Interviewers ask behavioral questions as a way to determine your work ethic, personality and how you handled certain situations in the past. These queries have little to do with your hard skills, qualifications and job knowledge. Instead, behavioral questions and answers give an interviewer an idea of the types of soft skills you bring to the table. Make sure to demonstrate these top skills when you answer behavioral questions. By expertly handling the behavioral portion of your interview, you can gain an edge over other candidates.
What Are Behavioral Questions?
Behavioral questions usually involve hypothetical situations that have no right or wrong solutions. Answers to behavioral questions typically delve into your past and ask you to tell a story about overcoming a challenge. Sometimes these questions are not even questions; an interviewer might tell you to describe some situation that demonstrates a skill. Employers look for a few specific qualities when they ask about your past experiences.
Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Communication skills, both verbal and written, are vital to everyday situations that require you to interact with your supervisor, co-workers, customers and clients. When preparing for an interview, you want to have success stories from your past work experiences from which you can draw examples of how you communicated well with others.
Sample behavioral questions about communication often involve making sure others understood ideas you tried to convey. "Tell us an example of when you were able to persuade someone to see your point of view." "Give us a sample of how you gave a presentation to others at the office that you knocked out of the park." "How did you ease the concerns of a customer by communicating effectively?" All three of these questions ask about different scenarios when clear communication can make or break a certain situation.
Working with others is crucial to achieving goals in an office environment. If a team falls apart, the office does not produce as much as it should. People can become stressed, anxious and even angry when co-workers do not work well together. You must impress your interviewers by showing that you work well with others.
Consider these sample behavioral questions for teamwork: "How did you handle conflict within your team during a challenging situation?" "Tell us about a time when you had to work with someone who has a very different personality from yours." "Describe one time when you disagreed with your supervisor." These queries can shed light on how you handle difficult situations with your co-workers.
Management and supervisory positions generally have more complicated responsibilities than those of entry-level team members. As such, these jobs usually require applicants to have leadership qualities. When an interviewer wants to know about your leadership abilities, she may ask you questions about taking the lead, taking initiative or showing how you self-started a project.
Try these sample questions and prompts: "Tell us about when you took the reins on a complex project." "Relate a story about how you took the initiative to correct a dilemma without waiting for someone else to handle it." "Have you ever had trouble getting others to go along with your ideas?" Convincing others to agree with you to complete a task or project is the mark of an effective leader.
How you deal with challenging problems can demonstrate your work experience, judgment and leadership abilities at once. Problem-solving also shows how you handle a crisis situation on your own and how you contribute to a difficult task. A hardship at work may not have a happy ending, but you can find something good out of negative situation because of your response to a particular scenario.
How you answer these questions details your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. "Give us a story of when you failed to see an obvious solution to a problem." "How did you anticipate a problem on a project and then take steps to avoid the problem?" "Tells us one time you used logic and deductive reasoning to solve a problem." The idea here is that good employees should solve problems as soon as possible.
Once you are on the clock, you should work as efficiently as possible. Time management involves setting priorities during your workday, getting work done effectively and juggling responsibilities. Meeting deadlines is vital, so this concept includes how well you get work done on time.
Time management questions relate to working smarter and not harder. "How do you deal with tasks when you do not have a lot of supervision?" "Tell us a time when you developed a strategy to meet your goals on a project." "What tools do you use to manage your responsibilities on any given day?" Working efficiently at the office helps everyone stay on task, reduces pressure on all employees and impresses your supervisor.
Interviewers take behavioral questions seriously. They use them to find out about your past behavior and gauge how you succeeded under less-than-ideal circumstances. Your success stories can land you the perfect job if you prepare for the behavioral interview questions. Be ready to recall any notable experiences that show off these particular skill sets.
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