Career and Education

How to Prepare for a Behavioral Interview

With the economic slump and the massive job losses brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, many have been left jobless and under difficult financial strain. Although the year 2020 is considered one of the most challenging, all is not lost. Numerous new businesses have emerged with countless employment opportunities.

If you are out of work, you need to be ready and aware to answer behavioral interview questions convincingly to gauge how successful you are at solving problems. Some of the common behavioral interview questions you are likely to be asked will give insights into your personality, skills and abilities. 

What are behavioral interview questions? 

Behavioral interview questions are structured to reveal a candidates’ problem-solving and decision-making habits to determine their capability of handling the vacant position. An applicant’s response to questions asked will reveal their skills, abilities and personality.

The questions help discover how the candidate is likely to act in specific work-related situations since they are prone to behave the same way they did in a past similar situation, i.e., previous behavior predicts future performance. 

Behavioral interview questions require interviewees to share verifiable, concrete evidence of instances where they had to apply specific skills in past circumstances. Simply, it is a way to let your previous work performance prove your competence and what you’re capable of doing for this potential employer. 

How to prepare for a behavioral interview question 

As you prepare for your long-awaited interview, here are some important tips to consider and help you prepare. 

First, thoroughly study the job description reviewing major projects you’ve handled in the past and analyze your previous job performance reviews. 

Prepare a list of your professional accomplishments, study them and practice your interview responses aloud, keeping the answers brief and honest. 

To pass a behavioral interview, you need to adequately prepare as there are no wrong answers and the questions target at revealing the real you. It is important to be authentic and practice structuring your responses to communicate what you can offer that organization.  

Additionally, incorporating the STAR method to structure answers to behavioral questions can be very beneficial and helpful. The STAR method, which stands for Situation Task Action and Result, is particularly helpful in providing tangible examples or proof of your competence, skills and experience needed for the vacancy at hand.  

Situation – listen to the question and describe an event or situation that you were in.

Task – explain the assignment or task you had to complete. 

Action – describe the definite action you took to complete the task.

Result – state the outcome of your efforts. 

The STAR method is a technique of answering behavior interview questions where employers analyze jobseekers, and from the outcome, they can shortlist high-level performers for the vacancies.  

For instance, employers could be looking for proof of problem-solving skills, analytical aptitudes, ingenuity, persistence, writing expertise, presentation skills, teamwork capabilities, persuasive know-how, assessable skills, or precision. 

How to prepare for the interview using the STAR technique 

It is unlikely for you to tell in advance which interview technique your examiner will be using. However, it is to your advantage to analyze different job-related scenarios you’ve encountered in the past. 

First, prepare a list of skills needed for the vacant position to help you identify preferred qualities and match your qualifications to abilities listed in the job description. Think of specific instances by pinpointing the precise situation, task, action and result, where you had to demonstrate those skills. 

It will be helpful to select examples that are closely related to the position you are applying for. Also, study common behavioral interview questions and answer each using the STAR technique. 

Suppose you are unsure of how to answer these behavioral questions no need to worry. Here’s a simple guide categorized by topic to help you prepare effective responses using the STAR interview method. 

Teamwork 

To address teamwork conclusively, give a narrative that illustrates your capability to work in a group under challenging circumstances that include team conflict, demanding project constraints, clashing personalities and teamwork cooperation a requirement to beat stiff deadlines. 

For instance, talk about a season you had to work closely with a colleague with a different disposition from yours or give examples of a conflict you run into and how you solved them. 

Also, you could describe your struggles to forge meaningful relationships and how you eventually overcame the challenge. 

We are all human and make mistakes; hence you could explain an instance where you could have handled a scuffle with a colleague differently. 

Tell your examiner about how you managed an occurrence where you had to research and write a report for a coworker who wasn’t very responsive. 

Customer relation skills 

If the job you are preparing for involves direct interaction with clients, you need to prepare for questions that revolve around customer service and the company or team representation. 

Explain situations where you fruitfully represented your organization or team in a critical meeting or an instance where you displayed your exceptional customer service capabilities. Give an account of how you made sure a customer was awe-struck by your service and the positive impact it had on sales. 

Describe in detail a time you had a run-in with a stubborn client and how you made sure things didn’t spiral out of control. 

While interacting with many customers, since it is challenging to deliver excellent customer care service to all of them, how do you prioritize client needs?   

Adaptability 

Reminisce a work crisis you circumnavigated, whether successfully or not, and the lessons or silver lining you took from the experience. Explain a challenging season where you were under a lot of pressure and how you coped. 

Describe a period your company was undergoing changes, how it impacted you and how you were able to survive.

Talk about your first job experience and what you did to improve your skills. Also, explain an instance where you had to quickly apply your decision-making skills to prevent a situation from spiraling out of control. 

Time management skills 

Give an overview of how you juggle multiple responsibilities in an organized manner and how you ensure you beat deadlines. In detail, explain how you can strategically plan, prioritize tasks and deliver on time. 

You aren’t perfect, so you could explain a situation that was overwhelming and what you did to manage expectations. Talk about goal setting and how you handle numerous duties simultaneously. 

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