How to Master a Behavioral Interview

Many common job interview questions focus on the future ─ what you would do in a certain situation or how you would complete a project. However, behavioral interviews are completely different. Instead of concentrating on the present, these questions are centered on your past behaviors. Interviewers determine your fit for the job by how you’ve functioned in the past.

Most job interviews today include at least a few behavioral questions, as they provide great insight into your character, work ethic, and skill set. Interviewers consider your past behaviors as very indicative of your future performance, so it’s important to paint a winning portrait of yourself.

Common behavioral interview questions include inquiries like “describe a specific occasion in which you had to use your leadership skills” and “provide an example of a time when you had to conform to a policy you did not agree with.”

Three Behavorial Interview Tips 

It’s very difficult to master a behavioral interview without proper preparation. Use these three interview tips to shine:

  1. Determine Core Competencies: Review the job description to determine the skills the employer is looking for in a successful candidate. If possible, talk to the recruiter to get an inside look at the competencies one must have to be chosen for the job.
  2. Apply the STAR Approach: Take the star (Situation, Task, Action, Result) approach to preparing for your interview. Think of a situation or task demonstrating a past experience where you needed to display the skill. Describe the action you took to complete it and the results achieved.
  3. Practice Your Responses: Once you have gathered all the information you need to provide an appropriate response, be sure to practice, practice, practice. It’s important to ensure you’re comfortable with your reply and don’t ramble on, making it hard to identify your main point.

It’s very important to answer questions truthfully, as the interviewer may dig deeper to look for specific capabilities. When possible, try to describe a professional situation from a past job, but it’s also acceptable to use an example from a volunteer experience, hobby, or school project, if you don’t have a great business-related response.

Ready to make a change in your career? Contact The SPARKS Group today. We have been successfully connecting job seekers to rewarding employment opportunities since 1970. We have established partnerships with many of the Washington, DC/Baltimore Metropolitan Area's leading organizations.

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