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?
- Traditional interview questions vs behavioral interview questions
- Traditional interview questions
- Behavioral interview questions
- How to answer a behavioral interview question with PAR technique
- What are the top 10 behavioral questions in an interview?
- Behavioral interview questions by job competency
- 1. Behavioral interview questions about leadership
- 2. Behavioral interview questions about decision making
- 3. Behavioral interview questions about problem-solving
- 4. Behavioral interview questions on Communication
- 5. Behavioral interview questions about teamwork
- Bottom line
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.
PAR technique: Example answer
“Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond to meet a deadline.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.