Using Behavorial Questions in a Technical Interview

John Krautzel
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Behavioral questions are a part of just about every job interview, as they help hiring managers determine if you're the right fit for the job based on your soft skills, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. These questions are just as important for a technical interview at Silicon Valley firms as they are for fast food, retail, manufacturing and accounting positions. Here's why you should study the job duties and be ready to answer these questions.

Turning Responsibilities Into Queries

Job listings help guide you as to what to expect in a technical interview. They also point to the types of behavioral questions you may face from interviewers. These queries often start with "Tell me when," "Give me an example" and similar phrases. Each question then proceeds to give you a specific situation you probably ran into at some time during your past work experience. The questions might also force you to think outside the box.

Soft Skills

Behavioral questions for highly technical jobs serve a purpose beyond finding out if someone has the skills to run certain computer programs or processes. These facets of the interview process help hiring managers find out if you play well on a team of people, communicate effectively, have the capacity to solve complex problems and manage your time wisely.

These behavioral questions require a three-step process to figure out an answer, and they follow a similar format, known as PAR. You must determine the problem you need to solve, examine the actions taken to reach the answer and describe the resulting outcome. As an added benefit, interviewers can easily turn technical skills into behavioral questions by mining the job description.


Suppose a major corporation needs new software to help workers increase their efficiency. As one example of a duty-turned question, a job description lists one of the top responsibilities as, "Create apps that increase worker efficiency within the company."

An interviewer may say to you, "Tell me when you designed an app from the ground up that helped increase your efficiency." How you answer the question tells the person in front of you the process you used to design the app, your own time management skills as you worked through the programming and how your previous company benefited from your work. Your prospective supervisor also gets to see if you have the technical prowess to make an app by gauging the terminology you use and the programs used to help create the app.

Companies turn responsibilities into queries for technical jobs for two main reasons. Behavioral questions demonstrate to your potential employer how you solved problems in the past while providing the interviewer with insight into your technical background. Prepare for these types of questions based on your past experience, and win the day by landing your dream job.

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