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Behavioral Interview Questions

Written by

George D. Baker

Date

August 14, 2014

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Behavioral interview questions are usually situational and performance-based. Used by employers to gauge a candidate’s leadership skills, behavioral interview questions have been known to accurately predict future performance. Below is a list of sample behavioral interview questions and answers.

Behavioral Interviewing Questions

Behavioral interviewing concentrates on job-related knowledge, experiences, and behaviors. More pointed and inquisitive than a traditional interview, employees respond to behavioral interview questions by providing specific examples that indicate how they react to certain situations. Used by employers to investigate a candidate’s past performance in a particular job-related situation, behavioral interviewing can be used to predict future job performance.

Sample Behavioral Interview Question

Before interviewing to fill an open position, the employer already knows what skills are specifically needed for the position. An employer may use behavioral interview techniques to determine if the candidate possesses the necessary abilities. Behavioral interview questions can be divided into categories, including: initiative, adaptability, communication, teamwork, leadership, analytical abilities/problem solving, decision-making, flexibility, creativity, and planning and organization. Here are some examples of common behavioral interview questions:

Initiative

  • Describe a situation when you anticipated potential problems and implemented preventive measures.
  • Tell me about a time where you had to use your initiative to solve a problem. What did you do?

Applicant Integrity

  • Describe a situation where you were required to make an unpopular decision.
  • Tell me about a time where you were asked to keep information confidential.

Employee Adaptability

  • Tell me about a situation where you had to adjust to a coworker’s or classmate’s working style to achieve your goals or complete a project.
  • Describe a major change that took place in a previous position. How did you adjust to this change?

Ability to Communicate

  • In general, how do you handle conflict? Provide an example.
  • Provide an example of effective communication with another individual even if you or the other person did not particularly like one another. How did you handle the situation? What were the difficulties and how did you overcome them?

Teamwork

  • Tell me about a time where you had to work as a member of a team to achieve a certain outcome. What was your role?

Employee Leadership

  • Provide an example of when you motivated other people.
  • Describe a situation when you effectively delegated tasks.

Applicant Analytical Abilities/Problem Solving

  • Describe a situation or project that best demonstrates your analytical skills.
  • Tell me about a time where you had to develop a resolution to a complicated problem. What did you do? What was the outcome? Is there anything you would have done differently?

Decision-Making

  • Describe a recent difficult decision you had to make.
  • Tell me about a situation where you had to make a decision without all the necessary information. How did you handle it and were you happy with the result?

Flexibility

  • Provide an example of a time when you had to conform to a policy in which you did not specifically agree.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to put your needs aside to assist a colleague. How did you help? What was the outcome?

Creativity

  • Describe a problem you had to solve in an innovative or unusual way. What was the result and were you happy with it?
  • Tell me about a situation where you had to use creativity to influence another person’s opinion.

Goal Setting

  • Provide an example of when you set a goal and were able to achieve it?
  • Describe a goal that you were unable to reach. What steps did you take? What barriers did you come across? How did you feel about it?

Planning and Organization

  • How do you set priorities when creating schedules? Provide examples.
  • Tell me about a situation when you had too many things to do and were required to prioritize the activities.

Tips on Answering Behavioral Questions

  • Listen carefully.
  • Be clear and detailed and describe a specific situation.
  • Answer honestly.
  • Describe your behavior or actions you took and share the outcome.

Good Behavioral Interview Questions

These sample behavioral interview questions are good interviewing questions to ask to make sure your new employees really have the best skills and attitude to fit well into your company.

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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