How to Confidently Answer Questions for a Behavioral Interview

The current trend in interviewing is moving away from hypothetical questions about events in the future and towards questions that take a look at what a candidate has done in the past. The focus here is on proven results rather than prognostications.

In a behavioral interview, you will be asked to discuss how you handled certain types of events in the past. Your responses will be seen as a measure of how fit you are for the job in question. It is important to prepare for these behavioral interview questions by reviewing your job history as well as researching the job you are interviewing for. This post addresses how to confidently answer questions in a behavioral interview, including these topics:

  • Research the Company and Position
  • Give Thorough Responses
  • Categorize Your Past Experiences

Research the Company and Position

Researching the job you are interviewing for can be of immense help in guiding your preparation. Look at the qualifications and listed duties for the new position. When you have a good idea of what will be expected by your future managers, you can look at your own experience to see what particular events might be pertinent. Look for parallels between your past experiences and those you might have in the future. For instance, if you are applying for a managerial position, you might look at times where you had to step into a similar role to solve a problem for your employer. This exercise will help you answer behavioral questions with aplomb.

Give Thorough Responses

When you are in the behavioral interview, be sure to be thorough in your answers. If you are asked to discuss a challenge or conflict in your past work experience, be sure that you are clear and detailed in your description of the problem. Then, move on to how you worked to solve the problem. Again, be as detailed in the interview as you might have been at the time. Then, discuss any long-lasting repercussions of the incident. If your actions resulted in new policies in the company or a raise for yourself, be sure to note those things. Toot your own horn and provide answers that show how your past behaviors were held in esteem by your colleagues.

Categorize Your Past Experiences

When preparing for the behavioral interview, break down your past experience in terms of a few key areas:

  • Problem Solving
  • Leadership Ability
  • Interpersonal Communication and Skills
  • Organizational Abilities

These areas are common to behavioral interviews. The specific job you are interviewing for may include other, more technical, areas so be sure to include them in the list. Try to come up with at least one solid example for each area. If you find that your examples overlap, make sure that you can clearly delineate why that example fits each category. For instance, leadership often hinges on effective communication, so be clear as to why it shows both equally.

In summary, keep your answers thorough yet succinct. Keep your answers under 3 minutes. If your answer becomes more of a ramble, then you lose the interviewer’s attention.

If you have an important interview coming up, it may be a good idea to find some professional interview coaching. At Rush Recruiting & HR, we offer interview preparation services to help nail your next interview! Contact us today.

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