In this blog post, we provide you with free sample behavioral interview questions and answers.
What are behavioral interview questions?
Behavioral interviews are one of the most common ways to find out about a job applicant’s professional experience and skills. It is a way to assess the applicant’s skills without requiring them to tell you about their past experiences.
Behavioral interviews are not just for hiring, they can also be used as a way of assessing current employees or as a performance management tool.
This guide will show you how to conduct behavioral interviews in order to get the best applicants for your company and avoid any potential legal issues.
How to Prepare for a Behavior-Based Interview
Behavior-based interviews are a type of interview that focuses on the candidate’s past behaviors and how they might handle future situations. These interviews are used to get a better understanding of the person and their skillsets.
In order to prepare for a behavior-based interview, it is important to have an understanding of what the interview is going to be about and any behavioral questions that might be asked. It would also help if you had examples ready for all types of behavioral questions, such as situational or hypothetical ones.
When preparing for a behavior-based interview, it is also important to know your strengths and weaknesses so that you can prepare in advance for any potential questions about them.
The Benefits of Conducting Behavioral Interviews for Employers and Employees
In the past, there has been a lot of focus on the skills and qualifications of job applicants. However, in recent years, employers have started to shift their attention to behavioral interviews. This is because behavioral interviews are seen as a better way of assessing an applicant's suitability for a role.
A behavioral interview is a structured conversation that focuses on past experiences and future goals. It is designed to assess how well an applicant will fit into the company culture and what they can contribute to it. It also helps employers understand how well they will be able to deal with the challenges of their position.
Free sample behavioral interview questions and answers
When conducting your interviews there will be a range of skills and experiences you’ll want to know about your candidates. We’ve got you covered.
In this section, we will cover the following behavioural based interview questions across these areas:
- Time management
The best tip we can offer when asking behavioral-based interview questions is to stay rooted in reality. That means to focus on asking questions which focus on past behaviours. This is starkly different to asking hypothetical questions.
When an interviewer asks a hypothetical question such as, “if you were leading a team, how would you encourage equal employee participation?” the candidate may answer based on a fantasised version of their actions. And not likely to act in the same way as they answered. This doesn’t give recruiters a good representation of how the candidate will actually perform in a role.
So when asking questions, it’s important to ask questions on which the candidate has real-life examples to base their answers.
Time management behavioural interview questions and answers
Q. When under a tight deadline in the past, how have you finished tasks on time?
A. When Committing to a deadline in the past, I prioritised my tasks in order of what was most important. I then planned out what needed to be done by when in my schedule in order to meet the deadline.
I have great time management skills, but for the last few days of the deadline, I did need to work overtime. My manager let me continue on the project at home in my spare time.
Teamwork behavioural interview questions and answers
Q. Have you encountered a time when a team member couldn’t perform their role in a project or job? How did you work with them?
A. I worked in sales and once we had a group sales pitch to deliver. A colleague of mine would always slack off from work towards the end of the day. This would make the creation, practice and ideas for our pitch slow down significantly.
I overcame this by checking in with her to see how she was. It turned out that she had a lot of issues at home and that she was left feeling exhausted at work by the day's end.
She felt heard and we discussed how to get the best out of her, so we came to work an hour earlier and we worked on our sales pitch before everyone else. She then began to work during her lunch break so she could get as much done while her brain was focused and active.
Problem-solving behavioural interview questions and answers
Q. Describe a time when you made a mistake in your role. How did you try to correct it?
A. I once worked in a marketing department writing articles when I accidentally put up the wrong images in my blog posts. When I was notified of my mistake I realised how I made the error and quickly replaced the image.
To correct this mistake from happening again, I rename all my images to the blog post title. I also double-check the article now after publishing. Plus, I also as a colleague proofread my draft blog post before publishing.
Communication behavioural interview questions and answers
Q. How did you manage a confrontation or disagreement with a colleague? Did you successfully overcome it?
A. In a previous role, I saw a colleague make a mistake that would have affected a customer if I didn’t intervene. I removed the faulty product and inspected to see if it could be fixed. I then figured out what changes needed to be made and called over my colleague. I simply informed them of their mistake and suggested the appropriate changes to fix it. They were unhappy and felt embarrassed and denied causing the fault to begin with. However, they quickly realised their mistake and gladly accepted my help.
I felt I was able to initiate a difficult conversation while communicating in a gentle way something that could cause tension. I believe that by showing understanding and help to my colleague they were able to lower their defences and as a result we could work together well.
Leadership behavioural interview questions and answers
Q. Describe a time when you’ve delegated tasks out to a team and some staff have been unhappy with it. How did you handle it?
A. When I’ve delegated tasks in the past, I’ve focused on what needs to be done and which skills are needed for that task. I’ve then assessed my team and allocated them the tasks based on their best skills.
I had two members of my team unhappy with their roles and wished to swap tasks. We discussed why they were unhappy and they felt they were being put on the same tasks each time so wanted a chance to do something else. I decided to give it a go and allow them to prove themselves. This showed me that it's good to have trust in my team. When I can trust them and allow them some leadership of their own they perform better and we have a better working team with more respect.
Leaders don’t always know best and the team who do the day-in and day-out jobs can sometimes know more.
Answering Interview Questions
When a candidate is answering interview questions, a useful tool to use is STAR.
- Situation: Describe the situation, where and when it took place.
- Task: What was the overall goal, explain the tasks to get to the goal.
- Action: How did you achieve your tasks/ goals in your actions?
- Result: Conclude your results. Successful/ unsuccessful. What did you learn from the experience?
For more information on using the STAR technique to assess candidate interview answers, check out our post here: What is the STAR technique for interviewing?
Conclusion: How to Conduct a Behavior-Based Interview
Behavior-based interviews are a key step in the hiring process. They are used to evaluate candidates and assess their suitability for the position.
The interview is a two-way process and should be conducted with both the interviewer and candidate talking about what they want from each other.
Although there is no one best way to conduct a behavior-based interview, it is important for the interviewer to have a plan before starting the interview.