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How to Handle Behavioral-Based Interview Questions

Behavioral interview questions are questions based on how you acted in a specific situation in the past, to help give the interviewer a chance to see how you would work in certain conditions.


Behavioral-based interview questions can often times be challenging in an interview. If they refer to a very specific situation or skillset, you may get tripped up and not have a response ready to go.


As someone who has helped prepare hundreds of candidates for interviews, I wanted to write a resource guide of what I tell my candidates to help prepare for these questions.


Here is a list of common Behavioral Based Interview Questions you may receive in an interview:

  1. Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure.

  2. Tell me about a situation when you had to solve a difficult problem with limited information.

  3. Tell me about a time when you led a project and the steps you took to ensure its success.

  4. Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a change in a project or in the workplace.

  5. Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult colleague or team member.

  6. Tell me about a situation when you had to make an important decision that affected the outcome of a project or task.

  7. Tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult customer or client.

  8. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty to get a job done.

  9. Tell me about a time when you had to work with limited resources to achieve a goal.

  10. Tell me about a situation when you had to take initiative in a leadership role.


A common way to structure your response to these questions is the STAR method.


STAR stands for:


Situation

Task

Action

Result


So let's pick an example question, and show how we would answer it using the STAR method.


Question: Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a change in the workplace.


Answer: Well, in my prior company, there was a large number of new employees that were hired into the business after a merger. (Situation) The business had almost doubled in size, and in order to handle the new volume of orders, we needed to adjust how efficiently we could record the orders and update our inventory. (Task) In order to do that, I took on the responsibility of creating a new excel spreadsheet and formula that updated daily how many orders we had, to which accounts, and what our current inventory levels were. (Action)This resulted in our workflow processes improving at 2x the speed, and a 95% order accuracy, which was 20% better than the original system. (Result)


The advantage to using the STAR method is that it helps structure your response to the question. When hearing your question, always take a second to digest how you will answer, and apply this method.


Any opportunity you can take to also increase the scope of the situation, the importance of the task at hand, or the impact of the action and result that you had from the experience will also positively benefit the answer to your question.


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If you are considering making a job move, check out some of my free resources below to help land your next role - and follow me on LinkedIn for daily content on career advice, the job market and business news.










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