A behavioral interview question begins with “Tell me about a time/situation when you….” It’s intended to gather from your experience your problem solving skills, ability to handle particular situations, and your learning from previous held positions.
1) Use the PAR technique to answer these types of questions:
P = Describe the PROBLEM/SITUATION or TASK
A = Discuss the ACTION YOU took
R = Detail the POSITIVE RESULT that occurred as a direct effect of your action
2) Prepare a variety of situations to discuss in advance including: a conflict with a colleague, an issue with supervisor, solving a difficult problem making a difficult decision, handling differences in work style, exhibiting leadership and delegation, prioritizing and meeting deadline. You also want to review the job description and have examples of the skill sets that are required there.
4) Keep it succinct. Keep your responses descriptive, but succinct. Rambling on makes you look unprepared and cuts into your interview time.
5) Never say “I haven’t had that experience.” It makes you look green and unprepared for the position. If you haven’t had that experience in a work or internship experience, think about projects done in class or experiences you have had with club members during your college experience. If you cannot think of an experience, then don’t make it up and at that point you can say that you haven’t had experience with this particular dilemma, but give the interviewer an idea of how you would handle it.
With behavioral interview questions, you want to prepare for them and have a variety of scenarios to discuss. Thoughtful, descriptive responses can visibly demonstrate your ability to handle the job!
Author Lisa Orbe-Austin