Preparing for job interviews may not be fun but it’s definitely worth it as it ensures success during the interview. Learn how to successfully prepare.
Behavioural interviews are on the rise, and you should expect to either be called in for a strictly behavioural interview (if you are successful in the first interview) or for some behavioural questions to be included in a standard job interview.
Unlike traditional interview questions, which are used to determine your qualifications and skills, behavioural interview questions help the interviewer decide whether you’d be suitable for the position based on how you’ve previously behaved in certain situations. After you answer, the hiring manager usually asks follow-up questions to explore your character and your response further. Although nerve-wracking for the interviewee, behavioural job interviews can help employers make more informed decisions, faster.
If you want to be successful in behavioural job interviews, you need to be confident so that you can give natural responses that flow well and keep the hiring manager's interest. To achieve this level of confidence you need to prepare for behavioural interview questions (note that the idea isn't that you prepare answers and learn them by heart but simply to have a rough idea of what you want to say).
The problem is that behavioural interview questions are very random, and you can never know exactly what the hiring manager is going to ask you or even how they will frame a question. Your best option is to take a look at the most common behavioural questions we’ve listed below and think about how your experience applies to these questions.
If you remember to use the STAR (situation, task, action, results) approach in every one of these instances, then we’re confident that you’ll do great (make sure that you read our previous post on the STAR approach).
The questions have been separated into categories which relate to skills that are necessary in the workplace. Remember that the job description will help you understand if the hiring manager is interested in specific skills (like teamwork, working under pressure, etc.) as they’ll be highlighted.
- Describe a situation where you had to work closely with someone whose personality was different to yours. How did you successfully manage the collaboration?
- Have you ever faced conflict while working in a team and if yes, how did you handle the situation?
- Tell me about a time you had a hard time building a meaningful professional relationship with someone important in your work environment.
- Most people make mistakes in the workplace from time to time, have you ever handled a situation with a colleague badly? And what would you do differently now?
- Have you ever had to work with someone who wasn’t willing to help you even though you needed their help?
- Describe a situation where you managed to sell your idea to the rest of your team.
- Can you tell me about a time when you were successful in motivating others?
- Describe a situation where you had to work with a group to complete a project, what steps did you take?
- Have you ever worked closely with a person who had a very different working style to you?
- How do you contribute to an environment with strong teamwork?
- Have you ever managed to persuade someone to see things your way even if they originally disagreed with you?
- Describe a time when you had to use written communication to get your idea across to your team. Were you successful and what difficulties did you encounter?
- Have you ever found a problem taken the initiative to solve it rather than waiting for someone else to deal with it?
- Have you ever taken the lead after seeing a situation that required immediate action?
- Describe a situation where you had to deal with a very upset client or colleague. What steps did you take to reassure them? And how did things turn out?
- Can you describe a situation where you were successful in motivating others?
- A good leader knows how to delegate responsibilities, but it requires skill to be able to delegate jobs and tasks successfully. Do you have any examples of being able to delegate a project successfully?
- You can’t always be a crowd pleaser at work. Have you ever had to make a decision that others (colleagues for example) did not approve of?
- Part of a manager’s job description is that he or she is the person who has to let go of people from time to time. Have you ever had to fire a friend and how did you deal with that?
- Can you describe a time when a project (or idea) was implemented because you took the lead?
- Have you ever had to organise and implement a new system/work process to your team?
- Do you think that your personal qualities can help you successfully lead others? Do you have any examples of being able to use your qualities to lead others?
- Managers don’t have a textbook to help them in every situation. Being able to lead others has to do with having the charisma of a leader and the skills. Can you describe the best example of your leadership skills?
- Have you ever had to deal with people not wanting to support your ideas?
- Can you describe a situation where you had to change your leadership style to get others to accept your ideas?
Ability to Work Well Under Pressure
- Can you give me an example of a time when you were under extreme pressure, and you dealt with it effectively?
- Have you ever needed to be quick on your feet to get yourself out of a difficult situation at work?
- It’s said that to cope with many responsibilities you need to be strategic. Do you have any example of being able to work strategically to successfully get through all of your top priorities?
- Have your responsibilities ever become overwhelming? How did you cope?
- Have you ever had numerous responsibilities? How did you manage to cope?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to work under strict supervision?
- Describe a time when you were in a stressful situation and the coping skills you used to get through it.
- Have you ever been required to go above and beyond to get the job done?
- How good are you at sticking to your to-do lists? Can you describe a situation when you had too many things to do and needed to prioritise?
- We don’t always have the luxury of time to decide what the best course of action would be. Can you describe a situation when you had to make a split-second decision? Was is the right choice?
- It would be great if everything worked at our pace and if everything was easy in the workplace but that’s rarely the case. Have you ever felt challenged at work? And if you have, how did you cope with the situation?
- Lots of people forget that you need to maintain a positive attitude throughout a meeting with a client, especially when they’re pressured to deliver or make a decision. Can you describe a similar high-stress situation in which you were required to maintain a positive attitude? What did you do? And how did things work out?
- Can you describe a time when you planned and completed a complex assignment?
Dealing With Clients
- Can you describe a time when it was important to make a good impression on a client? And how did you do it?
- There are times when clients are dissatisfied with the kind of service we provide. Have you ever had a client whose expectations you didn’t meet? What happened and how did you go about fixing it?
- Getting a customer’s approval is high praise. Can you describe a situation when you’ve been able to please a customer with your service?
- Difficult customers are the bane of every customer service representative’s existence. Can you describe a situation when you had to deal with a difficult client?
- Have you ever had more than one customer? How do you manage to prioritise their needs?
- Customers don’t always know what’s best for them. Can you describe a situation where you managed to persuade a customer to change their mind?
- Can you tell us about a time when you used your good judgment to solve a misunderstanding with a customer?
- Have you ever disagreed with a customer? How did you handle the situation?
- Have you ever been required to conform to a customer’s demands even if you didn’t agree with them?
- What do you believe excellent customer service entails? Have you ever put your philosophy to work? How did things turn out?
- Out of all the bad customers you’ve ever had, who was the worst? And how did you deal with him or her?
- Have you ever used spoken communication to persuade a client to do something you wanted them to do?
Failing at Work
- Describe a situation in which you had a conflict with someone.
- Tell me about a time when you tried to do something at work and failed. What were your reasons for failure? And how would you prevent the same thing from happening again in the future?
- Can you describe a time when you missed an obvious solution?
- Have you ever set your sights too high? What happened?
- Can you describe a work situation that irritated you?
- Have you ever been criticised at work? How did you handle the criticism?
Achieving a Goal
- Can you tell me about a time when you set a goal and were able to achieve it?
- What do you believe was the most important goal you achieved in your previous job?
- Have you ever encountered any obstacles on your way to success? What were they?
- How do you handle obstacles that get in the way of achieving your goals?
- Can you describe a time when you seized an opportunity?
Passion for Work
- Can you give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work? What was the most exciting part? And what was the most difficult?
- Can you tell me about a time when you were dissatisfied with your work? What did you do to overcome the situation?
- Have you ever had a long-term project? How did you manage to remain motivated throughout it?
- How do you motivate yourself to complete an assignment or task you don’t want to do?
- Can you tell me about a time when your persistence paid off?
- Have you ever been required to use a program or system you knew nothing about? How did you cope with that?
- Have you ever met with resistance when trying to improve a system or program at work?
- Can you tell me about a time when you worked your hardest? What was the project you were working on? What was the outcome? And were there any rewards?
- What is the professional accomplishment you are most proud of?
Have you ever had to answer any of these behavioural interview questions? Did you find them scary or were you preapared? Let us know...