Can You Ace Behavioral Interviews?

When you go into an interview, you need to leave your nerves at the door. The best way to prepare is to develop beforehand, your own story (or stories). This is especially great for the behavioral interviews being used more today.

A behavioral interviewer will spend about half the interview on your job skills, and about half on your behavioral competencies. He or she will be looking for evidence of how you have acted in real situations in the past. So having your stories ready to go plays very well for this type of conversation.

What are behavioral interviews?

Also known as “competency-based” interviews, these behavioral interviews go further than the traditional skills-based interview. You can expect additional questions about your character and personal attributes that can better determine whether you fit their corporate culture. These are called “behavioral competencies”.

Specifically, behavioral interviews are simply an interviewing technique used to determine whether you are a good fit for the job by asking questions about your past behavior. Your answers are then used as an indicator of your future success. For example, if you’ve done it in the past, you probably will do it again.

How is this different than other questions you might encounter?

A behavioral question will be very specific. For instance, when asked, “Tell me about a time when you overcame a crisis, solved a problem or dealt with failure,” the focus is on a specific time in your past when you completed a certain action. Your answer must illustrate a particular action that you took at some point in your past.

A traditional interview-type question, on the other hand, would be a “what if” question. For example, “What would you do if such and such a situation were to occur?” The difference here is there are no past experiences to call upon. You merely put yourself in the situation and use your imagination for the answer. The interviewer is looking for your thought process and how you might think through a problem.

How do you prepare for behavioral interviews?

The best way to prepare for behavioral interviews is to take the initiative and have several personal stories that you can tell, taking maybe 30 to 90 seconds each.

You may want to start by developing your stories around these areas:

• A crisis in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it.

• A time where you functioned as part of a team and what your contribution was.

• A time in your career or job where you had to overcome stress.

• A time in your job where you provided successful leadership or a sense of direction.

• A failure that occurred in your job and how did you overcome it.

Preparation is important for every interview, but it is essential in order to succeed in behavioral interviews. A word of warning: You must have stories to back up anything you claimed on your resume.

All stories have three parts and yours should be no different. They should include:

• A beginning (set the stage- describe the situation, the time)

• A middle or process (this is the process you took or the action that you took to solve the problem)

• A resolution (How was the problem solved, overcome or resolved)

A good story should be interesting and full of action. Give them something to remember about you, something that makes you stand out. Since they’re your stories, that shouldn’t be hard. Let your personality and your core character shine through. Make sure you let them hear the steps you took to solve the problem. The more details and skills you can add, the better.

Bottom line: Spend some time well before your first interview to craft and polish several “short stories” about your past using some of the above examples. Take the best example you can and hone them to a fine edge. Practice them out loud, practice them in front of a mirror, and practice them often. These are your successes. Done right, they’ll give your interviewer a clear picture of who you are let them easily determine whether you’re the right person for the job.

Please contact SourceCandidates for more info on behavioral interviews.

Preparing for behavioral interviews involves understanding the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique and practicing with behavioral-based questions.

Here are some resources to help you prepare specifically for behavioral interviews:

  1. The STAR Method: Familiarize yourself with the STAR method, which helps you structure your responses to behavioral questions. Understand how to describe the situation, explain the tasks involved, highlight the actions you took, and discuss the results achieved.
  2. Online articles and guides: Various websites offer comprehensive guides on behavioral interviews. Examples include The Balance Careers, The Muse, and Indeed’s Behavioral Interview Questions and Tips. These resources provide insights into common behavioral questions and offer advice on how to approach them.
  3. Mock interviews and practice questions: Practice answering behavioral interview questions using the STAR technique. Ask a friend, family member, or mentor to conduct mock interviews with you, and seek their feedback on your responses. Consider recording your practice sessions to review and improve your performance.
  4. Sample questions and answers: Search for behavioral interview question examples to get a sense of the types of questions that might be asked. Websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Monster often provide user-submitted interview experiences, including specific behavioral questions and sample answers.
  5. Professional networking groups: Engage with professional networking groups on platforms like LinkedIn or industry-specific forums. Participate in discussions related to behavioral interviews to learn from others’ experiences and gain insights on how they approached similar questions.
  6. Career coaching services: Consider working with a career coach who can provide personalized guidance and practice sessions tailored to behavioral interviews. They can help you refine your responses, improve your storytelling skills, and boost your confidence.
  7. Books on behavioral interviewing: Books like “The Behavioral Interview: A Guide to Help You Prepare, Stand Out, and Land Your Dream Job” by James Reed or “Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude” by Mark Murphy can offer in-depth strategies and advice for behavioral interviews.
  8. YouTube tutorials and videos: Search for behavioral interview preparation videos on YouTube. Channels like Big Interview, Interview Success Formula, or The Interview Guys offer valuable tips, advice, and mock interview demonstrations that can enhance your understanding and preparation.

Remember, the key to acing behavioral interviews is to practice storytelling, providing specific examples that highlight your skills, experiences, and achievements. Use these resources to develop strong responses, refine your storytelling abilities, and showcase your competencies during behavioral interviews.