Wood Words

Ace Your Next Behavioral Interview – No Matter What Type of Job You’re Seeking

While in an interview, you probably expect to answer questions like:

“What was your last job like?”

“Why are you interested in the available position?”

“Why should we hire you?”

These are all standard questions designed to gain more information about your skills and experience.  But are you prepared to answer questions like:

“What is the most creative idea you’ve implemented to solve a problem?”

“Can you describe a time when you tried to persuade another person to do something that he was not very willing to do?”

“What is the most difficult project you’ve worked on – and how did it help you develop professionally?”

Don’t let behavioral interview questions like these throw you into a tailspin.  If you’re new to the concept of behavioral interviewing, here is a quick 101 to bring you up to speed:

  • Behavioral questions are designed to reveal more than just skills or experience.  They operate on the premise that understanding past behavior is the best way to predict future success.
  • Questions may be casually inserted into a typical interview, or you may be formally required to answer a set list.  Be prepared for either scenario.
  • Questions will require you to describe situations from your past, as well as your feelings and observations about them.  Depending upon your answers, the interviewer may have follow-up probing questions.
  • The interviewer will look for evidence of desired behavioral traits in your responses, to assess your proficiency in certain job-related areas.

As with all interview questions, preparing for behavioral questions is essential to success.  While you cannot predict the specific questions you will be asked, you can use these tips to ace your next behavioral interview – no matter what type of job you’re seeking:

  • Learn about the company.  Do your homework before the interview to learn about the company, its core values and the available position.  Use the job description to determine the most essential behaviors needed to succeed in the position, then research potential behavioral interview questions that are associated with these traits.
  • Create your behavioral interview arsenal.  Create a list of key accomplishments that exemplify the traits necessary to succeed in the available position.  If you lack work experience, draw upon your school experiences (challenging courses/tests, group projects, research papers, etc.).  Select experiences that reflect well on you, even if the outcome of the situation itself was not favorable.  With a bit of work, you can develop a repertoire of a small number of workplace experiences that you can use to answer a wide range of behavioral questions.
  • Flesh out each experience.  Make sure each of your examples has a beginning, middle and end.  Experts recommend using the STAR technique to communicate your ideas logically and concisely:  the beginning should describe a Situation you were in or the Task you needed to accomplish; the middle should recount the Action that you took; the end should review the measurable Results you achieved.
  • Practice with a friend.  Behavioral interviews can be grueling.  Boost your confidence by rehearsing your workplace stories ahead of time with a friend or relative.  Aim for vivid, concise answers that are one to three minutes long.

Looking for more interview help?  Searching for jobs in Middle TennesseeWood Personnel is here to help.  As Middle Tennessee’s leading employment services company, we can help you take the next step in your career.