The secret to preparing for behavioural interview questions

What is a behavioural question?

Interviewers ask behavioural questions to determine how you might react to an issue or situation you experience in the future. Your answer to a behavioural question will reveal to the interviewer evidence of how you will react, illustrated by examples of how you’ve handled similar situations in the past.

What an interviewer looks for when they ask behavioural questions

Common behavioural interview questions can be grouped in several categories:

  • Teamwork — when an interviewer asks you a question about teamwork, they’re looking to verify your ability to work with others. The interviewer will want to know if you can cooperate with team members with different personalities. They will also try to gauge if you can handle conflicts in a healthy and constructive way.
  • Adaptability — adaptability is a trait many employers look for. They’ll be searching for evidence of how you react when an unexpected work crisis occurs, or if the business needs to pivot its focus quickly. Your ability to problem solve may also be explored here.
  • Communication — communication questions are asked to determine how you interact with team members, leadership, and clients. The interviewer will want to know how you represent your team or company, your customer service style, persuasion skills, presentation skills and how well you can convey technical information.
  • Time management — the interviewer wants to find out how well you handle stress and if you have the organisational skills to juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities.
  • Values and motivation — questions asking what drives you can reveal how you handle future failures and stress.

How to prepare for behavioural interview questions

To prepare for behavioural interview questions and come up with answers, you should go through examples of behavioural questions and think of a story from your past experience that shows your competence. If you can’t think of a story that shows a successful outcome, consider sharing an example where you failed, focussing on what you learned from the experience and would do differently in the future.

  • S: Situation — explain the situation or background of the story
  • T: Task — focus in on the specific task you’re referring to
  • A: Action — explain the action you took
  • R: Result — finish by discussing the result of the action

Examples of teamwork behavioural interview questions include:

  • Tell me about an occasion when you needed information from a non-responsive colleague.
  • Give me an example of a conflict you experienced at work.
  • Tell me about when you’ve struggled to build a relationship with someone and how you overcame it.
  • Describe an instance when you’ve worked closely with a teammate with a different personality to yours.

Examples of adaptability behavioural interview questions include:

  • Tell me about a recent work crisis and how you got through it.
  • What did you do to learn the ropes at the first job you ever had?
  • Describe a difficult or awkward position you found yourself in and how you managed it.
  • What’s a recent failure you’ve experienced and how did you deal with it?

Examples of communication behavioural interview questions include:

  • Tell me about a time when it was vital for you to make a good impression on a client.
  • Describe an occasion when you had to deal with a difficult client
  • Describe a time when you needed to rely on written communication skills to get your ideas across to the team.
  • Tell me about a presentation you’ve given and why you think it was successful.
  • Tell me about a long-term project you were managing and how you kept everything to schedule.
  • Describe how you handled overwhelming responsibilities.
  • What’s a work-related goal you recently set for yourself and how did you make sure you achieved it?
  • How have you managed conflicting priorities in the past?
  • Describe to me your proudest professional achievement.
  • Tell me about an occasion when you noticed a problem at work and took the initiative to correct it.
  • When were you able to be creative at work and did you find this difficult or exciting?
  • Describe an instance when you were unhappy at work and the actions you’ve taken to change it.

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Tiger Recruitment

Tiger Recruitment

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We are a recruitment consultancy that specialises in matching exceptional support staff to top businesses and private individuals