Nail the Interview

Behavioral Interviewing: What it is, Common Questions, How to Respond, and Common Mistakes

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Gene Rice and Courtney Bejgrowicz, Authors of Grad to Grown-Up: 68 Tips to Excel in Your Personal and Professional Life

What is Behavioral Interviewing?

A popular interviewing style is the behavioral interview approach. This is a research-based process that allows a team of interviewers to focus on an applicant’s relevant work history. It uses past performance to predict future success. The rationale? An applicant who hasn’t demonstrated a necessary skill in their previous position will likely be unable to do so at your firm. It takes the emotion out of the hiring process and puts the spotlight on real experience.

When you arrive at an interview that utilizes the behavioral method, the interviewer will go over

what to expect and explain that they’re looking for specific work-related experiences that demonstrate particular skills.

A popular interviewing style is the behavioral interview approach. This is a research-based process that allows a team of interviewers to focus on an applicant’s relevant work history. It uses past performance to predict future success.Click To Tweet

Before meeting the interviewers, identify what skills you think are most important to be successful in the job. List specific examples of how you’ve demonstrated proficiency in each of these areas.

There are a few commonly assessed skills:

  • Collaboration and Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Adaptability (i.e., problem-solving)
  • Client-Facing Skills (e.g., difficult customers)
  • Initiative and Enthusiasm
  • Communication
  • Motivation and Values (i.e., work ethic and ethos)
  • Conflict Resolution

What Do Behavioral Interviewing Questions Sound Like?

Questions and prompts often begin with a phrase like “Tell me about a time…” or “Give me an example of…” Here are a few sample questions with the skill they assess:

  1. Can you give me an example of a goal reached and how it was achieved?

(Time Management)

  1. Tell me about a time you had to work with a team to complete a project on time. What was your input?

(Collaboration and Teamwork)

  1. Give me an example of a time you demonstrated initiative.

(Initiative)

  1. Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?

(Motivation and Values)

  1. Give me an example of a time when you had to think on your feet in order to remove yourself from a difficult or awkward situation.

(Ability to Adapt)

How Should You Answer Behavioral Interviewing Questions?

One of Gene’s past clients, DDI (Developmental Dimensions International), is credited with a technique called the STAR Method, which helps you craft your responses. This technique assists you in staying focused, concise, and specific.

STAR stands for:

Situation

Task

Action

Result

When answering an interview question, overview each of these parts in a response that is no longer than two minutes. DDI groups S and T together, but we separate them in our explanation.

Situation – What is the situation you were in? Set the stage for the story. Keep it short and simple.

Task – Describe the goal at hand. Keep it concise and extremely specific.

Action – Explain the actions you took to overcome the challenge; focus on your individual contribution. This should be the most in-depth portion of the response.

Result – Describe the outcome of your efforts. For impact, quantify the results. You can also share how you grew because of the situation. Be brief and focused.

Common Mistakes

  1. Problem: You can’t think of a good example, so you wing it.

Solution: To avoid rambling about random work experience (and score poorly), buy yourself more time to reflect. Say, “Great question. Can we come back to it? I want to think about it to assure I respond thoughtfully.”

  1. Problem: You talk about the team more than yourself.

Solution: Don’t be modest! To avoid this, use “me” and “I” statements instead of “us” and “we.” The interviewers want to know about your specific role in a collaborative project.

  1. Problem: You share more examples from college or your personal life than your career.

Solution: Focus on professional examples. Stick with your work experience, although at times, academic situations or volunteer work could apply.

  1. Problem: You lie.

Solution: Do not create stories. It will undermine your credibility, which will come back to hurt you if hired. It can also make you appear disingenuous.

Good luck! Be sure to prepare and share your experience thoughtfully, and all else will fall into place.

Grad to Grown-Up: 68 Tips to Excel in Your Personal and Professional Life
$18.29

Grad to Grown-Up: 68 Tips to Excel in Your Personal and Professional Life is a unique self-help book that offers a roadmap to kickstart your future. Rags-to-riches author and CEO Gene Rice and his high school English teacher daughter Courtney Bejgrowicz demystify adulthood by sharing critical information alongside professional and personal successes and failures. 

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05/27/2022 12:47 am GMT
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