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Behavioral Interviews

We discussed Case Interviews, which is all well and good but not everyone will be subjected to a case interview so now I’d like to turn our attention to Behavioral Interviews.

Behavioral Interviews, or Behavioral-Based Interviews (BBI), is a technique used by employers to learn about your past behavior in particular situations to help determine how you would perform on the job and fit into the organization. “Enthusiasts believe that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior…more recent behavior is a better predictor of future behavior than older behavior, and that long-standing trends are better predictors of behavior than isolated incidents” (SanoBioScience).

Behavioral-Based Interviewing (BBI) is quite common these days and sometimes this line of questioning and interviewing comes in as part of the whole interview itself and is not something that stands alone as a specific section or part of the interview process, as a case interview would.

That’s OK! When prepping for the interview just make sure you are prepared to be able to respond to these questions with details, actions and results from past experiences. Many people employ the S.T.A.R method. If you tell the interviewer about a Situation or Task you were responsible for, the Action you took and the Results of your actions, then you have fulfilled the necessary S.T.A.R. requirements. It is this “story-telling” type of response that is at the heart of what recruiters call behavioral-based interviewing (BBI).

  • Situation: Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. This should describe specifics rather than general descriptions of past behavior.
  • Task: What goal were you working toward?
  • Action: Describe the actions you took to address the situation with detail and focus on yourself. What specific steps did you take and what was your contribution?
  • Result: Describe the outcome of your actions. What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? Make sure your answer contains multiple positive results

Other ways to prepare for BBI:

  • Analyze the job or position being interviewed for
  • Determine the skills required
  • Evaluate your own background to identify your skills and experience related to the job.
  • Develop & Rehearse brief scenarios about how you used those skills, each illustrating a specific activity of task required by the job. This is where the S.T.A.R. method comes in.
  • Be Prepared to give examples of occasions when results were different than expected. Your skill in handling failure as well as success is important.
  • Be prepared for questions asking for more detail than you’ve initially given.
  • Identify three to five top selling points (attributes that set you apart from the other candidates) and be sure you get the chance to point them out in the interview.
  • Some examples of BBI questions include (notice most of these are not questions, but are statements for you to respond to)
    • “Describe the biggest challenge in you last job/internship and how you handled it.”
    • “Tell me about a work or school situation where you had to do creative problem solving.”
    • “Tell me about a recent situation where you had to persuade someone to accept your idea or proposal.”

Through questions such as these the interviewer can get a good idea of how the candidate measures up in a particular job-skill area. BBI questioning can target skill level in:

  • Assertiveness
  • Creativity & Imagination
  • Dealing with ambiguity
  • Decision making
  • Goal setting & Achieving
  • Leadership
  • Listening
  • Management
  • Oral Communication
  • Organization & Planning
  • Problem solving
  • Analysis
  • Team building

And remember, practice makes perfect so set up a Mock Interview with us to truly prepare!

Here are some other resources to help you prepare for a Behavioral-Based Interview:

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