Thursday, November 25, 2010

How to Handle Behavioural Interview Questions

Have you recently shown up to an interview feeling fully prepared to prove that you would be the best person for the job?

You thought you had it all figured out and had come prepared to tell the interviewer why you would be a perfect fit for the position.

However, when you sat down and the interviewer started asking you questions about your past work-related behaviour, it threw you off your game. You were not prepared and could not remember examples of your behaviour in past jobs. Who knew that the way you handled a difficult situation with a co-worker on your IT team several years ago would be pertinent in obtaining a new position?

Behavioural interview questions have become widely popular with interviewers. This is when an interviewer asks you a question where you are required to describe a specific example of past work-related behaviour. This technique is so popular that today it is rare to go through an entire interview without being asked at least a few of these types of questions.

The reason is that employers believe past work-related behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour. If you could convince a team to work on a project they were less than thrilled about in your last job, then you could probably be a great Team Leader today.

Here are some tips on being successful at answering behavioural interview questions:

Show You Are Competent:
There are no right or wrong answers to behavioural interview questions, although there are definitely certain competencies and skills that employers are looking for when they are analyzing the behaviours you describe in your answers.

The best way to answer successfully is to think about what types of behaviours and competencies that the employer is looking for in the specific role and then come up with examples where you have demonstrated these in your past jobs.

Be Prepared:
Go through the job posting and do your research on the company. What does the company value? If the job posting is looking for someone with proven customer service skills, then come up with an example where you successfully dealt with a difficult customer in the past. If it says they value organizational skills, then they may ask you to talk about a time where you had a lot on your plate and had to prioritize.

If you take the time to think about the role, then it will not be too difficult to pinpoint some of the questions that may be

Stay On Topic and Answer the Question:
Get to the point. Have a game plan on how to answer behavioural questions in general. First, describe the situation, then how you reacted and why, and finally, describe the result, or what your actions accomplished. Do not go off on tangents or get off topic. Make sure you answer the question that is asked and try not to be too long winded when doing so.

Prove You Can Do the Job
Behavioural interview questions are a great way to prove that you are the right person for the job. They can be prepared for easily and allow you to demonstrate that you have the reactions and competencies necessary to be successful in a role. So be prepared and embrace your chance to be direct. Be ready to prove that you have previously used and demonstrated the skills that the job requires.

Although behavioural question can be difficult to answer on the spot when unprepared, they should be easy to predict, related to the job, and an advantage for someone who has the proper qualifications.

Written By Dan Leibner


  1. it's fantastic!!!!!!!! Thank you for your helpful post.This website has lots of jobs which is very useful for us.Thanks again...

    Common Interview Questions

  2. Thanks so much for your kinds. I am glad you found the article useful!

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  5. Hey Jonathan,

    I'm really glad you found Dan's post helpful. He wrote it for us as a guest blog. And thanks for your link to the customer service interview questions too.


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