Behavioral job interviews. How to succeed?

Long gone are the days of “yes & no” questionnaires, and those where you would only respond to questions about your academic record.

Nowadays, hiring managers are more keen on taking a deeper dive and find out more about the way you think and how would you react upon certain circumstances. With your answers, you will provide them insight into your personal attributes and your problem-solving skills.

Think about a company as a tribe with culture, values and objectives. Hiring managers need to make sure that you fit in the tribe and that you are competent enough to help them achieve those objectives.

A common way to assess whether you fit into the environment or not, is by asking behavioral questions.

Let’s now go through common behavioral questions and how to answer to them successfully:

  • Tell me about a stressful situation at work and how you handled it.
  • Describe a time when you disagreed with your supervisor on how to accomplish something.
  • Describe a scenario when you were persuaded to change your mind about something?
  • Describe now a scenario where you changed a team member’s mind in order to do something that you thought was right.
  • What were the best things about your very first job?
  • Have you ever had a deadline you were not able to meet? What happened? What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time your co-workers had a conflict. How did you handle it?
  • How have you prioritized being assigned multiple projects?
  • Tell me about a difficult work challenge you’ve had.
  • When have you gotten a special thank you for something you did on the job?
  • Talk about a time when you had to adapt to big changes at work.

Some tips to respond well to those questions:

  • While doing your preparation for for being in the job market, think sit down to think about different situations that you have lived in your previous experiences. If by any chance you don’t think that you can respond to that question using a professional example, it is acceptable to use an example of your personal life.
  • Use the STAR technique to answer:
    • Situation: Describe the situation or set the scene.
    • Task: Describe the issue or problem you were confronted with.
    • Action: Describe the action you took to intervene in the situation or solve the problem.
    • Result: Describe the results your action generated. It doesn’t matter if they were not the expected ones.
  • Take up to two minutes to give your answer.
  • Rehearse your stories out loud when you are getting ready.
  • Be honest and real.

Other behavioral questions focus on hypothetical situations, as well known as situational questions: “what would you do if…?”.

How do you respond to them?

It may happen that you have an answer to a hypothetical question because you lived that situation in the past. If that’s not the case, you will definitely need to go off script and think about the scenario.

  • Remember that one of the things that are the most assessed in an interview are your abilities to structure information, thus give your hypothetical answer thinking about a possible problem, solution, benefit.
  • Try to set a scenario that is somehow related to the company where you are being interviewed.
  • Try to use information that was mentioned during the interview as an example.

Now it’s your time to rewind in your life. Are you ready?

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