The Behavioral Interview
Tell me about yourself.
Why are you looking to leave your job?
Why do you want to work for our company?
Tell me about a professional conflict you've had.
These are all very common questions asked by recruiters and hiring managers that every job seeker should be ready for. What exactly are employers looking for when they ask you behavioral questions that aren't necessarily related to your skills or the role?
Employers are looking to see if they'd want to work with you and if they'd like having you on their team.
When listening to your answer, employers are evaluating you on a few core areas.
1) Is this person excited about this position at this company or do they just need a job?
2) Can this person play well with others and solve problems or could they disrupt the current team dynamic?
3) Is this person aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and will they take criticism well?
The best way to prepare for a behavioral interview, in addition to doing mock interviews, is to do some soul searching. Have your resume in front of you and take notes about each job you've had, specifically what did you like/dislike about the job, what did you do well/accomplish, what did you learn, and how did you work with others. Being aware of these factors will help you understand what responsibilities you don't like, and more importantly what duties and roles you do like.
After you've analyzed your work history and are more aware of what you're looking for in a career move, it's important to come up with examples and stories that can be used in an interview. If you have a handful of specific examples with detailed stories at hand, you can use them for a wide range of questions. The types of examples you want to have should address the following:
- An accomplishment/success
- What are you proud of? Have you won any awards or received a promotion?
- Conflict resolution
- How do you work with difficult people? What would you change about your manager? When have you disagreed with a colleague?
- What has been the most difficult responsibility or project you've tackled? Have you spearheaded a new project/program? How did you successfully complete it? Did you exceed expectations?