The Dos and Don’ts of Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral interview questions have become increasingly popular among employers as a way to assess a candidate’s past behavior and predict their future success in the role. These questions are designed to elicit specific examples of how a candidate has handled situations in the past, providing insight into their skills, abilities, and personality traits.

However, answering behavioral interview questions can be tricky, and there are certain dos and don’ts that candidates should be aware of to ensure they present themselves in the best possible light.

The Dos

  • Prepare in advance: Review the job description and identify the key skills and competencies required for the role. Think of examples from your past experiences that demonstrate these skills and prepare short stories that you can use to answer potential behavioral interview questions.
  • Be specific: When answering behavioral interview questions, provide specific examples of the situation, your role, the actions you took, and the results. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your answers.
  • Show your skills: Behavioral interview questions are designed to assess specific skills and competencies, such as problem-solving, teamwork, and communication. Use your answers to showcase these skills and demonstrate how they have helped you in the past.
  • Be honest: While it may be tempting to embellish your answers, it’s important to be honest about your experiences and abilities. Hiring managers can usually spot when a candidate is not being truthful, and it can damage your credibility and chances of getting the job.
  • Ask questions: At the end of the interview, take the opportunity to ask questions about the role and the company. This shows that you are genuinely interested and can help you determine if the job is a good fit for you.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t ramble: While it’s important to provide specific examples, be concise in your answers. Avoid rambling or going off-topic, as this can distract from your main points and make you appear unprepared.
  • Don’t speak negatively: Avoid speaking negatively about previous employers or colleagues, as this can reflect poorly on you and make you seem difficult to work with.
  • Don’t exaggerate: While it’s important to highlight your achievements, avoid exaggerating your role or accomplishments. Stick to the facts and let your achievements speak for themselves.
  • Don’t be defensive: If the interviewer asks a challenging question or raises a concern about your experience, don’t become defensive. Instead, use the opportunity to explain your thought process and how you handled the situation.
  • Don’t forget to follow up: After the interview, send a thank-you note to the interviewer to express your appreciation for their time and reiterate your interest in the role.

By following these dos and don’ts, candidates can maximize their chances of success in a behavioral interview. Remember to prepare in advance, be specific in your answers, showcase your skills, and be honest and professional throughout the process.