This increasingly popular interview style is designed to give the employer a better insight into how you have behaved in previous roles. The basic premise is that your past behaviour will be an indicator of future behaviour.
These interviews require examples to demonstrate your skills, experience and strengths. For instance, instead of a question like “What are your major strengths?” you may be asked, “Can you give me an example of a time when you used your organisation skills to meet a deadline?” or “Tell me about a project you have worked on that has required strong leadership abilities”. A good way to think of these interviews is like telling a story; your story in different situations.
Questions in behavioural interviews are more pointed and require detailed responses. You can be asked the same question in a number of different ways. This is to determine that your skills are of a high standard and used in different scenarios.
In behavioural interviews you are judged on the quality of your examples. The key to acing this interview style is to have an arsenal of examples up your sleeve. Use the STAR method to answer - the situation, your task, action taken, and result.
- Review the job description and then your background. Try to prepare examples for the key competencies of the role.
- Use the STAR approach when answering questions and focus on your key strengths.
- Don’t talk too much. When faced with behavioural interview questions some candidates have a tendency to over-explain the example.
- If you don’t understand a question ask for clarification. This is much better than going off on a tangent and not addressing the question.
- If you need a minute to come up with the best example just say so. You don’t want too many pregnant pauses in an interview, however taking the time to make sure you give the best response is fine.
- Whilst it is important to come up with the best example, don’t over-think your response. If you can’t think of the best example, use the most recent.
- Don’t be surprised if you are asked for a seemingly negative example. For instance, “Can you tell me about a situation where you failed to meet a deadline?”. The interviewer is looking for honesty, but also the way in which you learn from past mistakes.
As with any interview, your body language, presentation and level of engagement are important.
© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant