In today’s job market, employers are not only looking at your education and work history. They’re often trying to predict how you will behave in the role and ultimately contribute to the organization. By asking behavioral interview questions, a recruiter will probe deeper into how you’ve handled various work situations in the past to uncover your transferable skills, abilities, and personality. Behavioral based interview questions are based on the principle that past performance is the best indicator of future results. Behavioral interviews also reveal a candidate’s core values and help determine if they align with the company’s beliefs.
Preparation is critical for bringing your best to a behavioral interview. Here are some tips to help you:
- Study the job posting to see what skills and competencies they’re looking for in an applicant. Some companies seek candidates with creative problem-solving skills or maybe you notice an entrepreneurial spirit is desired. Think about situations where you have demonstrated these traits and paint the picture of how your past experiences will benefit the organization with you in the role.
- Research the company’s website to determine what the company’s core values are. The website might not state their values straight out, but you can usually get a sense of what’s important to them. Look for statements about the culture. Do you see words like respect, trust, teamwork or accountability? Does the company value community involvement? Then make a list of the keywords to identify the types of behavioral interview questions you may be asked in the interview.
- Prepare and practice your responses to a sampling of behavioral interview questions. Remember, the best response often includes a brief anecdote highlighting your unique strengths and skills. It is also helpful to draw lessons from past mistakes or failures. Some experts recommend the STAR (Situation-Task-Actions-Results) technique to organize your thoughts in a logical sequence and avoid rambling.
- Take a moment to compose yourself in the interview. Behavioral interview questions are tough. Despite all the preparation, you may be caught off guard by a question or battling nerves. Take a deep breath or a sip of water, or even ask the interviewer, “do you mind if I spend a moment thinking about the best example that I can provide?”. Taking the time to think through what you want to share before answering and you will certainly deliver a more coherent response. And don’t forget to let your personality shine.
Behavioral interviews are a lot like speed dating: both sides have a chance to get better acquainted and imagine what a future union would look like. When you invest in getting to know who they are and what they value, you’ll have a better sense if it is a perfect match.
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