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Interview Tips - Behavioral Questions


Behavioral Interview Questions always seek to identify your past experiences. To determine which questions to ask, the recruiter first identifies those skills and abilities needed to successfully perform the job for which you are applying.


The philosophy behind this type of interview is that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance. This has become a very popular and widely used interview style. Expect more and more recruiters to use this type of interview.


To prepare for a behavioral interview, evaluate the position. List the skills and abilities needed for the job. Select the five most important. Then think of three examples that show how you have used those skills or abilities well. At the same time, think of one example when you didn't use that skill well. Take time to determine what you learned about yourself from that negative experience. Well-trained recruiters will look for what they call 'contrary evidence' to create a balanced picture of a candidate.


Recruiters who use this style are trained to be patient. Even though these are difficult questions, they will wait until you have given an answer before they move on to another question. It's O.K. to take a few moments to think before answering. If you are not prepared, the silence before your answer can seem like an eternity. If you anticipate the questions, there will be less silent time.


Listed below are sample questions which are frequently asked in behavioral interviews. After evaluating the position for which you are applying, attempt to create your own behavioral questions based on these ideas.


Give me an example of a time when you have had to deal with a difficult student, professor, customer or neighbor. What happened? What did you do?


When you have a multitude of things to do, how do you set your schedule?


Tell me about something that you have done that was creative.


Tell me about a time when you had to make a quick decision that you were proud of.


Give me an example of an important goal you set and explain how you achieved it.


Describe a time when you had to roll with the punches.


Tell me about a job/task that was boring. How did you deal with it?


Give me an example of a time when you found a clever way of motivating a friend/student/employee.


Tell me about a major obstacle that you encountered in your last job/class and how you handled it.


Give me an example of a miscommunication with a professor/student/friend. How did you solve it?


Tell me about a time when a change of policy or a changed decision made your work difficult. What did you do?


Tell me about a time when you had to communicate unpleasant information to a friend/employee/professor. What happened?


Give me an example of a time when you had to make a decision without consulting your boss. What did you do?


Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision when you had too little information to easily arrive at a decision. What happened?


What type of things make you angry? How have you dealt with them?


You have explained that you are decisive and able to cope with most situations. Now tell me about a time when you had a problem you couldn't solve.


Tell me about a time when you had to change procedures to solve a problem. What did you do?


Tell me about a time when you made a decision when no policy existed to cover the situation. Explain.

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