In this interview training tutorial, Richard McMunn teaches you how to answer behavioral interview questions.
If you have any type of behavioural, competency-based or situational interview coming up, this tutorial will greatly assist you in your preparation.
There are many different behavioural interview questions you could get asked, depending on the type of interview you have. Below, I have provided you with a list of my top 10 behavioral/competency-based questions to be prepared for and then provided an in-depth tutorial on how to answer them:
TOP 10 BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
- Q. Tell me about a time when you completed a difficult task whilst under pressure?
- Q. Tell me about a situation you were in where you followed rules and procedures?
- Q. Tell me about a time when you changed how you did something following feedback from someone else?
- Q. Describe a time when you worked with others as part of a team to complete a time-sensitive task?
- Q. Explain a situation you were in when you communicated a difficult message to a group of people?
- Q. Describe a time when you demonstrated flexibility in a work situation that helped your team?
- Q. Tell me about a situation you were in when the project or task you were working on didn’t go according to plan?
- Q. Tell me about a time when you didn’t get on with a work colleague?
- Q. Tell me about a time when you concentrated on a monotonous task for a long period of time?
- Q. Describe a time when you delivered outstanding customer service?
HOW TO ANSWER BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
The most effective way to answer behavioral interview questions is to utilize the STAR technique/method when giving your answers.
The STAR technique for answering interview questions consist of the following elements:
At the start of your answer, explain the SITUATION you found yourself in to the interview panel.
Once you have described the situation now move on to the TASK that needed to be done. Basically, you need to explain to the interview panel what needed to be done.
Once you have briefly described the task, now move on to explain what ACTION you took and also what ACTION others took when completing the task. It is very important you give a specific example. Make sure you tell the interview panel what you did in the specific situation as opposed to what you would do, if the situation arose.
Once you have finished providing details of the action you took, tell the interviewer what the end RESULT was, following yours and others’ actions.
KEY TIP: Make sure the result is a positive outcome following the work you did.
ADDITIONAL ELEMENT OF THE STAR INTERVIEW TECHNIQUE
You can stand out from the other candidates at your behavioral interview by going one step extra at the end of your STAR interview method answer, and that is to tell them what you would do next time, upon REFLECTION:
This is a great one to throw into your answer, as it shows the interview panel what you learnt from the experience you were in. So, you might say something like:
“At the end of the situation I reflected upon my performance. I learned a tremendous amount from the situation, and if the same incident came up again, I would remember to remain calm and follow a logical process for resolving the customer complaint.”
Now we’ve looked at how to answer behavioral interview questions, let’s take a look at 4 behavioral interview questions and answers that utilize the STAR technique. In addition to the questions and answers that follow, I have also provided you with a video tutorial below:
BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW QUESTION #1
Q. Describe a time when you went above and beyond what was required?
In my previous job my manager asked for volunteers to do some work outside of normal hours. Basically, someone within the team had miscalculated the time it would take to complete an important project, and my manager needed someone to help out so that the deadline was not missed.
I immediately volunteered because I knew how important it was for this project to be completed on time, and to specification.
I took the work home with me that night and stayed up until 11pm working on the required task. I didn’t mind doing the additional work as I know the business needs good feedback from its clients, and if the project deadline had been missed, there would have been negative consequences for the company.
The end result was the project was completed on time and to the satisfaction of the client. In fact, they were so pleased with the work we did for them that they have just commissioned us to do another project.
BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW QUESTION #2
Q. Tell me about a time you had conflict at work?
Q. Tell me about a time you resolved a dispute at work?
At work, I was tasked with working alongside a new department as they were short due to maternity leave. It quickly became clear that one member of the team didn’t want to involve me in team discussions or their plans for the future.
Any form of conflict can be negative and also detrimental to a team, so I decided to take control and resolve it quickly and calmly. I approached my work colleague in private and explained to him how I felt about being isolated during team meetings. I then went on to explain that I was here to help the team and that I was keen to get on with my work colleagues. As soon as I told him this, his attitude towards me changed and he apologized for unintentionally ignoring me during meetings.
We then had an in-depth discussion about the team’s plans for the future and how I could help them achieve their goals. By confronting the conflict as soon as it started, I was able to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW QUESTION #3
Q. Describe a stressful situation at work and how you handled it?
One particular day at work, a client called me directly and started shouting abuse at me down the telephone.
She was complaining that she’d been charged twice for some work we had carried out for her. After she had the time to vent her frustrations, I set about resolving the situation for her.
I logged on to our computer system, identified the error and refunded back the second payment straight away. I then apologized and explained that the error had been unintentional, which she accepted.
Whenever there are stressful situations at work, I feel I am at my best. I always remain resilient during stressful situations and focus on what I want to achieve. Dealing with stress at work is all part and parcel of everyday life and I would always be determined to see things through to a successful resolution.
BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW QUESTION #4
Q. What’s your biggest failure to date?
I was working with a team on developing a project quote for an important client.
The contract we were trying to win was very big for our company and a lot of work had gone in to making sure our brief and project plan met their needs. We also felt the quote was competitive due to the complexity of the project requirements.
As the deadline for submitting the quote approached, I personally felt the intensity within the team was dropping off and complacency appeared to be setting in. Unfortunately, soon after we submitted our proposal, we received news we hadn’t won the contract. I felt bad that I didn’t say anything at the time about the intensity wearing off, and I certainly learned a huge amount from that experience.
If you want to win something as a team, you have to give it your all right up until the deadline and be honest with each other about your performance. I would never let something like that slip every again.