Acing the Behavioral Interview
|Are you ready for a college
recruiter who asks you, "Tell me how you dealt with a situation
where you were working with a team and one of the members wasn't
contributing as expected." This is an example of a
behavioral interview question, and this type of question is
becoming more popular with college recruiters. Behavioral
interviews are based on the premise that the best way to predict
future on-the-job behavior is to review past behavior in similar
Prepare for the Behavioral Interview
|The first thing you do for any
job interview is research. To be successful, you need to
understand the job description, what knowledge, skills and
abilities are required or desirable, where the job fits into the
company's organizational plan, the company goals, an how the
employer measures success. This isn't all you need to know, but
these are the main points in preparing for a behavioral
Researching the Company for a complete list of things you
need to know.
|Katherine Hansen writing for
Quintessential Careers offers the following list of behaviors
that employers will try to determine through behavioral
interview questions. Not all of these behaviors are important
for a particular job which is why you need to understand the
description of the job for which you are applying.
|Behaviors Employers Evaluate
|After reviewing the job description and the
list of behaviors, review your own experience to determine when
you exhibited these behaviors. Your experience can include
social and school situations as well as on-the-job situations.
Once you have done that, you need to prepare a response that is
specific and detailed. You should describe the situation or
task, what specific action you took to address it, and what the
result was. This is usually called a STAR statement:
|Describe the situation you were in or the task you needed to
accomplish. Be specific and provide sufficient detail. Think of
it as telling a story that has a beginning, middle, and ending.
||Describe the action you took and keep the focus on what you
did, even if it was a team experience.
||What happened? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?
Even if you feel you did not handle the situation as well as you
could have, telling what you learned and showing how you
applied that learning in another situation will work also.
|A STAR response to the question posed at the
beginning of this page might go like this:
|Situation or Task: "I was assigned to
a team in my marketing class to propose a method for increasing
revenues for a particular business by 10%. One of the members of
my team wasn't attending many meetings and didn't have his
|Action: "I decided to talk to talk to
the team leader first to see if she had already talked to the
person or if she was planning to talk to him. She hadn't talked
to him yet, but wanted some input on how to handle the
situation. I told her that I would meet with him; in private,
talk about how the group needed every member to complete their
assigned tasks, and ask what he needed to get back on track.
After she talked to him, she reported to the group that he was
having trouble with one of his other classes and it took up most
of his time. We talked about it as a team and decided to
recommend he ask the Student Learning Center for help on his
other class, and we would help him get caught up with our team
|Result: "It took a couple of weeks
for him to catch up, but after he did, he completed his
assignments on time and our group got an A on project. He also
thanked the group during his part of the presentation for
helping him do well in both of his classes."
|Review the sample behavioral interview
questions provided through the link below and identify six to
eight that demonstrate the behaviors and skills required for
position you are seeking. Think in terms of examples that
demonstrate your top strengths. Prepare a STAR statement for
each using the most recent examples you can. Remember, all the
examples should end positively, either because of the action,
the result, or what you learned.
the most Common Interview Questions
What is Behavioral Interviewing
- Behavior Based Interviewing