Seems to be one of the hot new trends – not that the idea is all that new. In many ways, behavioral interviews (and behavioral interview questions) have been the way of the world for many many moons. But now they put a name to it making it sound all scientific and formal - and as a result scare the hell out of people!
Don’t worry. What you need to do for a behavioral interview is not all that different from handling regular interview questions and answers… except maybe a bit more focused on what they’re specifically looking for – and on helping them get to the conclusion you are exactly the person they want to add to the company.
So how do you handle behavioral job interview questions?
Here are a couple of really good links with information about behavioral interviews and how to handle them:
Basically behavioral interviews look to how you’ve handled things in the past to try to predict what you’ll be like as an employee for your new employer. Actually, in a good interview, you should be trying to show employers that yourself anyway.
While ideally in a job interview you want to aim your answers toward the vision of who you will be when you work for them, these interviews try to get at who you were and how that might translate to the new job.
Things employers might look at in a behavioral interview
- How did you handle problems?
- What attitude do you have toward your past work experiences?
- How do you talk about former colleagues and bosses?
- What innovations did you bring to the workplace?
- Did you create new solutions?
- Did you ever help turn things around?
- Did you bring in business proactively (if this applies) or wait to be asked to do that?
- How do you handle change?
- Are you open to learning new things?
- Are you open to taking on new challenges?
- How do you handle the unexpected?
- Do you focus on what can’t be done or what can?
- How do you deal with goals and deadlines?
- Were you a team player?
- Could you also work autonomously?
- What were you like in general on a day to day basis?
I think you get the drift now. Who are you as a person and as a potential employee based on how you acted in the past. And how you were perceived. And how you perceived others as well as the job itself.
So what should you do if you have a behavioral interview?
If you have a behavioral interview coming up (or even if it’s just a plain old interview), think about how to aim your answers in a way that shows your strengths. Also have stories that show how you look any weakness straight in the eye and turn things around. Let them see some of your thought process when you talk about how you handle things. Let them see how you commit yourself fully to whatever you do. And show them how you direct yourself toward finding solutions and looking for ways to make things better for your boss, your colleagues and the company itself.
And as always, come prepared with real life stories that are clear, easy to grasp, not too long, and put you in the best light. In the end, you want to use your real life stories – being real is critical – to paint a picture of the you any boss would want to have.
Just found this on Susan Ireland’s Job Lounge:
And if you’re curious about the original comment I got asking about how to handle a behavioral interview:
About the author…
Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, Career Nook and on Google+.