12 Tips How to prepare for a behavioral interview?

job-interviewNowadays, more and more employers use the behavioral interview to evaluate a candidate’s experiences and behaviors.  It is a great tool to determine the applicant’s potential for success. In my previous post on how to recruit a perfect software developer I described this interview method already. The question remains: how a candidate should prepare  for such experience? We will give you 12 valuable tips!

The candidate must remember that interviewers already specified their expectations in terms of competences and will be asking very pointed questions to elicit very detailed answers. It helps determine if the candidate actually has a desired quality. The questions typically start out: “Tell about a time…” or “Describe a situation when..”

When eliciting responses the interviewers follow the STAR method, meaning they will be asked about the Situation, Time, Action taken and the Result.

It’s hard to prepare for such an interview as there might be a variety of different unpredictable questions. However there is a way to succeed during this type of interview. Below you will find some tips on how to get ready for this experience:

  1. Study the job description once again and try to figure out what skills are necessary for this job.
  2. Do the research about the employer. Visit the company website to find out what their mission is, their values and what sort of people they hire.
  3. Think about 6 experiences that can illustrate you have these personal and professional attributes.
  4. Develop two or three stories for each personal or professional attribute, using experiences from your past to show you have each attribute.
  5. Try to follow the STAR technique to tell these stories. Describe the Situation you were in, then the Action you took and the result of your actions.
  6. Focus especially on Action and Results- problem-solving mainly. Try to also include situations that started  negatively, but which ended positively due to your efforts.
  7. Practice answering the behavioral interview questions you made up using your stories.
  8. Don’t limit yourself to examples from the CV and the professional area. Use experiences from internships, school projects, community service and hobbies. It could be anything as long as it proves you are a great fit for the job.
  9. Focus on negative situations as well. Try to recall situations when you failed. What lesson did it teach you?
  10. Vary your examples; don’t take them all from just one area of your life.
  11. During the interview, listen carefully to each question, and try to find the most relevant example while answering it. Don’t ramble and stick to the point. Listen to questions and answer them. Give real-life examples and don’t focus on the hypothetical too much. Speak about specific situations
  12. Be honest. During the interview you may even realize it’s not the best job for you and that you don’t possess competences which they expect.

Remember that with behavioral interviews there are no right or wrong answers. The interviewer’s role is to understand how you behaved in a given situation and if you fit the position and the company culture.

We invite you to ask questions and give your opinion by leaving a comment below.