Behavioural Interview Questions

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Behavioural Interview Questions

BY Skillset Marketing 31 Jan, 2022

Responding to behavioural questions in job interviews

During a job interview you will be asked a range of questions to determine whether you have the required experience and capability to undertake the role you have applied for. Some of these questions are likely to be traditional interview questions, but for some sectors – particularly the public sector – it is likely you will be asked some key behavioural interview questions.

What are behavioural interview questions?

Behavioural interview questions are asked by recruiters/employers to find out how a candidate has previously acted in specific employment scenarios. The rationale behind this type of questioning is that past performance is a good indicator of likely future behaviour. This means, if a candidate acted in a particular way in the past, then this is how they will react or behave again. Behavioural interview questions are very focused, asking the candidate to explain how they behaved or the steps they took during a specific situation.

How do I spot a behavioural interview question?

Behavioural interview questions ask candidates to convey information about a specific past event or experience. They don’t ask candidates for hypothetical responses, such as those which ask how candidates might perform in a particular situation.

Given their focus on the past, behavioural interview questions can be identified by opening phrases that ask the candidate to look back i.e. they use past tense. These include phrases such as:

“Tell me about a time when …”

“How did you do …”

“Give me an example where …”

What is the best way to respond to behavioural interview questions?

When recruiters/employers ask behavioural questions in interviews, they are looking for a detailed response to their question. Essentially, they are looking for candidates to provide a short account or story which explains how they performed. They want to know what strategies or skills you used, and what the outcome of the scenario was.

One way to respond to these type of questions is the STAR technique. For those not familiar with this, STAR stands for:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action

When using the STAR technique, you should divide your response into four key areas:

  • Situation – This sets the scene for the situation you are describing, including when and where it took place.
  • Task – This section explains the actual situation, project or work issue that was occurring.
  • Action – This is most important part of the story. In this section, you should explain the steps that you took and the actions you performed.
  • Results – In this final section, you should explain impact of your actions or the outcomes that resulted. If you have metrics which demonstrate the outcomes of the project, share them here.

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