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Many of the most common job interview questions are behavioural in nature, This means the interviewer is asking a certain question to get an idea of how you handled a situation in the past, and get a sense of a candidate’s soft skills, personality, and communication abilities, so that if they get hired, the recruiter or hiring manager will know how they would work with the rest of their team. Another benefit of these questions is that they allow candidates to distinguish themselves from others by showcasing achievements and times they have used their skills to overcome challenges. This is particularly useful for assessing non-quantifiable skills that have no official certifications. Since these types of questions are so common, this article will provide samples of behavioural questions you may encounter, explain why these questions are used and provide you with tips on how to answer these questions for your next interview.
When hiring managers ask you behavioural interview questions, they are trying to assess very specific, intangible skills. You should be familiar with these skills so you can answer these behavioural interview questions effectively:
When hiring managers ask questions about your past behaviour in specific situations, they are looking for examples of times when you used skills like these to deal with a stressful or challenging situation. Practice answering the behavioural questions below and consider our sample answers to get an idea of the kinds of experiences and achievements that will provide good answers to these questions.
Even though behavioural questions can vary widely, the goal of answering these questions is to assess responses that correspond to an overall theme like team work, leadership, conflict resolution, and problem-solving. Below we’ve outlined the four most common themes and questions for each theme that you could be asked during your interview. The exact wording of the question you receive may differ, but the general themes being assessed will stay the same.
Questions like the ones below will be used to analyse how you communicate and work through challenges with others. During the interview hiring managers will also be looking for cues as to what type of role you would take on in a team environment and compare that to the staff they already have.
Conflicts happen in the workplace so hiring managers are interested in how you handle difficult situations. While negatives can be hard to discuss, keeping your statements positive and focusing on how the particular situation was resolved showcases your ability for self-reflection and how you can manage disagreements and stressful situations in a professional manner.
Do you have what it takes to get the job done, regardless of potential obstacles? Hiring managers want to know how resourceful you can be and that you are the kind of person that can find solutions to obstacles despite the circumstances. Use these questions to think of situations where you’ve practiced problem-solving and shown follow through even when things went wrong.
Hiring managers want to know how you prioritise work and manage tight deadlines so for these questions, think about how you handled big projects in the past. Or if you struggled with time management, how did you overcome that and achieve positive results? Don’t forget to describe the tools you use like calendars, list making, or project management software so that you can illustrate how you stay on track.
When answering a behavioural interview question, it is important that you do so completely and efficiently. One of the ways you can do this is by utilising the STAR method to answer them. This acronym stands for:
By thinking through the four factors above you can draw on work experiences or situations from your personal life, and break them down to the key points the recruiter is most likely interested in. Make sure you address the question and all its elements. For example:
Question: Can you give me an example of how you handled a difficult situation at work?
Here are four more tips to help make your answers more concise and interesting to a hiring manager:
If you use the STAR method while answering behavioural interview questions and draw from your past experiences, you will be sure to impress the hiring manager. You can further prepare for your job interview by checking out some of the most common interview questions for each industry. CVHelp’s career blog has articles that detail common interview questions for many industries, including hospitality and accounting. By preparing but not memorising answers to common questions, you will increase your chances of being able to answer behavioural questions in interviews without hesitation.
If you want guidance before preparing for your next interview, CVHelp has many resources which could help you to practice the most common interview methods so that your next interview will be a breeze.
Check out these resources if you are looking for just the right way to impress a hiring manager during your next interview:
When answering behavioral job interview questions, you should avoid hypotheticals and vague language. Instead give clear, truthful, and specific answers to their questions. You should also use the STAR method outlined above to ensure you give complete answers. Furthermore, if the hiring manager asks about your previous work environment, be sure to address any issues but speak about your coworkers and employer in positive terms.
While it is a good idea to practice answering behavioral interview questions, you should not memorise specific answers. Good answers to these kinds of questions should be tailored to the specific question that the recruiter asks; if you have a series of memorised answers to fall back on, it won’t fit directly with the question being asked and may come off generic or too calculated.
It can be helpful to spend time before the interview thinking of an example of a time that you showed good leadership skills, communication skills, or otherwise excelled in past roles. If you do this and rehearse answering appropriate behavioral interview questions with someone you trust, you may find it easier to answer questions well in your interview.
Preparing for behavioural interview questions involves studying the job description and noting what skills are significant so you can think of experiences that would be a good match. It’s also important to review major projects you’ve worked on and think about not just the outcome but how you prepared for the project and what the process of completing it was like. Making a list of your professional accomplishments can also be quite helpful because you can see the common skills and patterns that show up. Remember to be open and honest in your answers and with yourself so that you can give the best response, and practice your interview responses aloud if possible so you won’t be nervous.
The goal of asking behavioural interview questions is being able to analyse a candidate’s responses and infer from those answers how they might work in the future. Getting to know a candidate’s thinking styles, motivations, tendencies, and preferences through using past behaviour is a proven technique used to more accurately determine the future performance or success of the individual. The theory that recruiters and hiring managers practice is that behavioural interview questions will help them uncover previous patterns to keep from making a bad hire.
Both types of questions may be used during an interview but situational and behavioural interview questions are used to elicit different responses from the interviewee. Behavioural interview questions ask you to utilise stories from your past so that you describe and exhibit a particular behavior the interviewer is trying to assess. On the other hand, situational questions force interviewees to go off script and critically think about situations they could potentially encounter. Behavioural questions give you a good idea of how candidates have excelled and struggled with circumstances in previous jobs, with some hiring managers believing that the way a candidate worked in the past signifies how they’ll work in the future. Situational interviews look directly into a potential future. The interviewee is presented with a problem and has to supply, on the spot, what they would do in that situation. To prepare for either type of interview, the interviewee should still think of instances where they excelled in a leadership opportunity or worked well with others as those can be good starting points to draw from even when dealing with a hypothetical situation.
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