Behavioural interviews often feel quite different from the traditional interview you are used to. You will be asked to provide examples of a past situation or exercise that you have been deeply involved in, focusing on the core competencies that are needed to be successful in the role.
This will include knowledge, skills, abilities as well as your personal characteristics and style. You will need to think carefully about the answers you give, making sure that your example relates to the question asked, clearly talking about what you did, rather than what the team did as a whole.
Four top tips to succeed in behavioural interviews:
1. Give specific examples
Don’t generalise. If asked to describe a situation that you were in or a task that you needed to accomplish, describe a specific event or situation, not a generalised description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event. Don't be overwhelmed and try to speak about several events, choose one significant situation and elaborate on that.
2. Prepare a range of detailed examples
The interviewer will examine your examples in more detail asking a series of probing questions. As a result, you should use good, solid examples, within which you are able to recall as much detail as possible about your role and what you did
3. Prepare examples from your personal life
Your personal experiences are just as valuable as your professional life to convey your personal skills and attitude (although the bulk of examples should be professional). This may give the interviewer an insight into your personal interests, which can help determine cultural fit.
4. Take time to think about the core competencies
When assessing what the core competencies are likely to be, consider the job description and pull out the requirements of the role, i.e. those competencies that you are expected to have prior to starting in the position. If you do not have a job description, ask for one prior to the interview.
5. Examples of behavioural interview questions
- Describe the last time you missed a deadline and why?
Give an example of when you had to support others in the team?
- Talk about a time when you were complimented for helping a client beyond the call of duty?
Give a recent example of when you came up with a different solution to a problem?
- Describe an occasion when you took responsibility for making a key decision?
Give an example of a time when you were unfairly criticised?
- Talk about the last time a customer made an excessive or unreasonable demand of you?
Describe an occasion when you had difficulties working with a team?
- Give a recent example of when you experienced a setback, and how you overcame this?
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