Find out what behavioural interviews are, see some question examples and learn how to prepare for this kind of interview.
Behavioural interviews involve questions about your past performance.
Behavioural interviews are based on the idea that past behaviour is the best predictor of future performance.
- A theoretical question asks: "What is your approach to solving problems?"
- A behavioural question asks: "Describe the toughest problem you've handled in the last year. How did you deal with it?"
The purpose of behavioural interviews is to learn about your ability in key skills needed for the job. These skills (also known as competencies) usually appear in the job description or person specification.
Identify the skills needed
Think clearly about the key skills needed for the job. These are likely to be the ones that will be assessed at the interview.
Identify your past experiences
Think about past experiences or projects that you can use in the interview to illustrate such behaviour. Your aim is to choose an example that shows the interviewer that you have competence in the skill under assessment.
Questions about influencing
"Tell me about a situation where you had to change someone's opinion on something important. What did you do and say?"
"Describe a situation where you helped improve working relationships. What did you do?"
Question about judgement
"Give me an example of a good decision you made in the last six months. What were the alternatives? How did you reach the decision?"
Question about teamwork
"Tell me about a time you worked in a team. What was your contribution?"
Question about problem solving
"Describe the toughest problem you've handled in the last year. What steps did you take to deal with it?"
Identify the skill the interviewer is trying to evaluate, and choose an appropriate example.
Then break your answer into three parts:
Describe briefly the situation/task.
(20% of the answer.)
Describe the specific behaviour and skills you used.
(60% of the answer.)
Describe the outcome — this could be a grade, commendation from an employer/lecturer, what you learned.
(20% of the answer.)
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