It’s a well-known fact that looking at a candidate’s past behavior is the best way to predict their future performance.
So don’t waste any more precious interview time asking hypothetical questions. behavioral interview questions will let you understand in detail how a candidate has acted in specific situations.
First, identify the core behaviors you’d like your candidates to demonstrate. Then you can then select your specific questions from the list below.
Remember to assess all candidates against the same behavioral criteria!
Behavioral questions ask a candidate how they responded to a past event.
A behavioral question can focus on areas such as stress management, customer relations, communication, and teamwork.
Watch for candidates who use the STAR method when answering behavioral questions.
Behavioral questions are interview questions that ask how a person responded to certain past events. In this way, the interviewer can understand the candidate’s abilities and project them onto how the candidate would behave in the future.
Behavioral questions normally focus on areas such as:
Attention to detail
When you ask a job candidate behavioral questions, you should get a response that not only answers the questions, but demonstrates their abilities and potential. You want to hear an answer that shows exactly how their skills were put into action and what type of results it achieved. You also want to look for a level of self-awareness that shows that the candidate is able to analyze their own past.
What has been the most stressful situation you have ever found yourself in at work? How did you handle it?
What have you done in the past to prevent a situation from becoming too stressful for you or your colleagues to handle?
Tell me about a situation in which you have had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle it?
Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a colleague’s working style in order to complete a project or achieve your objectives.
How was your transition from high school to university? Did you face any particular problems? How did you handle them?
Describe the project or situation that best demonstrates your analytical abilities. What was your role?
Tell me about a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation. What kind of thought process did you go through? Was the recommendation accepted? If not, why?
Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem. What did you do? What was the outcome? What do you wish you had done differently?
What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a decision? Why?
What process do you use to check that you have the right details from a customer?
Give me an example of a time you discovered an error that been overlooked by a colleague. What did you do? What was the outcome?
Tell me about a time that you were confused by a customer’s request. What steps did you take to clarify things?
When have you had to deal with an irate customer? What did you do? How did the situation end up?
Tell me about a time you have “inherited” a customer. What steps did you take to establish rapport with them? What did you do to gain their trust?
How have you handled a situation in the past where your client has changed the brief or “changed the goalposts”?
Give an example of a time you went well out of your way to ensure a customer received the best possible service from you and organisation. What was their reaction?
When have you ever gone out on a limb to defend a customer? What happened?
Tell me about a recent successful experience in making a speech or presentation?
When have you had to present to a group of people with little or no preparation? What obstacles did you face? How did you handle them?
Have you ever had to “sell” an idea to your co-workers? How did you do it?
Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
What obstacles or difficulties have you ever faced in communicating your ideas to a manager?
Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication skills in order to get an important point across.
When have you chosen to communicate a particular message in person as opposed to via email even though the email channel would have been a lot faster?
When was the last time you thought “outside the box” and how did you do it? Why?
Tell me about a problem that you’ve solved in a unique or unusual way. What was the outcome? Were you happy or satisfied with it?
Give me an example of when someone brought you a new idea that was odd or unusual. What did you do?
When have you brought an innovative idea into your team? How was it received?
Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed. How did you handle it?
Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision. What obstacles did you face?
What is the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make at work? How did you arrive at your decision? What was the result?
Give me an example of a business decision you made that you ultimately regretted. What happened?
Give me an example of an important career goal which you set yourself and tell me how you reached it. What obstacles did you encounter? How did you overcome the obstacles?
Tell me about a professional goal that you set that you did not reach. How did it make you feel?
How have you gone about setting short-term goals and long-term goals for yourself or your team? What steps did you take along the way to keep yourself accountable?
Describe a project or idea (not necessarily your own) that was implemented primarily because of your efforts. What was your role? What was the outcome?
Describe a situation in which you recognized a potential problem as an opportunity. What did you do? What was the result? What, if anything, do you wish you had done differently?
Tell me about a project you initiated. What did you do? Why? What was the outcome? Were you happy with the result?
Tell me about a time when your initiative caused a change to occur.
What has been the best idea you have come up with during your professional career?
Discuss a time when your integrity was challenged. How did you handle it?
Tell me about a time when you experienced a loss for doing what is right. How did you react?
Tell me about a business situation when you felt honesty was inappropriate. Why? What did you do?
Give a specific example of a policy you conformed to with which you did not agree. Why?
Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. How/why was this person difficult? How did you handle it? How did the relationship progress?
Describe a situation where you found yourself dealing with someone who didn’t like you. How did you handle it?
Describe a recent unpopular decision you made. How was it received? How did you handle it?
What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients in guiding and maintaining successful business relationships? Give me examples of how you have made these work for you.
Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa). How did you handle the situation?
Tell me about a time when you had to work on a team with someone you did not get along with. What happened?
Describe a situation where you had a conflict with another individual, and how you dealt with it. What was the outcome? How did you feel about it?
Tell me about a team project when you had to take charge of the project? What did you do? What was the result?
Describe a leadership role of yours outside of work. Why did you commit your time to it? How did you feel about it?
What is the toughest group that you have ever had to lead? What were the obstacles? How did you handle the situation?
What has been your greatest leadership achievement in a professional environment? Talk through the steps you took to reach it.
What have been the greatest obstacles you have faced in building/growing a team?
Describe a time when you have not only been responsible for leading a team of people but for also doing the same job as your team members? How did you juggle/balance your time?
Describe a situation that required you to do a number of things at the same time. How did you handle it? What was the result?
How do you prioritize projects and tasks when scheduling your time? Give me some examples.
Tell me about a project that you planned. How did your organize and schedule the tasks? Tell me about your action plan.
When has a project or event you organized not gone according to plan? What happened? Why? How did you feel?
Tell me about your previous success in building a customer base from a standing start. What steps did you take?
What is your greatest sales-related achievement to date? What steps led to the final outcome?
Describe a time when you convinced a resistant customer to utilize your services.
What was the most stressful professional negotiation you have been involved in? How did you handle it?
Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did you do?
Tell me about a time when you worked with a colleague who was not doing their share of the work. How did you handle it?
Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or help others to compromise. What was your role? What steps did you take? What was the result?
Tell me about a time when you had to work on a team that did not get along. What happened? What role did you take? What was the result?
What was the biggest mistake you have made when delegating work as part of a team project?
Tell me about a time when you had settle a dispute between team members. How did you go about identifying the issues? What was the result?
What have you found to be the difficult part of being a member, not leader, of a team? How did you handle this?
Tell me about a particular work-related setback you have faced. How did you deal with it?
When have you ever found yourself in a competitive situation professionally? How did you handle it?
When have you seen your tenacity or resilience really pay off in a professional setting? What was the outcome?
Look for candidates who use the STAR method when answering behavioral questions.
STAR stands for:
Situation. The candidate first gives context by describing the situation, including the causes and potential consequences.
Task. The candidate then describes what their task was in the situation. This could be a self-determined or an assigned task.
Action. The candidate explains the actions they took. They should give a detailed, step by step account of what they did.
Result. The candidate finishes their answer which explaining the results. Preferably there will be some kind of achievement or growth shown.
When your candidate answers behavioral questions, it is important to watch how they answer the questions. You leave it up to them to fill in the blanks and you want to see how they handle it.
The STAR method is a great way for a candidate to show that they not only understand the nature of the question, but that they can give an efficient and effective answer. They give you the information you need in a way that reveals important interpersonal professional skills.
Sometimes, how a person goes about answering the question is just as important as the answer itself.