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September 10, 2021, by indybamra1

How To Approach Behavioural Interview Questions

By Stephie Goodman, content manager at Wikijob.

Whether you’re applying for your first job or going for a managerial role, interviews can be nerve-wracking. This is partly because the questions can be unpredictable. Whilst there are questions such as “Tell me about yourself” and “Why should we hire you?” that seem to appear in practically every interview. Recruiters can also come up with unusual questions such as “What did you dislike the most about your previous job?” No matter how much you prepare for a job interview, there will always be questions that you won’t have a rehearsed answer for.

Behavioural interview questions ask how you handled a previous situation, and they’re especially notorious for being tricky to answer well on the spot. However, you don’t have to depend on luck. In this blog post, I’ll explain a general strategy that you can rely on to successfully answer any behavioural question.

What are Behavioural Interview Questions?

First off, let’s dive into what behavioural interview questions are. These focus on your past behaviour – in contrast with situational interview questions, which present you with a hypothetical scenario.
Check out some examples of behavioural interview questions below:

● Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at work?
● Give me an example of a goal that you achieved recently?
● Describe a situation when you worked as part of a team.
● Have you ever handled an upset customer or client? What did you do about it?
● Talk about a time when you had to deal with a difficult challenge at work.

Behavioural interview questions can seem easier to answer at first glance. You don’t have to imagine what your course of action would be, you only have to look back to the past and describe what you did. But it can be tricky because recruiters might ask you about a negative experience and you must reframe it in a way that’s positive. You might also struggle to remember certain situations under pressure as  you’re not given a lot of time to think.

Using the STAR Technique

Brainstorming a list of experiences that you can mention before the interview can be helpful, but for the times when you’ll be thinking on your feet, you can structure your answer quickly using the STAR technique.

Here’s how it works:

S – Situation

Since behavioural interviews are asking about your past experiences, start by explaining the specific situation you have in mind. If you’re bringing up a situation outside of work, make sure that you can relate it to the role that you’re applying for.

T – Task

The next step is to bring up the task or challenge that you were facing. This can be anything from creating a new marketing strategy to mediating conflict between two colleagues. Highlight its importance and what was at stake if you didn’t accomplish the task.

A – Action

This is the most crucial part of your answer. You’ll be describing what exactly you did. Don’t get distracted and talk about what your colleagues or boss did, instead, focus on your own competence and show that you were proactive about it.

R – Result

End your response with the results of your action. What happened afterward, and how did the situation change? Aside from the positive impact, you made externally, you can also briefly mention what you learned from the experience.

Applying the STAR technique

Let’s apply the STAR technique to a leadership interview question.
Question: Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills?

This is would be an ideal answer to the above question:
Situation – While we were working on a client project with an upcoming deadline, our boss had to visit another branch because of an emergency.
Task – He assigned me to lead the team temporarily for a week while he wasn’t around. The next day, the client called and wanted to make a major revision.
Action – While it was initially stressful because of the short deadline, I delegated the new tasks to members of our team and held daily check-ins to handle any concerns or problems.
Results -We managed to finish the project on time, and the client, as well as my boss were happy with the results.

The STAR technique is effective for behavioural questions because it frames your experience into a coherent, memorable story. By keeping this technique in mind during your interview, you can give more seamless answers and impress your recruiter with the concrete results that you achieved.

Visit our Interviews web page for information and a video about our how to overcome interview nerves. You can also book an application and interview support appointment with an adviser to discuss any concerns.

Posted in Interviews