Behavioral interview questions are a useful tool for finding out how interviewees have behaved in roles in the past. This can help you to determine whether they may be a suitable candidate for your position.
What Are Behavioral Interview Questions?
Behavioral interview questions are those which refer to a situation the candidate may have experienced in the past. The question is all about how they handled that situation and the specific actions they took.
Common behavioral interview questions include how they handle multiple projects at one time. Or, how they handled a challenging situation. They will often start with the phrase “Talk about a time when…’. For example, ‘Talk about a time when you had to deal with a difficult team member. How did you handle it?’.
What to Look for In Answers to Behavioral Interview Questions
Answering behavioral interview questions requires certain skills from applicants. The best interviewees will answer the questions while being specific and concise. They must fully answer your question. One of the best methods they can use is the STAR method. So that you know what to look for in an answer to interview questions, here is the description of this technique.
S – Situation
They will describe the situation around the event so you can understand the context.
T – Task
They will detail the task that they needed to undertake. They should be able to take you through their thought process for how they determined this.
A – Action
The candidate needs to describe how they handled the situation. What action did they take? Why did they do it this way?
R – Reaction
What was the outcome or reaction to what they did?
Types of Behavioral Interview Questions
Behavioral interview questions require a lot of thought put into them. They may cover a range of topics. Which topics they cover will depend on what skills you need in the role you are trying to fill. Perhaps you want to know that they can set goals or solve problems. So, you may ask questions related to that. Here are some types of questions for your behavioral job interview.
Perhaps you want to find out how they behave as part of a team. Teamwork is a skill that is commonly required when hiring for any type of role. In the answers to these questions, you as the hiring manager will want to know whether the person is collaborative and gets along with others.
- Give an example of a time when you have worked effectively within a team. Describe why the team was effective.
- What do you do when you disagree with a decision your boss has made?
- Tell us about a time when you have helped another co-worker who was in over their head. What did you do to help?
Self-awareness is important for any employee. A person must know who they are and how they come across to others. Self-awareness is a valuable skill that can help people get along with their team and their manager. Being aware of knowledge or skill gaps is also vital as it is only then that the person can start working on them.
- Tell us about a time when you did not meet a goal. Why did this happen?
- Describe a time when you did not meet a deadline. Did you realize in advance and how did you handle it?
- Are you good at listening to others? How do you know?
- Tell us about a time when your written communication was taken the wrong way. What caused this?
One important aspect of work is stress. Everyone is going to face it, whether it’s a deadline, personal stress, or negative feedback. Having employees who know how to handle stress can be critical to their productivity.
- Tell me about a time when you had to deliver under pressure. What happened?
- How do you react to changes and unexpected obstacles at work? Give a specific example.
- How do you handle workplace conflicts? Give a specific example of a time when this happened.
If you are hiring for a management position, you need to find out how this person behaves as a leader. Are they able to motivate staff towards organizational goals? Are they able to delegate and trust others with important work?
- Tell us about a time when you had to bring others on board with your vision? How did you go about it?
- How do you motivate your staff? Give an example of a time when you have done this.
- Tell us about a team when your leadership style has been effective. Do you have a secondary leadership style? How do you know when to use each one?
- Are you a good delegator? Tell us about a time when you have put your delegation strategy into action.
Knowing about people’s failures is perhaps even more important than their successes. Everyone fails and if the interviewee claims to have never failed, they are likely either lying or arrogant. What you need to know is how they react to failure and turn a situation around. These interview questions may help you discover this.
- Describe a time when you have failed at work.
- What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made? How would you handle it differently if you could go back in time?
- How do you ensure that you learn from your mistakes? Give an example.
- Tell us about a time when you took a big leap and you failed.
When deciding on your behavioral interview questions, consider what you want to find out about the candidate. This should guide you on which questions to select.