In Part I we looked at what is the behavioral interview and when is it used. In this 2nd part of this series we will offer some commonly-asked behavioral interview questions, followed by some deeper analysis questions you as the interviewee can ask at the end of the interview.
To get started, let’s look at some sample behavioral interview questions:
Decision Making and Problem Solving
- Give me an example of a time when you had to keep from speaking or making a decision because you did not have enough information.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision.
- What is the toughest group that you have had to get cooperation from?
- Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach? Did it work?
- Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
- Describe a situation when you were able to have a positive influence on the action of others.
- Tell me about a situation when you had to speak up (be assertive) in order to get a point across that was important to you.
- Have you ever had to sell an idea to your co-workers or group? How did you do it? Did they buy it?
- What have you done in the past to contribute toward a teamwork environment?
- Describe a time you became aware of tension among certain members of the group, and you fell into the role of informal intermediary. How did this turn out?
Planning and Organization
- How do you decide what gets top priority when scheduling your time?
- What do you do when your schedule is suddenly interrupted? Give an example.
Other Behavioral Questions
- Give a specific example of a policy you conformed to with which you did not agree. How did it play out?
- Give me an example of an important goal you set and tell me about your success in reaching it.
- Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.
Use these questions as a springboard for you to begin to mentally journey through your past work, school or even life experiences. When we are younger, we have less to draw from in our work but employers understand that. School group projects, interactions with our peer groups at church or on teams can also be pools from which we draw. Stay away from personal friend problems, as you try to keep your answers related to formal organizational ties.
As with any interview, avoid spiraling into negativity. Name the problem and then quickly move into your solution. The focus should never be on what was wrong, but rather what you did that was right. Even if the question forces a negative result, like name a time when you failed, you want to end your answer by stating what you learned.
As interviews wind up, you will likely be asked if you have any questions. If you have read our other blogs you know we have provided tips on simple questions to tie out the interview. In addition to those simple questions, you can ask one, at the most two, of the following:
- For this position, what would you say are key traits of a successful candidate?
- What about an unsuccessful candidate?
- Why have people left this position previously?
- What is the most difficult part of this job?
- How would you describe the team this position would be joining?
We all know practice makes perfect, or at least gives us a fighting chance. So let’s get busy…!