Now more than ever before, hiring managers are integrating behavioral questions into their interviews. These questions are designed to help the interviewer determine whether or not an applicant possesses the qualities, skills, and traits to be successful on the job. It is essential to prepare for these questions so that you aren’t caught off guard during an interview.
What Are Behavioral Interview Questions?
Behavioral interview questions are designed to give the interviewer a look at how you’ve handled yourself in the past. Traditional interviews rely on hypothetical questions like, “How would you handle it if your boss asks you X?” “What would you do if a customer presented you with Y problem?” It’s relatively easy to craft answers to these questions, whether or not you’d actually handle yourself in the manner you describe. Therefore, hypothetical questions actually provide very little insight for employers.
Behavioral questions, on the other hand, ask you for examples of how you handled specific situations in the past. They often begin with phrases like, “Tell me about a time when X.” They may include questions such as:
- Tell me about a time when you had to take initiative to solve a difficult problem.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to complete a project when you did not have all of the information you needed in order to get started.
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a particularly difficult customer.
- Give me an example of a challenge you faced in your current job and how you solved it.
- Tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem by tackling tasks outside of your job description.
Assessing how you’ve handled specific situations in the past can help the interviewer determine how you will handle those types of situations in the future.
How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions
Preparation is the key to successfully answering behavioral interview questions. While there is no way to determine just which questions you will be asked, there are some steps you can take to determine the types of questions that might be likely:
- Read through the job description. What are the responsibilities of the role? What challenges might that person face?
- For each of those responsibilities and challenges, generate examples from your career that illustrate how you would excel on the job.
- For each example, write an outline of an answer that addresses the problem, your response, and the outcome.
- Practice your answers with a friend, family member, or with a professional recruiter. Don’t memorize your answers. Simply practice telling your stories out loud in a concise manner.
As a job seeker, it’s important not to fear behavioral interview questions. Instead, look at them as an opportunity to showcase examples of how you rise to challenges and overcome them. If you are a professional in sales, marketing, engineering, IT or operations looking for new opportunities, contact The Prevalent Group today. Our team of executive recruiters can help match you with a position that aligns with your long-term career goals, and we can work with you to help perfect your interviewing skills to ensure that you enter each interview with poise and confidence.