It is highly likely that you will encounter behavioral questions in your interview. They are easy to identify because they typically start with “tell me about a time…”, “Give me an example…” “Describe a situation…”, etc.
Why do hiring managers ask behavioral questions? Since they can’t see exactly how you will perform in their job at their company, they are looking for situations in your past that will help them anticipate how you will perform in their job. They are using past behavior to anticipate future behavior.
Interviewers will expect answers to their behavioral questions on the spot for it is important to have several examples in mind that you can use as needed. The more prepared you are ,the stronger your response will be.
It is important to follow the STAR approach when answering a behavioral question.
- S/T – Situation or Task (10% of your answer) Describe the situation you were in or the task you needed to accomplish. Use a specific event or situation and provide enough detail to put your response in context. Be careful not to use acronyms. This should be a high level summary.
- A – Action (60% of your answer) Share details of what you did, the obstacles you overcame and how you demonstrated your skills. Show the interviewer what you did and what you accomplished in the situation.
- R – Results (30% of your answer) Discuss the outcome. What were the results? What did you accomplish? If the outcome was not positive, focus on what you learned.
Most interviewees spend all their time on the situation and the action and neglect the most important aspect which is the results. Be sure you allow time to show how your actions made a difference. Also resist the temptation to spend so much time setting up the situation that you rush through the rest of your response. Your goal is to demonstrate how you applied your skills and accomplished results.