10 Common Behavioural Interview Questions and Answers

A young man being interviewed by two female hiring managers VitalikRadko / Depositphotos.com

The format of a behavioural interview is similar to that of a traditional job interview. The difference between the two lies in the type of questions that are asked.

In a behavioural interview, you will be asked questions about particular situations in the workplace and how you handled every one of those. The goal of the interview is to get an idea about your past behaviour in an attempt to gauge your future performance.

Check out this list of common behavioural interview questions and arm yourself with tips on how to respond to each one ahead of that crucial interview!

1. ‘Can you tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with a difficult team member?’

This question is aimed at gaining insights into your ability to work as part of a team and is especially relevant when it comes to jobs that require you to work in tandem with other employees.

When responding to this question, ensure that your answer highlights the manner in which you made good use of your conflict management skills. Illustrate with an example how you engaged in active listening and effective communication to get along with all team members, including those who were initially uncooperative.

2. ‘Tell me about any major mistake you made and your attempts to correct it.’

Here, the interviewer wants to know whether you are comfortable taking responsibility for your mistakes.

When you prepare to answer, be sure to focus more on how you made amends rather than speaking about the mistake itself.

It’s better to mention a minor mistake you made, such as trying to fulfil all your responsibilities without delegating work to juniors that led to reduced efficiency. Make a smart move and guide the focus toward the speed with which you acted in setting things right. Give it a positive spin by terming the incident a learning moment.

3. ‘What is the most challenging task you were faced with, and how did you complete it?’

When faced with this question, remember that you are being assessed for your problem-solving skills. This refers to your skills in identifying issues, setting the strategy and the kind of initiative you show in solving your problems rather than rushing to your superior for help.

Emphasise the kind of creative or analytical thinking that you applied when dealing with the particular situation. Instances you can cite range from dealing with an irritated customer who was threatening to take their business elsewhere to successfully meeting a deadline that was changed, leaving you with very little time.

4. ‘Tell me about the time you tasted failure and how you dealt with it.’

Your answer to this question will help the interviewer assess your ability to handle failure and disappointment. It is essential to remember that failure in itself will not be held against you, so long as you learned from the experience.

A top answer would be one that demonstrates that you came away from the situation smarter and more experienced.

5. ‘Can you recall a time when you had to complete an assignment or be at the forefront of a project that was not in keeping with your values? What did you do then?’

With this question, the interviewer is seeking information about your integrity. Your answer will help the hiring manager determine if your values match.

Do not hesitate to offer details about how you handled the awkward situation by effectively communicating your views. This will assure them that, no matter how uncomfortable or uncertain the situation might be, you’re capable of stepping up to do the right thing.

6. ‘Name one aspect of your current job that you really enjoy doing or look forward to each morning.’

This is a good way of determining whether you fit in with the company culture. For example, if connecting with customers on a regular basis is what you enjoy most about your current job but is not something your new job description entails, then you might have difficulty adjusting to the change in role.

Follow-up questions on the matter might help the interviewer gauge you better and ensure you are the right candidate for the role.

7. ‘Tell me about an instance when you put in some extra effort while a basic minimum would have been enough.’

Your answer to this typical question will speak volumes about the kind of work ethic you adhere to.

Speak about your reasons for putting in the extra effort and emphasise if this is something you always do or if it was a one-time thing.

If this is a habit, cite an instance that will showcase your hard work, determination and initiative adequately. It might be the time you offered to take up more responsibilities to ensure the success of the team, or you might have given up on personal time to help a team member meet a crucial deadline.

8. ‘What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in the workplace?’

Here, the interviewer wants to know what makes you a better choice than other candidates. They’re looking to get an idea about what you have achieved and what you value.

The key to getting this answer right is moderation. You have to refrain from bragging while being comfortable enough to speak strongly about your accomplishments. It could be anything from your contribution to the company training programme that now helps recruit the brightest minds to an out-of-the-box idea that helped placate a demanding client.

9. ‘Can you share your experiences working with a diverse team?’

Working with teams that are culturally diverse is fast becoming the norm. So, most organisations would pick individuals who have experience dealing with culturally sensitive issues and environments.

These questions require you to give especially specific answers and examples. The topics may be sensitive ones, and you must be respectful when framing your answer.

10. ‘Could you give me an instance when you resolved a difficult situation with an important client? How did you go about this?’

Your answer to this will provide the interviewer with a sample of your customer relationship skills. As this is also a measure of your problem-solving abilities, clearly describe how you tackled the problem to come up with a meaningful solution.

If your amicable resolution of the matter resulted in long-term gains to the organisation, be sure to communicate that to the interviewer.

The interviewer will form their opinion based on your responses to these specific situations and the outcome of your actions. Thus, it is important that you answer each of the questions as best as possible rather than not answer at all.

Since such type of interviews are fact-based, being honest with your answer and being succinct is the best way to prepare for these. Being alert and cultivating the ability to think on your feet can stand you in good stead here.

What other questions are likely to come up in a behavioural interview? Were you ever asked any of these questions? How did you deal with them?

Join the conversation down below and share your experiences with us!