Almost every interview has a portion that is dedicated to behavioral questions that reveal how candidates behave in different situations. These questions might include things like, “How did you react when faced with a difficult coworker?” or “Describe how you react when faced with a difficult situation.” These questions are best answered in a Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR) format.
For example, let’s say you’re asked, “How did you handle a situation where you made a mistake?” Here’s how to answer following the STAR format:
Once I made a mistake when I manually entered the wrong quote for one of the suppliers for the product. This resulted in a higher price for the product by 15 percent than I computed. The product had to be sent for review because it was priced higher than the competition.
I realized the mistake three days later as I was creating a system that automatically linked the supplier database with my worksheet.
I notified my manager of the mistake and recomputed the quote. I also showed my manager and team the new system I created, which would prevent further mistakes from happening.
The product was sent into the market since it was cheaper and better than the competition. The system linking the supplier database to ours was set as a standard for the company and was able to prevent further mistakes by both myself and my coworkers. All previous quotes done by others was rechecked with this software and several other mistakes were corrected, saving the company money.
Put together, this is a good answer to give during a behavioral interview. It describes the situation in detail, highlighting your technical ability and your integrity.
It’s suggested to have a list of five answers to interview questions that double as behavioral questions. Here are some of the most common behavioral interview questions:
• Describe a situation where you had to deal with a difficult coworker
• Describe a situation where you had to overcome a difficult challenge
• Describe a situation where you had to work under pressure
• Describe a situation in which you worked with a team
• Describe a decision you made that wasn’t popular and how you handled it
• Describe a situation in which you disagreed with your boss
• Describe a situation in which you had to motivate your coworkers
Make sure you have answers to these common behavioral questions and keep building on these as you continue to get more interviews.
Your 30-minute interview preparation
For any interview, there’s a list of items you must complete in terms of company research, job fit and questions for the company. All of these are listed in the Interview Preparation template in Appendix A. It should take no more than 30 minutes to complete and it encompasses everything you need to prepare for in terms of company research and how well you fit with the company. This template is in the link below
Link to Interview Preparation Template
Link to Interview Preparation Template – Sample Filled
Preparation for Technical Questions
Technical questions will usually come up in interviews if you are changing jobs. The employer is looking to see how much you know about a particular subject area. Here are a few tips to overcome the technical portion:
• Be honest with your knowledge about a subject. They can test you out with a few questions on any subject that you claim to be knowledgeable about. A lot of these questions test your practical knowledge and can only be answered if you have worked in the field.
• Be honest with what you need to learn on the job. The company is willing to train you on some portions of the job if you bring significant transferable skills to the table.
• If you have transferable skills, describe them in detail every chance you get. Use the STAR format and bring work samples in your portfolio.
Author, Career 3.0