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41+ Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers in 2024

Behavioral Interview Tips That Will Help You Get The Job

What is a behavioral interview? A behavioral interview consists of questions that ask the applicant to describe a specific challenge they faced in their career. Typically, employers use it to determine whether the applicant has the necessary abilities to succeed in the job.

Table of Contents: 

What is a behavioral interview?

For most competency-based companies, a behavioral interview is the primary interviewing style. A behavioral interview is based on the belief that past behavior can reflect future behavior. In other words, past behavior can be the stepping stone to future success. In general, interviewers will try to find out how an applicant behaved in the past to decide whether he can be successful on the job.

Some companies make use of a structured behavioral interview during which the applicant can choose from a list of questions relating to each key competency of the position.

Traditional interview questions vs behavioral interview questions

Traditional job interview questions

Traditional interview questions are typically more general and aim to gather background information about a candidate. They often include common questions such as “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Traditional interview questions are not specifically focused on a candidate’s past behavior or actions in specific situations.

Behavioral job interview questions

Behavioral interview questions, on the other hand, focus on a candidate’s past behavior and actions in specific situations. These questions require candidates to provide concrete examples of how they handled certain situations in the past.

Using the structured behavioral interview model, it’s not “Do you know how to do it?” but rather “Tell me how you’ve done it and the result that you achieved.”

How to answer behavioral interview questions with the PAR technique

The PAR technique (Problem-Action-Result) is an effective approach for answering behavioral interview questions. It allows you to provide a detailed example of a time when you performed exceptionally well in a past job, demonstrating your abilities and proving your value to the employer.

  • Problem: Start by describing the specific problem or challenge you encountered in the past. 
  • Action: Describe the steps you followed, the strategies you implemented, and the decisions you made.
  • Result: Finally, discuss the results or outcomes of your actions.
Behavioralinterview Partechnique

PAR technique: Example answer

“Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond to meet a deadline.”

  • Problem: In my previous role as a project manager, we had a critical project with a tight deadline. However, one of our key team members unexpectedly fell ill, leaving us short-staffed and jeopardizing the project’s completion.
  • Action: To address this challenge, I immediately assessed the remaining workload and identified the critical tasks that needed immediate attention. I reached out to other team members and explained the situation, seeking their support and assistance. I redistributed the workload, ensuring that everyone had a clear understanding of their responsibilities and the urgency of the situation. Additionally, I communicated with the client, managing their expectations and providing regular updates on our progress.
  • Result: Through effective delegation, collaboration, and clear communication, we were able to meet the deadline despite the unexpected setback. The project was successfully delivered on time, and the client expressed their satisfaction with the quality of our work and our ability to overcome obstacles.

List of competency-base behavioral interview questions

List Of Competency‐base Behavioral Interview Questions

Top 10 behavioral interview questions

A behavioral interview question will demand specific examples of what you have done about a problem in the past.

  • Explain the steps you took to manage and complete this project for Salesforce.
  • Describe the most difficult work decision you’ve had to make.
  • Tell me about a time you had to strategically prioritize tasks to meet all your goals.
  • Describe a time when you were under a lot of pressure. What was happening, and how did you overcome it?
  • Tell me about a situation where you had to make a hard decision based on your values.
  • Describe the most successful presentation you’ve given. Why do you think it was a success?
  • Tell me about a time you managed multiple responsibilities and how you handled them.
  • Give me an example of a time you worked efficiently under pressure.
  • Tell me about a conflict you faced while working in a team and how you handled it.
  • Give me an example of a project you worked for Adobe on where you had to search for information and be resourceful.
  • Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied with your work. What could have made the situation better?

Behavioral interview questions by categories:

  • Questions about Leadership
  • Question about Decision Making
  • Questions about Problem Solving
  • Questions about Communication
  • Questions about Teamwork

1. Behavioral interview questions about leadership

Tell me about a time you resolved a conflict between two team members.

Conflict resolution is a crucial leadership skill. Your answer will help the interviewer gauge how well you can handle conflict and mediate disagreements. In your response, focus on one specific example of a workplace conflict you helped resolve.

Sample Answer with PAR method:

As a project manager, I once encountered a conflict between two team members, Sarah and Mark. Sarah felt that Mark was not pulling his weight and was often late with his deliverables. Mark, on the other hand, believed that Sarah was being overly critical and not giving him enough guidance.

To address this conflict, I applied the PAR method. Firstly, I identified the problem: the breakdown in communication and collaboration between Sarah and Mark, which was affecting the team’s progress.

Next, I took action by arranging a meeting with both Sarah and Mark separately. I allowed them to express their concerns and actively listened to their perspectives. I created a safe space where they could openly communicate their frustrations and expectations.

Based on their feedback, I organized a joint meeting with both Sarah and Mark. During this meeting, I facilitated a constructive conversation where they could understand each other’s viewpoints and find common ground. I encouraged them to communicate their needs and work together towards a solution.

Through this dialogue, they were able to gain a better understanding of each other’s challenges and strengths. Sarah agreed to provide Mark with clearer instructions and timelines, while Mark committed to better time management and seeking help when needed.

As a result, Sarah and Mark were able to resolve their conflicts and establish a more collaborative working relationship. They started communicating effectively, setting realistic expectations, and supporting each other. The conflict was successfully resolved, leading to improved productivity and a more harmonious team dynamic.

What values do you try to promote and how do you embody them as a leader?

Your values as a leader will dictate the values of the entire team, so they must align with the company’s values. Your values will also affect your overall leadership style, so ensure you mention ones that align with the company culture.

Sample Answer with PAR method:

Problem: In my previous role as a team leader, I noticed that there was a lack of trust and collaboration among team members, leading to a decrease in productivity and morale.

Action: To address this issue, I focused on promoting the values of trust, collaboration, and respect within the team. I started by organizing team-building activities and workshops that encouraged open communication and fostered stronger relationships among team members. I also implemented a system where everyone had the opportunity to share their ideas and opinions during team meetings, ensuring that everyone’s voice was heard and valued.

Result: As a result of these initiatives, I witnessed a significant improvement in the team dynamics. Team members began to trust and rely on each other’s expertise, leading to increased collaboration and a more positive work environment. Productivity improved, and there was a noticeable boost in morale and job satisfaction among team members.

2. Behavioral interview questions about decision making

Have you ever made a decision that wasn’t accepted at first? How did you handle this?

Anyone in a management position must make a decision that won’t make employees happy occasionally. Whether it’s a new policy or company-wide restructuring, the interviewer wants to understand your process of implementing change smoothly.

Sample Answer: When I started in my last position, I was given a team that didn’t have well-defined shift schedules. While this gave the team more freedom to choose and switch shifts at the last minute, it led to understaffing and inconsistencies. I introduced a new policy that required all shifts to be scheduled well in advance and approved by management. After explaining the reasoning behind the changes and the improvements the new system would bring, the team quickly understood why it was necessary and followed the policies. 

Describe the most difficult work decision you’ve had to make.

When answering this question, focus on framing the reply positively. Explain the reasoning behind your decision, whether that’s research, ethics, or experience. The interviewer will be looking to assess your confidence, strategic thinking, and self-awareness, so ensure you highlight those qualities.

Sample Answer: I was the one to make the final decision on who would be getting a promotion to a management role in the sales department. The two candidates were equally productive and talented and joined the company around the same time. To ensure there’s no animosity between them, I chose the candidate with the better track record of closed sales and discussed, and later implemented, other growth opportunities that I felt were more suitable for the other employee. 

Tell me about a situation when you had to make a hard decision based on your values.

Your values translate to your work and can strongly affect the company. This question is an excellent opportunity to explain how your values align with those of the company or how they could benefit the company culture.

Sample Answer: In one of my first managerial positions, we had to make significant budget cuts, and I had to decide whether to keep everyone on the team and give up some projects or to let go of some employees and keep all our projects. I knew the personal situations of all my team members and couldn’t bear the thought of leaving them without a source of income with such short notice. We gave up about 15% of our projects. Thankfully, by the same time next year, we have expanded enough to replace those projects and gain many more.

3. Behavioral interview questions about problem-solving

Describe a time you couldn’t finish a project on time. What happened, and how did you overcome it?

This question can be tricky as it forces you to talk about a failure. However, the interviewer is trying to see whether you know why you failed and whether you’ve learned from the failure. So, instead of focusing on the problem, focus on how you overcame it and what you do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Sample Answer: When I started in my previous position, I habitually delivered materials before the deadline. Over time, this led to my workload getting more demanding, to the point where I could not meet the deadlines. I scheduled a meeting with my manager to discuss this, and we decided to define my workload better and hire an additional designer to collaborate with me and deliver projects on time.

Have you ever gone beyond your job description to solve a problem?

Every employer wants to see the employees go above and beyond if needed. And while it shouldn’t be a requirement, it does set you apart from other applicants if you show that you’re not afraid to do a bit of extra work to help the company grow.

Sample Answer: Due to a budget cut, we had a short-term staffing issue at my previous company. While my team was doing alright, the marketing team was severely understaffed and struggling to meet an important deadline for a big client. It wasn’t a problem that involved my department or me, but I decided to offer to help nevertheless. In the end, I stayed late for a few days to help the team finish the project, and they were able to submit it on time.

Tell me about a time when you disagreed with someone at work. How did you resolve the conflict?

This question gives the interviewer insight into how you handle conflict and interpersonal problems. In your answer, you should focus on the solution you came up with or how you compromised during a disagreement at work.

Sample Answer: In one of my first jobs, my manager felt that I was productive enough to take on the workload of another team member and assigned additional tasks to me without any prior discussion. I quickly realized this issue and brought up the fact that the quality of my work might be compromised if I must deliver the work of two employees. In the end, we discussed the workload and job tasks that I could handle and excel at, and we came up with a better definition of my responsibilities.

4. Behavioral interview questions on Communication

 How would you explain a complex technical concept to co-workers with less technical knowledge?

Although working in the same company, you may often need to communicate with employees from different departments who specialize in something entirely different. In the cases of cross-department communication, presentations, or speaking to less tech-savvy clients, it’s crucial to be able to break down complicated concepts.

Sample Answer: As a software manager, I often run into this scenario. Last year, all the company servers were down for a day which caused concern across departments, and it was up to me to explain what happened. I always tried to tie it back to the aspects of the business that the other departments specialized in. This way, everyone understood how the outage would affect their department and that there was nothing to worry about.

Tell me about a time when you had to break the bad news to a team member or client.

Whether it’s layoffs or projects being delayed, no one likes being the one to deliver bad news. Still, it’s a skill that demonstrates compassion, confidence, and the ability to communicate effectively and avoid conflict. In your answer, think of a concrete example, no matter how important the bad news was.

Sample Answer: In my previous position, we got the opportunity to pitch an idea to a major global client. Everyone on the team was incredibly passionate about this and put their absolute best into making the pitch presentation. Unfortunately, the client decided to go with another company, and I had to break the news to the team. Instead of focusing on losing the potential client, I complimented everyone on their hard work and refocused them on future opportunities to lift morale.

 Have you ever misunderstood important communication in the workplace? How did you rectify it?

It’s easy to misunderstand someone, especially if working under tight deadlines and with different communication styles. However, the interviewer will want to hear about how you handle misunderstandings and prevent them from repeating.

Sample Answer: One time, my manager and I had a major miscommunication about the contents of a brief to be presented the next day. Unfortunately, we only realized this right before the presentation, so we had to work together and improvise to succeed. Afterward, we discussed what happened and agreed always to share tasks in writing and in advance so we could clear any confusion well before the deadline.

5. Behavioral interview questions about teamwork

When working in a team, what role do you usually assume?

This is your opportunity to highlight the skills you use when working in a team that are crucial to the position. Explain the role you typically take on in a team setting and the skills that allow you to excel in that role.

Sample Answer: I naturally tend to assume leadership roles within a team, thanks to my strategic and analytical thinking. I’m very organized, and planning things is my strong suit, so I am usually the one to break up projects into specific steps and strategize how we can approach the tasks.

Describe a time when you managed to motivate your co-workers. What did you do, and what were the outcomes?

Here, the interviewer wants to know if you have motivational skills and your motivational approach. In your answer, give a specific example of how you managed to motivate those around you.

Sample Answer: Due to a mismatch in management, my team and I once worked under leadership that wasn’t experienced in our industry at all. This immediately led to conflicts and misunderstandings. By focusing on what the management was doing right and the improvements made since they got the position, I motivated the majority of my co-workers to give them a chance to succeed. Surely enough, the management team turned out to be highly skilled in leadership and soon brought significant positive change to the company.

 Was there ever a time you had to demonstrate leadership skills outside of a leadership role?

If an employer sees you as a confident leader from the start, there’s a higher chance that you will be at the top of their mind when a leadership role opens within the company. Even if you never held a managerial position, you have most likely still had to display leadership skills at some point in your career.

Sample Answer: We had a crucial company-wide meeting scheduled weeks in advance. Unfortunately, the manager who was supposed to lead the session had to call in sick at the last minute and asked me to take over instead. I had a quick chat with him to gauge what the goal of the meeting was and to go over his notes and talking points. I successfully executed the meeting and collected valuable feedback and ideas from everyone involved. 

Bottom line

Behavioral interview questions are constructed to get you to share specific examples of your competencies and how well you can use them. The main difference between a behavioral interview and a standard interview is that you are expected to share stories rather than short answers. For a strong answer, use the PAR technique. That is, describe the problem, the action you took, and the results your action yielded. Most importantly, remember that there is no wrong answer. Be truthful and confident in your answer, and don’t stress over being wrong.

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