At one time a job candidate only had to know the answers to questions like, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Business managers have realized the answers to these questions don’t necessarily predict how an employee will perform on the job. For that reason, many recruiters now incorporate behavioural questions into the standard job interview format.
For candidates, this means preparing for interviews is more complex. Questions like, “Describe a time when you implemented a new initiative and received push back from your staff.” or, “Tell us about a time you had to make a time sensitive, critical decision but lacked the required information to make an informed choice.”require candidates to base their answers on personal experience, clearly describing what they have done and how they did it.
There are two strategies a job seeker can use to prepare for behavioural interview questions:
1. Give Relatable Answers
As part of your interview preparation process, learn as much as possible about the hiring manager’s organizational environment. Review the job posting with a critical eye to discerning the key accountabilities, skills, and traits being sought. Then, research to determine what problems face the organization, whether those issues are lack of initiative or team spirit, poor results, low productivity, or some other issue.
Once you have determined the challenges facing the role, you can predict what questions will likely be asked. For example, an organization with low productivity will likely ask behavioural questions such as, “Tell me about a time you turned around a low efficiency division or team, created engagement, and increased production.”
One common mistake candidates make is in providing answers that aren’t relatable to the interviewer. To ace the behavioural interview, ensure your answers are relevant to the job for which you’re interviewing.
2. Format Your Stories
Ace the behavioural interview by using the S-T-A-R story formula. Answer these questions by first describing the Situation or Task, then discuss the Action you took, followed by the positive Result. The key is to select a situation or task wherein you had a successful resolution.
Use these questions to highlight your key accomplishments and track record of success. These questions help the interviewer determine the type of employee you’ll be. Will you be proactive or reactive? Are you the type of person who takes charge of a situation or waits for instruction?
And, if you find you don’t have a specific experience that relates to the question asked, answer with: “While I haven’t had that specific experience, if I did, here’s how I would handle it.”
Behavioural interviews can be challenging, but with dedicated preparation and perhaps some interview coaching, you can excel. The adage: Practice makes perfect definitely applies to these interviews. Your preparation will enable you to be more confident when you walk in and greet your future employer.
Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional. She specializes in coaching professional and executive clients, and providing career advancement strategies. Copyright JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.
Going on interviews and not landing offers? Or, is your resume being overlooked by hiring managers?
Let’s connect for a complimentary 20 minute telephone Career Strategy Consultation. I specialize in working with professionals and executives to: develop resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles; build interviewing skills; and more. Your consultation will focus on: strategies to support your career goals and help you get promoted; a Resume and/or Cover Letter Critique, or an Interview Audit to determine what you need to do to ace the interview and start landing job offers.
Wishing you much career success!