Common Behaviroral Interview Questions

5 Behavioral Interview Questions to Know

Interviewers measure your competencies to get a glimpse of how you’ll perform at their company. To do so, they’ll ask a series of behavioral questions to gauge whether you would be a good fit for the role. During this process, portray yourself in the best light by giving a vivid picture of what they can expect if you were hired.

To prepare for your next interview, implement the STAR (situation, task, action and result) interview method into your responses to behavioral questions. This tactic is essential to differentiating yourself from the competition and nailing your next interview. Follow each part of this technique to keep your answers concise and focused on the questions posed by the hiring manager.

The STAR Method

Begin by explaining a situation from a prior company or a relevant event with the proper context for the interviewer to evaluate your abilities. Next, go into the task that establishes the objectives of the project and your specific role in that situation. After giving the interviewer some background information, describe the action you took to complete the task successfully. Then, bring it home by presenting the result based on your actions and what you took away from the experience. To add credibility to your story, include quantitative data.

Practice your interviewing skills by applying the STAR interview method to the top five behavioral interview questions below.

Embracing the STAR method for your interview

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the STAR method, let’s jump into the behavioral questions you should know and how to answer them properly through this four-part process:

1. What is your greatest weakness?

We all dread this question, and your response can be the differentiator of whether you make it to the next interview round. It’s important not to let yourself get tripped up when discussing your flaws. The best way to approach this question is to outline a minor weakness that won’t interfere with the job at hand and that you are already making strides toward improving.  

Sample response:

S: During project testing, I occasionally don’t elaborate enough on why a particular approach will have a low likelihood of success to junior data scientists on my team.

T: As a senior data scientist, I am tasked with mentoring my direct reports and communicating effectively to avoid pitfalls during projects.

A: To strengthen my abilities, I started taking a course on “Giving Helpful Feedback” from Coursera to expand my leadership skills and help those under me grow their expertise.

R: By doing this, I was able to build more formidable relationships with my team and achieve superior business results.

2. What is the biggest challenge you have faced, and what steps did you take to overcome it?

This question is typically used as a follow-up after evaluating your weakness. During this time, the interviewer is assessing your problem-solving skills and how you handle stress. So, choose wisely. Instead of focusing on how you were fazed by the demanding nature of a previous role, respond with a specific project that not only describes an obstacle but also how you handled it.

Sample response:

S: The executives at my last company wanted to make better data-driven decisions.

T: I was directed to streamline a dozen reports for our monthly executive briefing.

A: I used data visualization tools to create a real-time comprehensive, automated dashboard.

R: My approach saved the team over 25 hours monthly, helping them focus on more strategic projects.

3. ‘Tell me a time…’

Undoubtedly, this is a question that almost always comes up, so preparation is key. The goal of this question is to explain how you strategically solved something to deliver excellent results. Identify three to five power stories to use as an example of past experiences that can be tailored to the specific behavioral question asked. These stories should cover the top attributes highlighted in your elevator pitch as well as transferrable skills for the role you’re interviewing for. Remember to keep it short and to the point. Consider different examples to a question like, “Tell me a time when you had to deal with a tight timeline and how you exceeded expectations.”

Sample response:

S: The previous organization I worked in required an update to their learning management system due to new regulations on data privacy.

T: My manager presented me with a strict deadline to complete the software update in less than 48 hours to ensure we remained compliant.

A: I worked with key stakeholders to update the user interface on all systems with information on data tracking, what the data is used for and options for users to remove their data.

R: I was able to update all the systems before the deadline and came in under budget by 15%.

4. Why do you think you are a good fit for this position?

This isn’t your chance to tell an employer about how you’re looking for a salary bump or that you can’t stand your current company. Potential employers seek candidates who are aligned with their organization via shared values, aspirations and relevant experience. Stick to the facts and write down a few top reasons based on your research of why your background matches up with the expected job scope and responsibilities.

Sample response:

S: I am a performance-driven inbound marketing professional with a demonstrated history in creating successful campaigns.

T: For example, my previous role focused on optimizing lead generation and lead nurturing processes through high quality and targeted content.

A: I created and executed email marketing, website updates and social media campaigns to grow customer acquisition.

R: These multi-channel marketing campaigns resulted in tripled conversion rates. I believe my proficiency in converting qualified leads into customers would make me an asset to your organization, and I would be eager to continue growing my expertise alongside your highly skilled team.

5. What accomplishment are you most proud of, and why?

Make a list of specific achievements you have accomplished and then narrow it down to relevant examples for your desired role. Don’t be afraid to share an example that gives the interviewer insight into who you are outside of work. Consider providing examples from previous jobs, promotions, academics, sports, philanthropy and goals obtained through passion and hard work. If you choose to explain a personal accomplishment, tie it back to how it can be applied in that particular company.

Sample response:

S: At my last company, I noticed there was no formal development program to help my peers that were promoted to a supervisor role for the first time.

T: I spoke to my manager about starting a leadership boot camp, and he told me to challenge my thinking and come up with a strategy to implement it.

A: After collaborating with my leader and business partners, I was able to formulate a curriculum for a leadership development track, teaching my peers fundamental leadership skills and how to manage their teams efficiently.

R: I was able to successfully bring the program to life, allowing me to channel my passion for leadership while serving the community. Given the opportunity as your firm’s organizational development manager, I would love to carry the invaluable skills I learned to help future leaders at your organization.

Mastering the rest of the interview process

Now that you’ve adequately prepared for the behavioral round, it’s time to triumph over the rest of the interview process. From tips on auditing your digital footprint to preparing for video interviews, we are here to help you with every step of your journey. Visit our 2020 Job Search Guide to continue your expedition.   

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