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Behavioral Interviewing

The behavioral interview technique is used by employers to evaluate a candidate's experiences and behaviors in order to determine their potential for success. The interviewer identifies desired skills and behaviors, then structures open-ended questions and statements to elicit detailed responses. A rating system is developed and selected criteria are evaluated during the interview. As a candidate, you should be prepared to answer the questions and statements thoroughly.


1. Why did you choose your major and career? 2. At what point did you make this decision? 3. Specifically, what attracts you to this industry as a career?


Your level of understanding of technical and professional information and your ability to apply technical and professional skills. 1. Sometimes it's easy to get in "over your head". Describe a situation where you had to request help or assistance on a project or assignment.

Situation Action Result 2. Give an example of how you applied knowledge from previous coursework to a project in another class.

Situation Action Result

Working effectively with others in the organization and outside the formal lines of authority (i.e., peers, other units, senior management, and the like) to accomplish organizational goals and to identify and resolve problems. Considering the impact of your decisions on others.

1. Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did you do?

Situation Action Result 2. Describe a situation in which you found that your results were not up to your professor's or supervisor's expectations. What happened? What action did you take?

Situation Action Result 3. Tell of a time when you worked with a colleague who was not completing their share of the work. Who, if anyone, did you tell or talk to about it? Did the manager take any steps to correct your colleague? Did you agree or disagree with the manager's actions?

Situation Action Result 4. Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or guide others to a compromise.

Situation Action Result

Relating and comparing data from different sources, identifying issues, securing relevant information, and identifying relationships. 1. What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a decision?

Situation Action Result

2. We can sometimes identify a small problem and fix it before it becomes a major problem. Give an example(s) of how you have done this.

Situation Action Result 3. Describe a situation in which you had to collect information by asking many questions of several people. Situation Action Result 3. In a supervisory or group leader role, have you ever had to discipline or counsel an employee or group member? What was the nature of the discipline? What steps did you take? How did that make you feel? How did you prepare yourself?

Situation Action Result 4. Recall a time from your work experience when your manager or supervisor was unavailable and a problem arose. hat was the nature of the problem? How did you handle that situation? How did that make you feel?

Situation Action Result 5. Recall a time when you were assigned what you considered to be a complex project. Specifically, what steps did you take to prepare for and finish the project? Were you happy with the outcome? What one step would you have done differently if given the chance?

Situation Action Result 7. What was the most complex assignment you have had? What was your role? Situation Action Result


Maintaining effectiveness in varying environments, tasks and responsibilities, or with various types of people. 1. How was your transition from high school to college? Did you face any particular problems? Situation Action Result 2. Tell of some situations in which you have had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of the change on you? Situation Action Result

Setting high goals or standards of performance for self, subordinates, others and the organization. Experiencing dissatisfaction with average performance. 1. Compare and contrast the times when you did work which was above the standard with times your work was below the standard. Above Standard Below Standard

2. Descibe some times when you were not very satisfied or pleased with your performance. What did you do about it? Situation Action Result 3. What are your standards of success in school? What have you done to meet these standards? Situation Action Result 4. How have you differed from your professors in evaluating your performance? How did you handle the situation? Situation Action Result


The extent to which activities and responsibilities available in the job overlap with activities and responsibilities that result in personal satisfaction. 1. Give examples of your experiences at school or in a job that were satisfying. Give examples of your experiences that were dissatisfying. Situation Why Satisfying Why Dissatisfying 2. What kind of supervisor do you work best for? Provide examples. Type Why this Preference?

Making active attempts to influence events to achieve goals. Self-starting rather than passively accepting. Taking action to achieve goals beyond what is necessarily called for, originating action. 1. Describe some projects or ideas (not necessarily your own) that were implemented, or carried out successfully primarily because of your efforts. Idea Role in Implementation Outcome 2. Describe a situation that required a number of things to be done at the same time. How did you handle it? What was the result? Situation Action Result 3. Have you found any ways to make school or a job easier or more rewarding? Situation Action Result

Assimilating and applying new job-related information promptly. 1. What tricks or techniques have you learned to make school or a job easier, or to make yourself more effective? How did you learn that? Situation Action Result


Establishing a course of action for yourself (and/or others) to accomplish specific goals. Planning proper assignments for personnel and appropriately allocating resources. 1. How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time? Give examples. Priority How Determined Result 2. Describe a time in school when you had many projects or assignments due at the same time. What steps did you take to get them all done? Situation Action Result

Clearly expressing ideas in writing-including grammar, organization, and structure. 1. Tell of a time when your active listening skills really paid off for you-maybe a time when other people missed the key idea being expressed. Situation Action Result 2. What has been your experience in giving presentations to small or large groups? What has been your most successful experience in speech making? Experience Steps to Presentation Result


Making efforts to listen to and understand the customer (both internal and external), anticipating customer needs and giving high priority to customer satisfaction. 1. Tell of the most difficult customer service experience that you have ever had to handleperhaps an angry or irate customer. Be specific and tell what you did and what was the outcome. Situation Action Result

Acting out of consideration for the feelings and needs of others.

1. Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. Why was this person difficult? How did you handle that person? Situation Action Result 2. Describe a situation where you found yourself dealing with someone who didn't like you. How did you handle it? Situation Action Result


Listed below are key behaviors you may be evaluated on Adaptability Analysis Attention to Detail Communication-Oral Communication-Written Control Development of Decisiveness Delegation Subordinates Energy Entrepreneurial Insight Equipment Operation Financial Analytical Fact Finding-Oral Flexibility Ability Impact Independence Initiative Innovation Integrity Judgment Leadership/Influence Listening Motivation Organizational Participative Negotiation Sensitivity Management Planning and Practical Learning Presentation Skills Organizing Process Operation Rapport Building Resilience Sales Risk Taking Safety Awareness Ability/Persuasiveness Sensitivity Strategic Analysis Stress Technical/Professional Technical/Professional Teamwork Knowledge Proficiency Tenacity Training Work Standards


An example of a simplistic rating system that may be used to evaluate you while other rating systems are very sophisticated with multiple grading and evaluation systems components: 5. MUCH MORE THAN ACCEPTABLE: Significantly above criteria required for successful job performance 4. MORE THAN ACCEPTABLE: Generally exceeds criteria relative to quality and quantity of behavior required. 3. ACCEPTABLE: Meets criteria relative to quality and quantity of behavior required. 2. LESS THAN ACCEPTABLE: Generally does not meet criteria relative to quality and quantity of behavior required. 1. MUCH LESS THAN ACCEPTABLE: Significantly below criteria required for successful job performance.
Here is one list of sample behavioral-based interview questions: Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way. Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem. Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it. Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion. Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree. Please discuss an important written document you were required to complete. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done. Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks. Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.

What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.

Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa). Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year. Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed. Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead. Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or coworker.

Give me an example of a time when you motivated others. Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively. Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem. Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem. Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures. Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision. Please tell me about a time you had to fire a friend. Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too low).

Sample Behavioral Interview Questions Decision Making and Problem Solving Give me an example of a time when you had to keep from speaking or making a decision because you did not have enough information. Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision. Leadership What is the toughest group that you have had to get cooperation from? Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach? Did it work? Motivation Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty. Describe a situation when you were able to have a positive influence on the action of others. Communication

Tell me about a situation when you had to speak up (be assertive) in order to get a point across that was important to you. Have you ever had to "sell" an idea to your co-workers or group? How did you do it? Did they "buy" it? Interpersonal Skills What have you done in the past to contribute toward a teamwork environment? Describe a recent unpopular decision you made and what the result was. Planning and Organization How do you decide what gets top priority when scheduling your time? What do you do when your schedule is suddenly interrupted? Give an example. Other Behavioral Questions Give a specific example of a policy you conformed to with which you did not agree. Give me an example of an important goal which you had set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it. Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation

Questions to ask employers during interviews

If you are having trouble developing questions, consider the following samples as food for thought. However, don't ask a question if you are not truly interested in the answer; it will be obvious to the employer. What are the company's strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition? How important does upper management consider the function of this department/position? What is the organization's plan for the next five years, and how does this department fit in? Could you explain your organizational structure? How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom? What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job? Could you describe your company's management style and the type of employee who fits well with it? What are some of the skills and abilities necessary for someone to succeed in this job? What is the company's policy on providing seminars, workshops, and training so employees can keep up their skills or acquire new ones? What particular computer equipment and software do you use? What kind of work can I expect to be doing the first year? What percentage of routine, detailed work will I encounter? How much opportunity is there to see the end result of my efforts? Who will review my performance? How often? How much guidance or assistance is made available to individuals in developing career goals? How much opportunity will I have for decision-making in my first assignment? Can you describe an ideal employee? What is your organization's policy on transfers to other cities?

Tell me about yourself. What are the reasons for your success in this profession? Why do you want to work here? Describe how this job relates to your overall goals. What aspects of your job do you consider most crucial? What do you like/dislike about your last job? What have you learned from jobs you have held? How long would it take you to make a contribution to our group/company? What would you like to be doing five years from now? What are your qualifications? What are your biggest accomplishments? How do you organize and plan for major projects?

What is your greatest strength? (Prepare at least three) What is your greatest weakness? (Prepare at least three) What interests you most about this job? What can you do for us that someone else cannot do? Describe a difficult problem youve had to deal with. How do you handle tension and stress? In your current job, what are some of the things you spend most time on? In what ways has your job prepared you to take on greater responsibility? How do you think a former employer or manager would describe you? What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort? Why should I hire you? In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to this organization?