In behavior-based job interviews the company already decided what skills an ideal candidate must have. The aim of this interview is to identify applicants whose past behavior indicates the existence of those skills. The interviewer will ask questions that look into the way the candidate acted in specific past situations; the logic behind this technique is that past behavior can serve as an accurate predictor or indicator for future professional performance.
Unlike the task-oriented interview, a behavioral interview is all about questions. Most of the time, these interviews take place face-to-face. Behavioral job interviews that take place over the phone are uncommon since interviewers also assess other behavioral markers besides the candidates’ verbal responses. These markers are best observed during live meetings. Unlike stress interviews, which place applicants in conditions of simulated pressure and also tend to take several hours/days to complete, behavioral job interviews aren’t all that different from traditional ones. The biggest difference exists in the content of the questions and how the types of expected answers differ. While in a traditional interview, the recruiter will ask you to describe your strengths and weaknesses or inquire generically about your biggest professional failures and successes. The questions are far more targeted in a behavioral interview.
Behavioral Interview Tips: What to Expect During the Interview
Since the main focus of such an interview is on the candidate’s answers, it’s usually a good idea for interviewees to come prepared with a series of stories from their past professional experience. Such stories of successes and challenges on the job, are likely to serve the interviewee well during such an interview. Behavioral interview questions are very pointed and specific. However, it’s important for candidates to remember that (generally) they won’t know what kind of interview they will be subjected to until the interview actually begins. As such, common interview preparation tactics will work just fine:
– Make sure you review the job description, as well as your own job application before the event;
– Research the company, its values, and the particular position you’re applying for;
– During the interview, should you discover it’s a behavioral one, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification on questions you’re not sure how to answer.
It’s also important to bear in mind that behavioral interviewing targets specific skills and skill sets. Generally speaking, such skills can be divided into soft skills and hard skills; the skills include accountability, analytical thinking, the ability to ask questions, solve complaints, prioritize tasks, ask for permission/help, pay attention to detail, empathize, show initiative, and display patience.
Behavioral Interview Tips: Common Interview Questions
- Name a professional goal you met and describe how you worked toward it.
- Talk about a stressful situation on the job and describe how you overcame it.
- Have you ever taken a risky professional decision? What was it? Why did you take it? How did you handle it?
- How do you prioritize job tasks, when assigned to multiple projects at once?
- How do you meet tight deadlines?
- Have you ever convinced a team member (or an entire team) to take on a project they weren’t thrilled about?
- Describe a situation in which you and your hierarchic superior disagreed.
- Have you ever handled a conflict situation with a vendor or client? How?
- Describe a team-work situation in which you have been involved.
- How do you handle disruptions in your work schedule? Provide a specific example.
Behavioral Interview Tips for Candidates
Perhaps the most important tip to remember during a behavioral job interview, is that there are no right or wrong answers. You cannot answer a question incorrectly. Your answers just reveal skills (or a lack of skills) which are a better fit for what the company is seeking. You might identify the skills they’re looking for by going over the job description the company provided – however, try not to speculate or presume to too great an extent. During the interview, it’s always a good idea to listen closely to the questions and provide clear, detailed answers. The easiest way to ace a behavioral job interview is to prove your past actions benefited your former employer. Also, when answering situational questions, try to provide examples that are as close as possible to the skills required for the job for which you’re applying.
Behavioral Interview Tips for Interviewers
The STAR technique is one of the most frequently employed interviewing methods. STAR stands for Situation-Task-Action-Result. You can model most questions after this structure: ask the candidate to describe the Situation (i.e. the professional context in which they had to perform a certain job). Then, ask them to describe the Task: what exactly did they have to do in that specific situation. Action is all about finding out how the candidate handled the task and/or the situation, as well as about the specific steps they took toward meeting the goal (or the result).
The task of a behavioral job interviewer is to reveal specific patterns that underlie the candidates’ responses. As a recruiter, you need to assess their reactions to specific situations, their capacity for self-direction and self-motivation, and whether they’re problem-solvers or problem-makers. Avoid hypothetical questions and dig deeper for concrete details whenever a certain answer sounds too generic. Bear in mind that savvy candidates will have figured out the skills you’re looking for during the recruiting process – you should interpret this as a skill in and of itself.