Behavioral & Situational Interview Questions
Introduction to Behavioral Questions
You may have heard the term “behavioral question” or “behavioral interview” before. That’s because behavioral interviewing is one of the most popular methods of interviewing used by interviewers in every industry around the globe.
Behavioral interviewing is the practice of focusing on a candidate’s past experiences to gain an
understanding of whether or not they will do well in the position they are applying for. When asked
behavioral questions, candidates are expected to give the interviewer specific examples of how they
handled certain situations in the past.
Did You Know?
According to the Society for Human Resource, behavioral interviewing is the most effective interview technique in nearly every organization.
How to Prepare for Behavioral Questions
Behavioral interviewing is a technique used during structured interviews. Structured interviews use a formula to identify successful candidates, and we're here to help you crack that formula. Here are simple steps you can take to ace these questions:
Step 1: Understand the S.T.A.R. method
Known as the gold standard for answering behavioral questions, the S.T.A.R. method is a great tool to have in your toolkit when going into an interview.
Step 2: Develop your stories
In order to develop your S.T.A.R. stories, you should identify the qualities that are valued by the company you are interviewing with and determine which of your past experiences showcase those qualities.
Step 3: Connect your stories to commonly asked questions
While it's impossible to prepare for every question your interviewer might ask, structured interviews follow a formula, so most interviewers will ask the same kind of questions, no matter what industry or position you're applying for. You can take advantage of this by connecting your stories to commonly asked questions.
What is the S.T.A.R. Method?
The situation is a specific event or circumstance you were in.
The task is the goal you were working toward in the above situation.
The action describes the specific acts you took to accomplish your task.
The result is the outcome of your action.
The purpose of the S.T.A.R. method is to ensure you discuss the important aspects of a past event in order to provide your interviewer with a concise-but-detailed account.
The premium version of the training program will provide you examples so you can get an idea of what your STAR scenarios should look like.
Introduction to Situational Questions
Situational interviewing is another interviewing technique that is closely related to behavioral interviewing. Situational questions focus on hypothetical future scenarios, while behavioral questions focus on past scenarios that actually happened.
Why Do Interviewers Ask Situational Questions?
Situational questions are an effective way for interviewers to gauge how you will perform in a specific job. Whereas behavioral questions focus on how you performed in your past workplaces, situational questions give interviewers a first-hand look at how you may perform in this new role. Interviewers also love to ask situational questions because they are difficult to prepare for.
How to Prepare for Situational Questions
Answering situational questions is a little different from answering behavioral questions. While you can look back on past experiences to answer behavioral questions, answering situational questions can seem more difficult because they focus on scenarios that have not happened yet.
If you're presented with a situational question that you aren't prepared for, utilize these tips:
Common Behavioral and Situational Questions
Here are three sample categories of common behavioral and situational questions. In the premium version of our training program we have an extensive list of questions that will help you be ready for any type of question:
Stressful Situations and Conflict Resolution
- How do you handle stress in the workplace?
- Describe a time you were under great stress due to a strict deadline and how you were able to handle it.
- How would you convince two angry coworkers to work together?
- How would you approach a superior who placed unreasonable demands on you?
- Have you ever been in charge of a team where the members did not get along? How did you handle the tension?
- Have you ever attempted to build morale within your team but failed? How did you handle it?
- If you had a team that was divided, what would you do to motivate them to work together?
- What would you do to encourage unity of a team that was made up of individuals who had never worked together before?
Written Communication Skills
- Describe the level of your written communication skills.
- Tell me about some of the most difficult emails or written correspondences you have ever had to write.
- If given a large amount of information to read over, would you describe yourself as a meticulous reader or a scanner?
- Do you think you would be able to handle a position where you were required to do a large amount of writing?
How to Answer Other Common Interview Questions
Now that we know how to answer behavioral and situational questions, let’s take a look at some other common questions that may come up in an interview.
Can you tell me about yourself?
When it comes to this question, candidates often fail to take into account the context of why it's being asked. When people ask you this question in your everyday life, they want to hear about your interests, hobbies, and similar things about your life.
However, when a potential employer asks this question, they're asking you to tell them about yourself as a professional.
Can you walk me through your resume?
"Can you walk me through your resume" is a common question that trips up a surprising amount of candidates. Where most candidates go wrong is taking this question literally and proceeding to spend the next 10 minutes reading their resume. Unfortunately, that's not what they're looking for.
Why do you want to work here?
This question gives the interviewer insight into:
- Whether or not a candidate will be a good fit within the company.
- If the candidate will be motivated to perform well.
- Whether a candidate took the time to research the company before coming into the interview.
This is just a preview of the actual Behavioral & Situational Questions Guide. We've outlined some necessary information here but go into much more detail in the real thing. Here is the information we cover in more detail:
- Understanding why interviewers ask behavioral questions and why they are important.
- Identifying the difference between behavioral and situational questions and how to answer both.
- Using the S.T.A.R. technique and understanding why it is such a valuable tool for job seekers
- Identifying common interview questions and the best ways to answer them.
- Using our Interview Simulator to practice answering behavioral and situational questions!
Getting access to the tools and information you need to interview successfully and get the job you want is as easy as becoming a member of MyInterviewPractice.com.