Behavioural interview questions (BIQ)
Ever wondered how to prepare for a behavioural interview? We have put together a guide and some examples to help with your preparation.
Hiring managers will often ask behavioural questions to understand in detail how a candidate has acted in specific situations. BIQs are based on the premise that past behaviour is the best indicator for future behaviour.
The CAR method
This method follows 3 main principles: Context (describe the situation and set the scene), Action (give specific examples of the action that you took) and Result (detail the outcome of your action using statistics or feedback from your manager to qualify your answer).
The STAR method
This method provides a similar structured approach to answering a BIQ: Situation (set the scene and give details of your example), Task (outline your responsibilities), Action (give examples of the action you took) and Result (share the outcomes your actions achieved).
By using one of these methods to structure your answer, it will be much easier to stay focused, providing your interviewer with a detailed but digestible response.
● Practise makes ‘perfect’ – practise the CAR or STAR method out loud, keep the acronym in mind when giving your answer to ensure you stay on point.
● Preparation – have a few different examples of situations that you can adapt according to the questions. Do not keep referring to the same one.
● Research – find out what skills and behaviours the employer is looking for. Go over your resume and find examples that demonstrate you are a good fit for the position.
- Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client/vendor or stakeholder. What was the situation, and how did you handle it? (Client-facing Skills)
- Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it? (Ability to Adapt)
- Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you overcome that? (Teamwork)
- Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities. (Time Management Skills)
- Describe a time when you saw a problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to. (Motivation and Values)
- Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work. (Communication Skills)
- Tell me about a time you had to admit to making a mistake. Why did you admit to making the mistake? (Honesty and Integrity)
● Plan your journey – map it out allowing extra time for unanticipated transport delays. Arrive 10 minutes early so you can check in with reception etc.
● Dress appropriately for an interview – it is better to be overdressed than underdressed.
● Research the company, the culture, and the interviewer / panel – use LinkedIn and the company website, make sure you know who you are meeting with.
● Mine your resume for specific examples that demonstrate why you are a good fit for the role, the team and the culture.
● Think of some questions to ask the panel – thoughtful questions can leave a good last impression. A good question is to ask about the team culture, as it shows your interest in working with them.
● Know your resume! Interviewers will often ask you specific questions based on your resume as it pertains to the position (and to make sure everything you have said in it is true).
● It’s important to keep calm during an interview. At times they can seem quite stressful, however it’s imperative to stay focused and attentive throughout. Listen carefully to the questions, take time to think about your response and answer in a clear, concise, and effective manner.
● Speak at a natural pace; trying to fit a lot of words into a short space of time can be overwhelming for interviewers, especially if there is a scribe taking notes.
● Culture fit is often an essential requirement for an employer. Try to engage with your interviewers on a personal level in an interview. The ability to gel with your employers and teammates could be the deciding factor whether you are successful or not.
Video interviews are becoming increasingly common, particularly for remote working roles. It is important to prepare specifically for these types of interviews.
● Before a video interview: check your internet connection, microphone and video. It is important to have a good quality connection, and to ensure the hiring manager/s will be able to hear and see you properly. You should be sure to be in a quiet room with no distractions and good lighting. If you are unsure; do a test run with your recruitment consultant or a friend who can give you some advice/feedback.
● During the interview: ensure you enunciate and show expression in your voice and facial expressions; it can be more difficult to gauge personality in a video interview, so this is important to reflect your interest and enthusiasm for the role.
● Check in with your recruiter to let them know how it went and provide feedback about the interview process.
● Be patient around receiving feedback from the client- this can sometimes take a few days or more depending on when other interviews are scheduled.
● Do not be tempted to contact the interview panel directly– all communication should be via the recruiter as contacting the panel directly can often make them feel uncomfortable and lead to a negative outcome.