If you are going on an interview, odds are you are going to be asked at least one behavioral interview question. For a successful interview, you should be prepared and have a strategy in place for answering these types of questions!

What are Behavioral Interview Questions?

Interviewers use behavioral based questions to learn how you react in specific situations. They are looking for a concrete example of how you approach a scenario and the skills you use to do so. Your answer should show that you have both the experience and the expertise necessary for the position.

Types of Behavioral Interview Questions

There are many types of behavioral interview questions that encompass a variety of scenarios. Below are some of the most common topics covered by behavioral questions.

Leadership – leadership is an important quality that employers look for. You should expect a question related to your leadership abilities if you are interviewing for a managerial position.

Ex) Discuss a time when you had to motivate others. What approaches did you use?

Handling Stress – sometimes work can be stressful and employers want to know you can handle trying situations. You should expect a question regarding how you handle stress if you are interviewing for a position in a fast paced or volatile industry.

Ex) Can you describe a time you had to work under pressure?

Problem Solving – problem solving questions are asked in order to evaluate both your rational and creative thinking. This is a common question that is asked no matter the job title.

Ex) What is a challenge you faced at work and how did you overcome it?

Teamwork – many jobs require you to work in a team at some point, so employers want to know how you operate in a group. Again, this is a common question that is asked no matter the job title.

Ex) What role do you normally play when working in a team?

Using the STAR Method

The STAR method is a four-step systematic approach used to answer behavioral questions.

Situation – first, provide context for the scenario.

Task – second, describe the problems and challenges you were faced with.

Action – third, explain what you did, how you did it, and why you did it.

Result – fourth, share the impact your actions and what you accomplished. It is best to quantify this answer.

Example of a Good Answer

Q: Discuss a time when you had to motivate others. What approaches did you use?

A: In my previous position as a sales manager, it was my job to keep my account executives motivated.  Team sales had seen a decline when I first stepped into the position. I wanted to turn this trend around so I created an incentive program that awarded a gift card to the top salesperson for the month.  Within three months my team saw an 11% increase in sales revenue.

Takeaways

Behavioral interview questions can seem overwhelming at first.  However, when you think through your answer and break it down using the STAR Method, you are sure to ace the interview!