What is behavioral interviewing? Behavioral interviewing is interviewing based on discovering how the interviewee acted in specific employment related situations. The logic; how you behaved in the past will predict how you will behave in the future, i.e. past performance predicts future performance.
In a traditional interview, you will be asked a series of questions which typically have straightforward answers like “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them?” or “Describe a typical work week.”
In a behavioral interview, an employer has decided what skills are needed in the person they hire and will ask questions to find out if the candidate has those skills. Instead of asking how you would behave, they will ask how you did behave. The interviewer will want to know how you handled a situation instead of what you might do in the future.
Behavioral interview questions will be more pointed, more probing and more specific.
Follow-up questions will also be detailed. You may be asked what you did, what you said, how you reacted or how you felt.
What’s the best way to prepare? It’s important to remember that you won’t know what type of interview will take place until you are sitting in the interview room. So, prepare answers to traditional interview questions.
Then, since you don’t know exactly what situations you will be asked about if it’s a behavioural interview, refresh your memory and consider some special situations you have dealt with or projects you have worked on.
Gather your workplace success stories. These examples should demonstrate you have the traits necessary to perform in the position. Review the job description. You may be able to get a sense of what skills will be assets from reading the job description and position requirements.
During the interview, if you are not sure how to answer the question, ask for clarification. Then be sure to include these points in your answer:
It’s important to keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers. The interviewer is simply trying to understand how you behaved in a given situation. How you respond will determine if there is a fit between your skills and the position the company is seeking to fill. So, listen carefully, be clear and detailed when you respond and, most importantly, be honest. If your answers aren’t what the interviewer is looking for, this position may not be the best job for you anyway.