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Behavioral Interviewing Questions

How do I answer behavioral interview questions?

Managers know that past experience predicts future success. The interviewer is looking for specific examples of how you have handled situations – not general statements. These questions are related to the skills you need to perform the job well.

Include these points:

  1. A specific situation - tell a little bit about it so the interviewer has a frame of reference for your story.
  2. What needed to be done and the actions you took
  3. The results. Refer to SOAR statements on your resume
  4. Finish with what you learned from that experience

When preparing for these questions

  • Ask yourself what skill the question addresses
  • Think about your past experiences - most recent job, past job, leadership roles - for situations you can share.
  • Use your requirements / skills match matrix or job description to identify required skills
  • Begin preparing stories specific to those skills to use in the interview

For Example:

  • Job Description states:
    "Uses independent judgment to solve problems for customers."
  • Skill involved:
    Decision Making / Managerial Courage
  • Typical interview question for this skill:
    "Tell me about a tough decision you had to make and how you arrived at your decision."

What are some possible behavioral questions?

The following are examples of behavioral questions that might be used to identify various skills

  • Conflict Management
    "Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult person's problem. How did you resolve the situation?"
  • Influencing / Conflict Management
    "Tell me about a situation when you had a differing opinion from others in a group and how you got your point across."
  • Emotions / Diffusing Anger
    "Give me an example of a situation where you dealt with an angry customer and describe how you resolved the situation."
  • Ethics and integrity
    "Give me an example of a situation where you observed or became aware of an employee acting unethically. How did you handle the situation?"
  • Team Decision Making
    "Describe a team or group you have been a part of and how you dealt with reaching decisions."
  • Goal Oriented / Self Directed
    "What goals did you set for yourself during the year and how did you achieve them?"
  • Sizing up People / Situational Leadership
    "Describe a situation in which you were able to read another person effectively and guide your actions by understanding his/her needs."
  • Prioritization
    "Tell me about a time when you had to juggle many different tasks at once and how you handled it."
  • Flexible, Adaptable
    "Describe a time when you had to switch gears quickly. What were the circumstances and how did you do it?"
  • Time Management
    "Tell me about a time when you had many deadlines to meet in a short period of time. How did you prepare yourself and organize your time?"
  • Organization Skills
    "Tell me about a project you were responsible for that you had to organize start to finish. How did you approach this and complete it?"
  • Conflict Management
    "Describe a situation where you had a misunderstanding with a co-worker or business associate and how you resolved it."
  • Teamwork
    "When working with a group, do you tend to support or lead a team? Give an example of both experiences."
  • Resourcefulness
    "Tell me about a situation when you were given a complicated assignment with little or no information. How did you complete the assignment?"
  • Managing Diversity
    "Give me an example of a situation in the past work experience where you demonstrated a sensitivity to individual differences."
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