Expect to encounter this interview technique —commonly utilized by employers. "Behavioral" questions are designed to probe an applicant's past behavior in work situations, on the premise that the best predictor of future performance is past performance.
To prepare, think in terms of three or four challenging or problem situations, how you assessed the situation including perspectives you considered to effectively address it, actions you took to resolve or improve it, and the positive results of your efforts. Be specific and logical when presenting this information to the employer and present it so that it illustrates the context of the situation, as well as your approach to assessing, deciding, and taking initiative upon an appropriate course of action.
There are three basic types of behavioral questions:
- Skill-specific: "Could you give me an example of how you successfully applied your communication skills?"
- General-situation: "Describe a difficult or challenging situation and how you successfully handled it."
- Hypothetical: "How would you react if you encountered an angry customer in your job?"
Complete the following exercise to help you formulate ideas on the qualifications you possess, and how you should present these qualifications in response to behavioral interview questions.
My three greatest strengths:
Examples of how I have successfully applied those strengths in an academic, work, or extracurricular situation:
Following are skills employers generally look for, and behavioral questions designed to allow the employer to assess whether or not you possess that particular skill.
Decision Making & Problem Solving
- Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision.
- How did you make the decision to come to Southeastern Louisiana University and to major in ____________________.
- Give me an example of a situation in which you exercised leadership abilities.
- Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach?
Motivation (of yourself and others)
- Give an example of how you motivated your co-workers or classmates, as for a team project.
- Tell me about an important goal that you set in the past, that you successfully reached.
- Give an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with a customer/client.
- Have you ever had to "sell" an idea to your co-workers or a group? How did you do it? Did they "buy" it?
- What have you done in past situations to contribute toward a teamwork environment?
- Tell me about the most difficult or frustrating individual you've worked with, and how you worked with them.
Planning and Organization
- How do you decide what gets top priority when scheduling your time?
- What do you do when your schedule is suddenly interrupted? Give an example.