Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Techniques to Answer Behavioral Based Interview Questions

The traditional way of answering in interviews has become ineffective yielding fewer results. In the present scenario, Behavioural interviewing is in vogue and is considered as a widely used method of job interviewing. The technique concerning behavioral interview is used by employers to assess a candidate’s experience and behavior, as the name suggest, to determine the likeliness of success. This approach is based on the fact that past experiences and performance predicts the future behavior of the applicant. In reality, this type of interviewing shows 55% correct prediction on-the-job behavior, while traditional ways are predictive to only 10 %.

So, what constitutes and differentiates the behavioral ways of interviewing from the traditional approach. The interviewer marks out desired skills and behaviors for the job and then throws up open-ended questions and statements to obtain responses. A specific rating system is established and selected responses are matched with the criteria during the interview. The best part of this type of interviewing is, even if you don’t have much job experience, companies relate your past experiences – for example from graduate school, student activities, volunteering, associations with an organization. – to the job, you are interviewed for.

Generally, behavioral interviews questions popularly start with "Tell me about a time..." because interviewer wants to know how you've handled similarly difficult situations in the past predicting how you will deal with them if given a chance. Invest time in thinking about your acquired skill sets, strengths, and instances to showcase them to the employer. Do enough research on the company to identify what skills are required for the particular job and tailor your answer specific to them. The most commonly employed technique in the interview is Star Technique.

The STAR Technique

All good experiences have a beginning, where the Situation or Task occurs, a mid-period, (where the action occurs) and an end-point (the result of your conduct). Remember, you need to showcase discuss what you accomplished by narrating the story.

The STAR Technique for Answering Interview Questions

  • S/T- Situation/ Task
  • A-Action
  • R- Result/ Relevance

This technique is popular and will make sure you answer all aspects of the question that would be asked in the interview.

Some Common Behaviour-Based Questions:

1. Talk about a time when you had to work closely with a co-worker whose character was quite different from yours.
2. Give me an example of a time where you faced a difficult situation while working on a team and how did you deal with it?
3. Mention a time when you found it hard to build rapport with someone important and if you were able to overcome that?
4. Describe a time when it was really important to create a really good impression with your client. How did you go about doing that?
5. Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
6. Tell me about a situation when you delighted the customer with your service.
7. Tell me about a time when you were in a pressurised situation. How did you get out of it?
8. Describe a time when your team was going through some rapid change. Did that impact you, and how have you adapted?
9. Give me an example of a situation when you had to think on your feet to delicately overcome a difficult situation.
10. Tell me about a time where you were very planned to meet all your top goals and priorities.
11. Describe a long-term project that you managed. How did you keep everything moving along in a timely manner?
12. Sometimes it’s just not possible to get everything on your to-do list done. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?
13. Give me an example of a time in which you felt you were able to motivate your co-workers at work.
14. Tell me about a time when you dealt effectively with conflict.
15. Describe the most significant written document, report or presentation that you have completed.


  1. To prepare properly for the behavioral question follow the STAR strategy. Recall situations that involved beneficial behaviors especially when it comes to coursework, planning, work experience, teamwork, leadership, initiative, and customer service.
  2. Prepare short accounts of each situation with keywords so that you can be ready to provide details when asked. Be sure to follow the STAR technique of following the beginning, middle, ending of each situation and be ready to describe it.
  3. Describe what was the task at hand, your course of action, and the final outcome for the situation. And make sure the story you described reflects positively of yourselves, though the result may not be ideal.
  4. Be honest of your situations and stories. Don't elaborate to make it boring or omit an important part of the story to loose connectivity. The interviewer is smart enough to find out if you're making it up or you are building castles in the air.
  5. Be specific and to the point. Don't generalize about all the situations, instead give a detailed accounting and provide examples. Give variations of your stories; don’t pull them all from just one aspect of your life.
  6. Emphasize about your role in the situation – mentioning what YOU did. Basically, make sure you become the center point of the story and make the other facts revolve around you - not your manager or colleague. Most of the answers should focus on the final outcome and relevance to the situation and position.

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