focused on questions that were hypothetical, leading, open-ended and
- What would you do if you worked on a team and
there was conflict among the team members?
- You are ok with working overtime, aren’t you?
- Do you have customer service experience?
For better or for worse, this sometimes led to the
hiring of poor employees who could talk a slick story.
Behavioural interviews, on the other hand, require
that you talk about prior experiences, based on the criteria the
- Tell me of a time when you worked as part of a
team where there was conflict between the team members.
- Describe to me a time when you had to put in
extra hours to complete a project or assignment.
- Summarize your customer service experience for
- Want more examples? Check out
the 25 most popular
In preparing for behavioural interview questions,
follow these steps:
- Read the job description carefully
(consider, in particular, any special job requirements being sought,
such as bilingual skills or licensing requirements).
- Identify what you think are the key
“competencies” that the company is seeking. Some of these
competencies may be particular skills, while others may be personal
characteristics. (See our discussion of "Five
- Drawing on the "catalog of successes" you've
created, summarize your previous experiences that demonstrate those
- Remember dates, names, quantities or measurements
of success and other details that will convey the situation to the
Steps in answering behavioural interview questions:
- Give a complete story of an event first.
- What were the key points?
- What were the results?
- Be specific about what YOU: Did / Said / Felt /
- Separate your actions from the actions of others.
- Use "I" examples more than "We" examples.
- Ask for clarification if you're unsure of the
- Watch and listen for interviewer cues.
- Don’t make vague proclamations of your skills.
Small but telling actions and behaviours are more important than
grandiose but unsubstantiated claims of job success.
Negatively phrased questions:
Many interviewers will ask negatively phrased
questions to get you to reveal your weaknesses as well as your
strengths: "Tell me about a time when you were unable to complete a
project on time," or "Tell me about a time when you made a bad
decision." You should answer these questions just as you would answer
the question, "Tell me about your weaknesses as an employee." That is,
answer the question to indicate that:
- you have the insight and maturity to understand
your own weaknesses, and
- you have overcome those weaknesses, or you have
reached the point where those weaknesses are no longer a liability
in the work place.
We highly recommend learning more about
Tricky Questions Reign In Behavioural Interviews
- excellent article
Wall Street Journal
Behavioural Interview Questions
Traditional Interview Questions
Case Interview Questions
Company / Job
Questions determining your Competence
Questions on Wages / Salaries
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