Mastering Behavioural Interview Questions: A Step-by-Step Guide with Detailed Examples

behavioral interview questions

Behavioural interview questions have become increasingly common as employers seek deeper insights into candidates’ past experiences and soft skills. These questions focus on how you handled various situations in the past, giving employers a glimpse into your problem-solving skills, communication style, emotional intelligence and overall suitability for the role.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through interview process with a step-by-step approach to effectively answer behavioural interview questions, supplemented with detailed examples to help you ace your next interview.

Key Characteristics of Behavioural Interview Questions

Focus on Past Behaviour: Behavioural interview questions from hiring managers typically begin with phrases such as “Can you describe a time when…” or “Tell me about a situation where…” This prompts candidates to draw upon past experiences rather than hypothetical responses.

Structured Format: Behavioural interview questions are often answered following the STAR Method (Situation, Task, Action, Result), which provides a structured framework for candidates to organise their responses. This ensures clarity and coherence in their storytelling.

Targeted Skills and Competencies: Behavioural interview questions are tailored to assess specific skills, competencies, or qualities relevant to the job role. For example, questions may probe a candidate’ or management teams problem-solving abilities, leadership skills, teamwork, adaptability, or communication style.

Evidence-Based Assessment: By probing into concrete examples of past and future behaviour itself behavioural interview questions enable interviewers to evaluate a candidate’s actions, decisions, and outcomes. This evidence-based approach offers insights into the candidate’s thought processes, problem-solving strategies, and effectiveness in various situations.

learning behavioral job interview questions

Why Behavioural Interview Questions are Used

Predictive Validity: Research has shown that past behaviour strongly predicts future performance. By assessing candidates’ past experiences, behavioural interview questions provide hiring manager with valuable insights into their potential fit for a role.

Objective Evaluation: Behavioural interview questions allow for a more objective evaluation of candidates’ capabilities by focusing on concrete examples rather than subjective impressions or perceptions.

Revealing Soft Skills: Behavioural interview questions are particularly effective in assessing soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, and adaptability, which are often critical for success in various roles.

Step 1: Understand the STAR Method

The STAR Technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) offers an organized strategy for addressing behavioral interview inquiries. Understanding this framework will help you provide comprehensive and organised sample answers.

Click here to learn more about using the STAR method to answer job interview questions. 

behavioural job interview questions

Step 2: Identify Common Behavioural Interview Questions

Familiarise yourself with common behavioural interview questions related to key competencies such as teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, and communication skills, and adaptability. Practice crafting responses using the STAR method for each question.

Examples of Behavioural Interview Questions:

  • “Could you share an instance where you encountered a challenging colleague or customer? How did you manage that scenario?”

  • “Describe a challenging project you were involved in. How did you approach the project, and what was the outcome?”

  • “Tell me about a time when you had to meet a tight deadline. How did you prioritise tasks and ensure timely completion?”

  • “Can you recall a situation where you faced resistance to your ideas or proposals? How did you address the resistance and gain buy-in?”

  • “Describe a time when you had to adapt to a significant change in your work environment. How did you navigate through the change, and what was the result?”

  • “Tell me about a successful team project you were part of. What was your role, and how did you contribute to the team’s success?”

  • “Tell me about a time when you had to work with a tight budget or limited resources. How did you manage to achieve your goals?”

  • “Discuss a situation where you had to collaborate with colleagues from different departments or backgrounds. How did you ensure effective communication?”

  • “Can you share an example of a time when you had to make a difficult decision at work? How did you come to your conclusion?”

  • “Tell me about a time when you had to take on additional responsibilities outside of your job description. How did you handle the challenge?”

  • “Describe a situation where you had to meet a challenging goal or target. How did you motivate yourself and others to achieve it?”

  • “Give me an example of a time when you had to delegate tasks to others. How did you ensure they were completed successfully?”

  • “Discuss a situation where you had to deal with a dissatisfied customer or client. How did you address their concerns?”

  • “Describe a project or task where you had to think creatively to find a solution. What was your approach?”

  • “Give me an example of a time when you had to learn a new skill or technology quickly for a project. How did you adapt?”

To prepare for your interview, do your research on behavioural interview questions that may be more relevant to your role or field. 

common behavioral interview questions

Step 3: Tailor Your Responses to the Job Requirements

Before your interview, thoroughly examine the job listing to pinpoint the essential skills and attributes the employer seeks. Tailour your responses to the interviewer to highlight experiences demonstrating your ability to meet these requirements.

Example:

If the job requires a team manager with strong leadership skills, focus on examples of how you successfully led a team or project, effectively delegated tasks, and motivated others to achieve goals.

Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice your responses to behavioural interview questions until you feel confident and comfortable delivering them during the interview. Consider engaging in practice behavioural interviews with a friend or mentor to gain insights and improve your responses.

Step 5: Be Authentic and Concise

Crafting effective responses using the STAR method is crucial. However, it’s equally important to maintain authenticity, deliver quality answers, and steer clear of sounding overly rehearsed. Strive for conciseness, ensuring your responses are focused on the most relevant details.

Conclusion

Mastering behavioural interview questions requires preparation, practice, and effective communication of your experiences using the STAR method. Following the steps outlined in this guide and utilising detailed examples of common behavioural interview questions, you’ll be well-equipped to impress employers and secure your dream job. So, prepare thoroughly, showcase your skills confidently, and let your past experiences speak for themselves. Good luck!

Get the latest insights from The On Q Blog, every month.
Get the latest insights from The On Q Blog, every month.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
The On Q 2024 Job Satisfaction & Salary Survey Is Now Open
We would like to invite you, as a professional in the life sciences industry, to take part in our survey.