Behavioral-based interview questions are a set of open-ended questions with specific scenarios that employers ask prospective candidates to assess the skills they carry or should possess. These questions are mostly asked with theoretical scenarios tied to previous experiences whether professional, academic, or voluntary.
Unlike closed questions where interviewees can only answer in terms of a yes or a no, behavioral-based interview questions allow them to answer qualitatively to demonstrate the qualities necessary for the job.
The interviewers have the opportunity to examine the qualities the candidates have gained from previous jobs and how that can benefit the company in the future. They mostly test the soft skills the candidates should carry and how they would use them in the job that they are applying for.
What Methods Do Employers Follow in This Interview?
When testing candidates with these open-ended questions, employers look for certain aspects that’ll show whether that person is perfect for the job or not. Most of them follow what is known as the STAR method, involving a situation that involves a task, leading to action, and that brings the result!
Situation: The employer sets a hypothetical scenario for the candidate to reflect upon. The candidate then relates this to a real scenario they faced in the past.
Task: The candidate describes the issue, the objective, and what needs to be done to resolve the obstacles.
Action: The candidate describes the course of action they took in order to resolve the situation and achieve the expected results.
Result: The candidate then describes the outcomes they had achieved with their actions.
Sometimes, the employers ask the interviewees whether they could’ve done something better to understand how capable they are of evaluating their actions.
Why Should You Prioritize Behavioral-Based Interview Questions?
Both concerned parties should prioritize behavioral-based interview questions and prepare themselves to follow the STAR method.
As an employer or hiring manager, you should prioritize this method in order to understand how capable a candidate is in terms of handling difficult situations at both work and interpersonal levels. It’ll also uncover how fit a person is for the position that you’re recruiting for.
As a candidate interviewing for the concerned position, you need to prepare yourself to face these questions beforehand. This won’t just allow you to put forward your analytical and interpersonal skills, but will also help you gain the trust of your prospective employers.
Besides, you can establish the idea that hiring you will open up doors for the company and will also motivate and lead your prospective team members to new levels.
How Should Candidates Prepare Themselves for This Interview?
Hiring managers can ask questions on teamwork, adaptability, time management, customer management, communications, and leadership, depending on the job description. Candidates need to prepare themselves depending on the job they will be interviewed for.
There will be a lot of specific and structural questions, so candidates need to prepare themselves with theoretical and practical knowledge. Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself to face behavioral-based interview questions:
Thoroughly study the job description;
Research on the position and the company background;
Learn about the core functions of the company;
Reflect upon what you did in your previous job and make a list of it;
List your professional accomplishments;
Prepare a pseudo-interview for yourself using the STAR method;
Be short and specific with your answers; and
Time yourself and practice repeatedly.
What Are Some Examples of Behavioral-Based Interview Questions?
Let’s look at some examples of leadership and time management that candidates and employers can use during interviews.
If the job requires leadership qualities, these are some questions that can be asked:
“A team member of yours had a lot of experience but lacked motivation. What did you do to motivate that employee?”
“Describe the time when a team member made a huge blunder. How did you tackle it?”
Then there can be these following questions on time management:
“Tell me about a time when you had to take care of multiple responsibilities in a very short amount of time.”
“You had received a long-term project with a lot of steps and a time-bound goal. How did you create a schedule and ensured that you reached the goal on or before the dedicated time?”
A question on customer management can be:
“You once had a very difficult customer who was always dissatisfied with your actions. How did you ultimately ensure that the customer was satisfied with your work?”
What Should You Avoid Doing With Behavioral-Based Interview Questions?
There are plenty of things that you, as a candidate, should avoid doing. Some of them are cliches, and then there are others that rub wrongly on the hiring managers. Here are some of the things you should never do:
Express negative feelings about the last employer and the company you worked for.
Stepping into an interview board without any knowledge of the company.
Telling them that you’re up for doing anything. This basically shows that you don’t care about sticking to your job description.
Repeat cliches like “I don’t have much experience but I can learn it,” “I think outside the box,” “Perfectionism is my weakness,” etc.
Having no questions to ask the interviewers.
Giving estimated statistics without data to back up your claims.
Telling them that something is on your resume instead of explaining what it means. It rubs off as arrogant or even worse.