Job Interview Articles

How to Have a Successful Behavioral Job Interview

The primary purpose of a behavioral job interview is to predict your future success on the basis of the job success you had in the past. In other words, if you responded to challenges at your former place of employment with a high level of leadership, effective communication, and problem-solving skills, then the new employer would likely be more inclined to hire you.

He or she might focus questions along those lines. Example: "Can you describe a time when you had to make a tough decision related to your work?" or "Tell me about a situation when you were required to display leadership on the spot."

Keep in mind that the employer will want specific details in the form of a little story, rather than vague generalizations that keep you at a distance. Example: "You can count on me to keep project deadlines" or "I'm a take charge kind of guy." Such answers are of little value. The interviewer will probably move on or press you for details such as: "When did you take charge and what happened exactly?" The best way to handle pointed questions is to start with a specific time and event. Example: "Last month during a management reorganization, my supervisor suddenly quit. I stepped forward and led our department through . . ."

This Formula Works Every Time

Maybe you feel awkward trying to frame a story rather that just giving the facts. Here's a tip that will help you. In a behavioral job interview, follow these steps when answering questions:

  • State the situation: Last year during a sales downturn
  • Describe your action: I suggested a way to boost sales by offering a free product
  • Share the result: with the purchase of . . . and revenue increased by 15% . . .

Know What You're Talking About

Your stories will only be as important as they are relevant to what the hiring manager is looking for in the job candidates he or she interviews, and as they relate to the mission of the company. By finding out these details ahead of time from the job description, the firm's web site, and from men and women employed by the company, you will be in a good position to win the coveted job.

Today, behavioral job interviews are becoming more popular, especially since times are tough and positions are less plentiful. Make the most of the opportunities you are given by studying the job requirements and then matching your experience with them.