Often, behavioral interview questions require you to focus on a problem or a failure at work. Describe the problem or issue you faced, but do not focus too much on the negative. Quickly shift to describing how you solved the problem, and the positive results.
Common Behavioral Interview Questions
Read through the behavioral interview questions below. Practice answering some of these, using the STAR technique to provide complete answers. Also read here for even more common behavioral interview questions and sample answers.
- Give an example of an occasion when you used logic to solve a problem.
- Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.
- Give an example of a goal you didn’t meet and how you handled it.
- Describe a stressful situation at work and how you handled it.
- Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure.
- How do you handle a challenge?
- Have you been in a situation where you didn’t have enough work to do?
- Have you ever made a mistake? How did you handle it?
- Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled implementing it.
- Did you ever make a risky decision? Why? How did you handle it?
- Did you ever postpone making a decision? Why?
- Have you ever dealt with company policy you weren’t in agreement with? How?
- Have you gone above and beyond the call of duty? If so, how?
- When you worked on multiple projects how did you prioritize?
- How did you handle meeting a tight deadline?
- Give an example of how you set goals and achieve them.
- Did you ever not meet your goals? Why?
- What do you do when your schedule is interrupted? Give an example of how you handle it.
- Have you had to convince a team to work on a project they weren’t thrilled about? How did you do it?
- Give an example of how you’ve worked on a team.
- Have you handled a difficult situation with a co-worker? How?
- What do you do if you disagree with a co-worker?
- Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or co-workers.
- Do you listen? Give an example of when you did or when you didn’t listen.
- Have you handled a difficult situation with a supervisor? How?
- Have you handled a difficult situation with another department? How?
- Have you handled a difficult situation with a client or vendor? How?
- What do you do if you disagree with your boss?