Friday, August 29, 2008

Mastering the Behavioural Interview

Behavioural interviewing relies on the principle that past behaviour predicts future behaviour. Research has shown that the predictive validity of behavioural-based interviews is higher than traditional non-structured or situational interviews. Although this interview technique has been around for many years, it seems to be common practice among most employment recruiters in this day and age. Because of this fact, it is especially important to come prepared to a behavioural based interview.

First, you must understand what your potential employer is seeking in an employee. You should identify the specific competencies required for the position in which you have applied. These competencies are typically outlined within the job advertisement itself among the description of skills and qualifications necessary for the position. Examples of competencies could include: communication skills, leadership qualities, team building skills, stress management skills, decision-making and problem-solving skills etc.

Second, you should develop some impressive stories that can be linked to each specific competency that you have outlined among the job advertisement. Verbalize your stories using a method known as STAR. This commonly employed strategy helps to deal with these precise types of interview questions. The acronym is defined as follows:

S = Situation: Briefly describe the situation.
T = Task: What were you trying to achieve?
A = Action: What did you do to achieve your results?
R = Result: What were the results?

And as the saying goes; practice makes perfect, so why not set up a mock interview with a friend? It will not only allow you to voice your responses out loud, but it will allow you to gain some real feedback before the actual interview takes place. To get started, here are some examples of common behavioral based interview questions:
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.

  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.

  • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.

  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.

  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.

  • Describe a situation in which you had to deal with conflict.

  • Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year.

  • Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.

  • Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.

  • Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

  • Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.

  • Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.

  • Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.

Good luck!
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