Thoughts on Behavior-based Interviews

Compass-seaLLike falling in love, interviews can be like a next step on the career path of the rest of your working days.  However, interviews can also be mind-numbing disasters that cast you into the depths of self- doubt and depression.   In EVERY interview, you can plan, prepare, and practice your way to a more confident, high performing YOU that can persevere and succeed through this critical stage of a job search.  Even rejection can be turned in to a positive outcome.


For some time now, ‘behavioral interviewing’ has been a strong trend in the recruitment process.  Being aware of this as a recruitment strategy, planning to take advantage of it, will help you to avoid an otherwise nerve wrecking experience.  In fact, acing that particular sort of interview could be the stepping stone to the career path of your dreams.

Interview Preparation:

Do your background research on industry, company, interviewer(s), and, importantly, the value proposition you offer in the role, the opportunity at hand.

  1. Understand the requirements of the position and how they create expectations of you. Get the Company jo description in advance and understand it! 
  2. Know who will be conducting the interview… use LinkedIn to be aware of their background.
  3. Utilize target organization networking to gain insight into the organization’s needs.
  4. Prepare 2 – 3 points in advance that clearly communicates why you are an excellent fit for the position—and don’t overlook company (department level) cultural issues.

Behavioral Interview Questions: What are they?

They are common questions based on the premise that past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. They can

·         Provide proof of your potential demonstrated through description of past situations

·         Instead of being situational e.g. “If you are faced with a difficult customer issue, what will you do?” a behavioral question is more like, “Give an example of a situation here you were faced with a challenging customer issue… and what did you do?”

·         This type of question is open ended and allows the interviewer to probe and zero in on specific behaviors and skills to find out more about the candidate

 Interviewers use behavioral interview questions to assess leadership, problem-solving, analytical thinking, time management, communication and interpersonal skills.

Candidates need to prepare examples and stories that demonstrate the themes mentioned above. In addition, as a candidate, you should prepare examples and stories for additional key competencies that are outlined on the job description.

Practice, practice, practice! (Where have you heard THIS before?)

Your self-confidence in your presentation, and belief that you’re the best candidate for the role, is paramount. It’s important to practice responses out loud. Practice with your accountability partner. Practice with family. Practice with friends, fellow job-seekers and an experienced, skilled and knowledgeable Career Services Professional.

Practice so you’ll have a flow and can articulate your examples clearly and concisely. The flip side is, of course, don’t memorize examples verbatim…  as you might sound too rehearsed an unnatural. 


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