Behavioral questions in interviews: How to prepare for the perfect answers?Jason Stauffacher
What is a behavioral job interview? Usually, when you apply for a job with any employment firm, the company may ask you to attend a behavioral round. It is just like any normal discussion session, with the difference arising in the types of questions asked. Here, the panel will shoot questions, aimed to understand how you tackled certain scenarios in your previous workplace.
Behavioral questions in interviews are meant to understand your behavioral pattern in the past and predict your conduct in the present and future. These queries also help your prospective employer to understand if you have the required skills to perform well and undertake the responsibilities of the potential tasks in hand.
In conventional interviews, the questions are generally simple and straightforward — what are your strengths and weaknesses? How do you handle challenges? How does your normal workday look like? But in a behavioral interview, the panel has already decided the types of skills they need.
They ask questions in order to gauge if you have those skills. Rather than posing a hypothetical scenario, they will pose an actual incident and ask how you behaved in that instance.
It is vital that you know how to respond to behavioral questions in interviews — as your answers reveal your skills, abilities, and persona. Every question may not just end with a yes or no response. Some responses also require you to offer an explanation.
There is no definite right or wrong answer. It is how you validate your reasons that matter. You may take the help of real examples to explain how you handled certain issues in the past. Your answers to behavioral questions in interviews can be in the form of short anecdotes that highlights your know-how, and the ability to tackle challenging situations. If you accompany your answers with results, it further solidifies your stance.
In order to help you prepare in advance for a behavioral round, we have underlined some major techniques that you can adapt to seamlessly tackle this interview.
How to tackle behavioral questions in interviews?
The best way to prepare is to expect the unexpected. You do not know what questions will come your way.
So, start with the regular questions that we have outlined above. Next, think about your past job life. Analyze the various situations that you faced. Refresh your memories about the different projects you executed. These will help you to frame the perfect answers.
Also, always try to create responses that highlight how you successfully solved problems or were credited as a good performer. Only then, you will be able to generate meaningful responses without beating around the bush. Also, go through the job description. It will give you an idea about the expectations of the employer and the task requirements.
Here is a four-step method to frame the ideal response to behavioral questions in interviews:
- First, describe the entire scenario of how the problem happened. What were the challenges posed? What were the solutions required?
- Next, highlight if there was a specific task that you needed to handle. Or if it was the
whole event that needed your attention.
- Thirdly, explain what measures you took to arrive at the solution. Also, explain how you
arrived at that method of action.
- Lastly, showcase the final results in tangible terms. Attempt to focus on how your action contributed toward the success of your company. This can be anything — solving a conflict, increasing sales figures, or completing a target.
Frame the response in an organized manner: Try to answer in an organized manner. As we outlined above, describe the situation, the specific tasks that were required to be done, your course of action, and the final results.
Note: Always remember that there’s no single right or wrong answer. Each individual has a different mindset and a distinctive way of solving problems. The interviewer is only trying to gauge your behavior pattern and attempting to understand if your response mechanism fits the job requirements of his/her company.
Be honest: Whenever you are asked any behavioral questions in interviews, listen carefully and give a detailed answer. Also, be honest. You do not have to fabricate responses to be the right fit. If your responses are not at par with the company’s requirements, the job may not be the ideal one for you as well.
Do not be in a hurry: Do not be in a rush. Take your time and think properly. This will help you to recall particular situations that properly answers the question.
Be prepared: It is better to always come a bit prepared. You can go through the commonly asked behavioral questions in interviews and be ready with answers. Maybe you are posed with a similar question. You can just tweak your previously prepared answers in that scenario. Below are some general behavioral interview questions to help you prepare:
Some common behavioral questions in interviews
In order to get you started, check out the common behavioral questions in interview below:
● Have you ever been asked to work with someone whose personality is different than yours? How did you handle it?
● How keen is your sense of logic? How did you use your reasoning skills to handle a challenge?
● Was there any instance that you could not meet your target? How did you compensate for it?
● Have you been subjected to work under stress? How do you go about it?
● Was there an instance when you were appreciated for achieving a goal? Tell us about it.
● Or what did you make up for your time when you did not have enough tasks at hand?
● Have there been instances when you made a serious mistake? How did you rectify it?
● How have you handled conflicts within the team?
● Have you ever taken a risky decision? What were the circumstances and results?
● What did you do when a certain policy was not as per your preferences?
● How have you handled difficult situations with your co-worker, boss, client, or another department?
● Were you given responsibilities for several projects at once? How did you prioritize and how did you handle the work pressure?
The questions will usually revolve around teamwork, adaptation skills, time management, communication, values, and motivations.
Remember that whatever be the question in hand, always focus on the positive aspects. Do not try to highlight the negatives. Turn around your responses that showcase your strengths and problem-solving abilities.