Before we get started, you may be asking yourself “What are behavioral interview questions?”
These are questions designed to give an interviewer a sense of how you might “behave” in certain situations. The belief of many companies is that how you behaved in the past in a certain situation is a good indicator of how you will behave in a similar situation in the future. And this is what behavioral interview questions are intended to get at.
An example of a behavioral question would be, “Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a co-worker and how you resolved that conflict.” Another might be “Tell me about a time when you were part of a team project. What was your role on the team and how did you help the project move forward?”
Many companies have adopted these questions as part of their interview process, and chances are, you will run across questions like these during your job search.
Because these questions ask about specific situations in your past, they can easily throw you off if you’re not prepared.
The reason for this is that your brain immediately tries to find that exact example you have been asked for. And it’s hard to do in a split second.
So while your brain is spinning, you may get nervous and grow less confident. You might start using the word “um” a lot. Your body language may begin to show signs of stress and you could have a break of uncomfortable silence as you search for the perfect answer that fits.
Here’s the good news. With practice and preparation, you can answer behavioral questions with much more ease and confidence.
To prepare, you’ll want to think about specific examples or stories you can refer to during your interview. Have ever had a conflict with a manager or coworker? What happened and how did you resolve the conflict? Think about 2-3 challenges and how you successfully overcame them.
Then, take time to think of your successes, good examples of teamwork, examples of effective communication, and more.
Pro Tip: Remember to keep your answers positive. You don’t want to be critical of anyone else, even when conflict is involved. Focus on how you resolved the conflict or handled the challenge or contributed to a team to complete a project, but keep it positive. This will reflect well on you as a candidate.
The key is to prepare prior to the interview and have examples and stories readily accessible in your mind.
Now you know the secret! When you encounter behavioral questions moving forward, you will be more prepared and more confident, which will set you apart as a candidate.
Good luck and happy interviewing!