Behavioral Interview Questions: The answers are with you!

Behavioral interview questions are a trend in the human resources industry.  Some businesses use them and some do not.  If you are not informed prior to the interview if questions will be behavioral based how you prepare is still the same.  Potential employers want to know about what you did, how you handled, and what the outcome was. The bottom line is they want to know about your experience.

What questions will they ask?

It is impossible to know exactly what the interviewer will ask.  You can Google potential interview questions and before you know it, you have spent hours on the internet.  Maybe you’ve even practiced answering a few questions in-between checking Facebook and watching tending You Tube videos.

Instead of pouring your energy into creating the perfect interview guide for your potential employer, why not invest your energy into something you know everything about - you!  

Grab a blank piece of paper - it is time to brainstorm!  Start by writing down your work experiences - big or small, good or bad, old or new. This is just for you, so it doesn’t have to be neat, just get it all down. It may help to grab the job advertisement you applied for, your job description, or your resume to get the creative juices flowing to remind you what you have done.

These experiences will form the answers to any questions you will be asked in the interview.   

What are skill categories?

Based on my interviewing experience, I create questions from a pool of the most common skill categories employers are drawing applicant experiences from:  

  • Problem Solving
  • Conflict Management
  • Time Management
  • Leadership
  • Goal Setting
  • Teamwork
  • Customer/Client Service
  • Biggest Mistake

From your list, put each experience under one or more of the following skill categories.  For example:  If you wrote down “meeting management” you may have an example of how you used time management to produce the best results from meetings. If you wrote down “working with patient”, you may have an example for customer/client service.

How do I respond?

The basis of all behavioral interview questions is the idea that past experience dictates future performance.  

When the interviewer asks you to, “Tell me about a time…” or “Describe a situation where…”, do this:

  1. Describe the situation; be short and to the point.
  2. What actions did you take? Talk about what you did and not what others did.
  3. What was the result? Tell what happened, regardless of the outcome.

What answers are they looking for?

The interviewer is not only looking to understand your qualifications and experience, but also for cultural fit within the organizations.  How will they work with the team?  Does their work ethic align with the corporate core values?

Your answers should demonstrate the ability to self- improve.  Nobody is perfect in the workplace.  We all stumble and fall, and we learn best when we get up.  

When answering a question, especially when the outcome did not work in your favour, focus on the positive, and address:

  • What you learned from the situation?
  • What would you do differently?  
  • What you did to overcome the situation? 

What if I don’t have an answer?

Drawing a blank happens, so here are a few pointers:

  • Ask the interviewer to repeat the question.
  • Take your time and calm yourself by taking a couple of deep breaths.
  • Think of your brainstorming exercise and the examples you generated.
  • Silence is okay for a few seconds.
  • If you really can’t think of an answer, ask the interviewer to come back to the question at the end of the interview.
  • If you still can’t answer it, just let the interviewer know that you are unable to think of a suitable answer for that question at this moment and offer to provide a response at a later time.

Here is how I can help you...

Just so you know - I have done the research for you!  Click here for a list of 8 interview questions associated with each skill category listed in this blog to help you prepare for that next interview.

If you need personalized guidance on interview preparation, please contact me.  Your first 30 minute consult is free - Click here!