How to prepare for behavioural interviews

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Eleven Team Candidate resources


What is a behavioural interview?

If you’re actively seeking a new job then it’s likely that you will come across the behavioural interview. Not to be confused with competency-based interviews, behavioural interviews are increasingly popular among employers and are designed to find out more about candidates’ personalities, reveal the way in which they think and establish whether they are a good fit for the culture of the organisation. 
Using real-life examples and scenarios to understand how a candidate has behaved and performed in the past can be a very reliable indicator of their response to future situations. 

Whereas traditional interviews are based on open-ended questions such as the classic, ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’ behavioural interviews focus on performance-led and problem-solving questions such as ‘describe a situation where you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince a colleague to see things your way’. 

There are no right and wrong answers; the questions are designed to help the interviewer get a better understanding of how candidates think and act.

Don’t be put off by behavioural questions. While they can be tricky, they are also an excellent way to showcase your unique personality traits and talents and highlight why you would be a good fit for a particular company.


Handy Hints

Research. Read up on the company, try to gain an understanding of its culture and study the job description carefully. Once you have this information you can use personal examples which reflect their typical working style.
Build a list of key attributes that you think the company is looking for. Try to include them in any answers that you give.
Write down your past experiences, successes and failures. Explain how they demonstrated your specific attributes and character traits and try to show what motivated you to succeed.

Don’t be afraid of failure. By referencing challenging situations you will be able to highlight your problem-solving skills, strength of character and your ability to learn from past mistakes. 
Be a STAR. By using the widely-acknowledged STAR technique, which encourages you to think about the situation you faced, the task you performed, the action you took and the end result, you will be able structure your responses and highlight your key attributes. 
 

Top 11 typical behavioural questions 

The list is endless but here are 11 of our favourites:-

  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills. 
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem. 
  • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it. 
  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritise your tasks. 
  • What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
  • Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year.
  • Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead. 
  • Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem. 
  • Give me an example of a time when you motivated others. 
  • Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively. 
  • Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.

If you would like help preparing for a behavioural interview or have any other questions please get in touch.