Behavioral based interview questions are widely used by employers to assess a candidate’s past behavior and how they may perform in future work situations. These questions require candidates to provide specific examples and demonstrate their skills, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal competencies. To help you prepare for your next interview, we have compiled a list of top behavioral-based interview questions along with sample answers. These examples will give you insights into the types of questions you may encounter and provide guidance on how to structure your responses effectively.
What Is a Behavioral Interview Question?
A behavioral interview question is a type of question that asks about your past experiences and actions in specific situations. The purpose is to understand how you have handled similar situations in the past, as it can provide insights into how you might handle similar situations in the future. These questions focus on real-life examples to assess your skills, abilities, and behaviors in various scenarios.
Why Do Interviewers Ask Them?
Interviews ask behavioral interview questions to gain a better understanding of a candidate’s past behavior and how they might perform in future situations. In fact, research suggests that behavioral interviewing is 55% predictive of future on-the-job behavior (while standard interviewing is only 10% predictive).
By asking about specific experiences and actions, employers can assess a candidate’s skills, problem-solving abilities, communication style, and other relevant qualities. Behavioral interview questions provide valuable insights into a candidate’s potential fit for the role and help employers make informed hiring decisions.
STAR Method for Answering Behavioral Questions
The STAR method is a structured approach to answering behavioral interview questions.
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
- Situation: Describe the context and background of the situation you encountered.
- Task: Explain the specific task or challenge you faced.
- Action: Detail the actions you took to address the situation or task.
- Result: Share the outcome or result of your actions, including any achievements or lessons learned.
Use this method to showcase your problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and ability to handle challenging situations.
10 Common Behavioral Based Interview Questions + Sample Answers
Question: Tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult team member.
Sample Answer: In my previous job, I encountered a team member who was consistently missing deadlines and causing disruptions. I scheduled a one-on-one meeting to understand their challenges and concerns. By actively listening and offering support, we identified the underlying issues and developed a plan together. Through regular check-ins and mentoring, their performance improved, and the team became more cohesive.
Question: Describe a situation where you had to resolve a conflict with a coworker.
Sample Answer: During a project, I had a disagreement with a coworker regarding the approach we should take. Instead of escalating the conflict, I suggested a meeting to openly discuss our perspectives. We actively listened to each other, found common ground, and compromised on a solution that incorporated both viewpoints. By maintaining open communication and focusing on the project’s goals, we were able to successfully resolve the conflict.
Question: Can you share an example of a time when you had to adapt to a significant change at work?
Sample Answer: In a previous role, our department underwent a major restructuring. I proactively sought out information about the changes, attended training sessions, and embraced the new responsibilities. I collaborated with my colleagues to streamline workflows and supported team members who were struggling to adapt. By demonstrating flexibility and a positive attitude, I successfully transitioned into the new structure and contributed to the team’s overall success.
Question: Tell me about a time when you took the lead on a project or initiative.
Sample Answer: In a recent project, I noticed a gap in our customer service processes. I volunteered to lead a task force to revamp our approach. I organized meetings, delegated responsibilities, and encouraged open communication. Through collaboration and careful planning, we implemented a new system that significantly improved customer satisfaction ratings and reduced response times.
Question: Describe a situation where you had to make a difficult decision with limited information.
Sample Answer: In a time-sensitive project, I encountered a critical issue that required immediate action. With limited information available, I gathered all relevant data within the given timeframe and consulted with key stakeholders. Although the decision was challenging, I used my analytical skills and intuition to make an informed choice. This decision ultimately mitigated potential risks and allowed the project to proceed successfully.
Question: Can you provide an example of a time when you had to meet a tight deadline?
Sample Answer: In my previous role, we received an urgent client request that required delivering a comprehensive report within 24 hours. I organized a team meeting, prioritized tasks, and assigned responsibilities based on individual strengths. By fostering open communication and maintaining a sense of urgency, we successfully completed the report ahead of the deadline, ensuring client satisfaction.
Question: Tell me about a situation where you had to demonstrate strong problem-solving skills.
Sample Answer: In a complex project, we faced unexpected technical difficulties that threatened to delay the timeline. I gathered the team, identified the root cause of the issue, and brainstormed potential solutions. Through a systematic approach and collaboration, we implemented a workaround that resolved the problem and allowed us to stay on track.
Question:Describe a time when you had to handle a dissatisfied customer.
Sample Answer: During my time as a customer service representative, I encountered an upset customer who had received a faulty product. I actively listened to their concerns, empathized with their frustration, and apologized for the inconvenience. I offered a solution by providing a replacement product and ensured that they were satisfied with the resolution. Through effective communication and customer-focused problem-solving, I turned a negative experience into a positive one.
Question: Can you share an example of a time when you had to multitask and manage competing priorities?
Sample Answer: In my previous role, I was responsible for managing multiple projects simultaneously. To effectively handle competing priorities, I created a detailed project plan, prioritized tasks based on deadlines and importance, and utilized time management techniques. I maintained open communication with stakeholders, regularly updated project statuses, and sought assistance when necessary. By effectively multitasking, I successfully met deadlines and delivered quality outcomes for each project.
Question: Tell me about a situation where you had to take a risk or step out of your comfort zone.
Sample Answer: In a previous role, I was given the opportunity to present a proposal to senior management. Although public speaking was not my strong suit, I recognized the importance of the presentation and decided to step out of my comfort zone. I prepared extensively, sought feedback from colleagues, and practiced delivering the presentation multiple times. Despite initial nervousness, the presentation was well-received, and it boosted my confidence in public speaking.
Remember, these sample answers are just examples, and it’s crucial to tailor your responses to your own experiences and accomplishments.
Tips for Acing a Behavioral Interview
Here are some tips to help you ace a behavioral interview:
- Understand the job requirements: take a closer look at the job description and identify the key skills and competencies required for the role. This will help you anticipate the types of behavioral questions that may be asked.
- Prepare examples: Reflect on your past experiences and identify specific examples that demonstrate your skills, accomplishments, and problem-solving abilities.
- Be specific and concise: Provide specific details in your answers to paint a clear picture of your actions and achievements. Focus on relevant information and keep your responses concise, highlighting the most important aspects of each situation.
- Highlight your skills: Emphasize the skills and qualities that align with the job requirements. Use your examples to demonstrate your communication skills, problem-solving abilities, adaptability, leadership potential, and teamwork.
- Be honest and authentic: Be truthful and authentic in your responses. Avoid exaggerating or fabricating experiences, as interviewers can usually detect insincerity. Focus on providing genuine examples that showcase your abilities.
- Practice, practice, practice: Practice answering behavioral interview questions with a friend or in front of a mirror. This will help you refine your responses, improve your confidence, and become more comfortable with the interview format.
- Ask questions: At the end of the interview, ask thoughtful questions about the company, role, or team. This shows your engagement and genuine interest in the opportunity.
Preparing for an interview? Here’s more: 21 Time Management Interview Questions
Being prepared for behavioral-based interview questions is crucial. By practicing your responses using the STAR method and tailoring them to match the job requirements, you can effectively highlight your skills and experiences.
Use the sample answers as a guide but make sure to incorporate your own unique experiences. With preparation and confidence, you can excel in behavioral interviews and make a positive impression on employers.
What Are Situational Interview Questions?
Situational interview questions ask candidates how they would handle hypothetical scenarios or situations related to the job they are applying for. These questions aim to assess how candidates apply their knowledge, skills, and problem-solving abilities to real-life work situations.
What Are the Top Three Behavioral Interview Questions?
The top three behavioral interview questions may vary depending on the job and employer. However, some commonly asked behavioral interview questions include:
- “Tell me about a time when you faced a challenging situation at work and how you handled it.”
- “Describe a situation where you had to work as part of a team to achieve a goal.”
- “Can you give an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer or client?”
How Do You Pass a Behavior-Based Interview?
To pass a behavior-based interview, consider the following tips: prepare examples, use the
STAR method, research the company, be authentic, ask questions, and practice.