Answering Behavioral Interview Questions

Answering Behavioral Interview Questions

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Professionals can never be too prepared for a job interview. And though hiring managers are constantly upping their game to find a good fit for their organization, active job seekers and even employees are beginning to see the job market for what it is: Theirs for the taking -or leaving.

Expectations of a Behavioral-based Interview

Behavioral interviews are used to assess the capabilities and potential of job seekers applying for their open roles. This is extremely useful for organizations hoping to hire long-term cultural fits that can grow in unison with their established teams and brand.

In this particular kind of interview, hiring managers and interviewers will ask the type of questions that are specifically structured to reveal a candidate’s thought process and methodology through their professional experiences.

Common behavioral interview questions will ask candidates to reflect on past work situations to better understand how they handle things like pressure, constraints, and various other challenges in the workplace. As weighted as behaviors are in these scenarios, this is also the opportune moment to demonstrate the experience, skills, and knowledge you have to offer.

Behavioral Interview Techniques

Most interviews follow a similar trend, “tell me what’s on your resume without telling me what’s on your resume.” And let’s face it, the breadcrumbs of your resume aren’t as satiating as the whole story, especially to potential employers. Here are some techniques to help you deliver direct and desirable responses while participating in a behavioral interview.

Proceed with patience

Though quick-thinking and tactful decision-making are coveted traits to prospective employers, behavioral interviews are meant to encourage thoughtfully crafted responses. Because you’re required to reflect on previous experience, take your time when responding to truly consider what’s being asked of you.

Ask for a brief but focused minute or two to gather your thoughts so that you can better answer interview questions with confidence and composure.


Take interviewers on a journey by framing relevant experience with a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end that express goals or outcomes planned and achieved. Answering behavioral interview questions with this technique is engaging, thorough, and a creative approach to sharing the complete picture of your qualifications.

When taking the story route, instead of a long-winded version with a variety of interpretations, indicate which parts of the story are meant to answer the specific question asked.

Aim for the STAR(s)

The STAR technique is most commonly used during a behavioral interview by candidates. The acronym represents a method of recounting specific situations, tasks, actions, and results that demonstrate the desired skill asked about. Use the STAR technique to match pointed questions with pointed answers and keep the interview rolling smoothly.

There’s no need to list off bullet points with a STAR response, just concise examples that’ll hit every angle of an interview question.

Skills to highlight during a behavioral interview

Knowing the preferred skillset prior to an interview will help you appropriately organize your experience and abilities for the task at hand, which is getting you that job offer. Triple scan the job description, reread the company values from their website, or talk with your recruiter and focus on key skills worth highlighting. These soft skills are particularly of interest to employers across the board:

Additional Takeaways from the Behavioral Interview Experience

Far from a technical test, these behavioral interviews are perfect for showcasing highly valued character traits like authenticity and integrity. Even negative outcomes, challenges, and setbacks are just as useful as the positives when demonstrating determination, resilience, and resourcefulness.

You can begin preparing responses to common behavioral interview questions by practicing how you’d describe the developed skills and experience listed on your resume. The trick for some may be to deliver a response without sounding scripted, especially when an applicant’s thought process is taken into consideration. 

You’ve already gotten to the interview stage, so what’s next? Trust in, and be yourself! And if you need a little extra help, seize the opportunity by working with a recruiter for added guidance during the interview process.

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