“Past behaviour is a better predictor of future behaviour”

It is estimated that 80% of the interview is made up of behavioural questions. In order to understand how to answer behaviour questions we need to first define what a behavioural question is.

This type of interviewing is based on the philosophy that your past actions and behaviours will be a good indicator of your future behaviours. Therefore, how you acted to certain circumstances in your previous job is a reliable indicator of how you will act in your new job. As there are literally thousands of behaviour type questions, you can best prepare for this type of questioning by researching the culture of the company to get an understanding of the behavioural traits that are essential to working at that particular organisation.

Behavioural questions differ from standard interview questions as they focus more on experiences, behaviours, knowledge, skills and abilities. Rather than the standard question of “Do you have leadership skills” a behavioural question is more likely to be “Give me an example of your previous role when you displayed leadership abilities.” As the interviewer has already determined which skills are necessary for the role it is important that you are prepared for these questions.

The best way to begin studying for these questions is to look at the job description! The list of skills that they require are the skills they will more than likely focus on. When the job description mentions they require a person with good teamwork skills or negotiation skills, it is more than likely that this will be turned into a behavioral question to see if you really do possess these skills.

In good news, behavioural questions are not to be feared. When prepared properly, these questions can be easily answered.

The best way to answer a behavioural question is to use the STAR format.

Situation: The interviewer wants you to present a recent challenge and situation in which you found yourself.

Task: What did you have to achieve? The interviewer will be looking to see what you were trying to achieve from the situation.

Action: What did you do? The interviewer will be looking for information on what you did, why you did it and what were the alternatives.

Results: What were the outcomes of your actions? What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your objectives? What did you learn from this experience and have you used this learning since?

Most Asked Behavioural Questions

  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation and how you overcame the situation
  • Tell me about a difficult decision you’ve made in the last year
  • Give an example of a time when a project you were on failed
  • Provide an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead
  • Tell me about a situation where you have had to speak with an unhappy customer
  • Give me an example of a time when you motivated others and how this led to a positive outcome
  • Give an example of a goal you set and how you reached it
  • Describe a decision you made that was unpopular with your co-workers and how you handled this
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use negotiation to successfully change a person’s opinion
  • Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to make a split second decision
  • Describe a situation where you knew your boss was wrong – how did you handle it?
  • Give an example of a time when you used good judgment in solving a problem
  • Describe a major change or adjustment to your job and your reactions to the change
  • Describe a situation where the situation changed and you forced to adjust to the changes – how did you handle this adjustment?
  • Describe a time when you were able to effectively communicate an error to your supervisor
  • Tell me about a time when you encountered conflict in the workplace and how you handled the conflict?
  • What was your most difficult decision in the last 6 months? What made it difficult?
  • Provide an example of when you had to go above and beyond your normal duties in order to get the job done
  • Describe a time when you put the needs of your workmates before your own when completing a task
  • Tell me about a time when your knowledge or skills significantly enhanced an outcome or decision
  • Provide an example of a problem you had with a co-worker or boss and how you resolved it
  • Give an example of a pressure situation you faced and how you reacted to the pressure
  • Provide an example of a time when you felt you were able to motivate
  • Describe a situation when you were able to have a positive influence on others
  • Describe a time when you did not put in 100% into your job or performance and what you did about it
  • Tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem with very little guidance or direction
  • Tell me about a time when you were successful in a team environment?
  • Tell us about a time that you were able to adapt to a culturally different environment
  • Give an example of a situation that you have gone out of your way to make someone feel comfortable in the working environment
  • Tell us about the most effective contribution you have made as part of a task group or special project team
  • Describe a team experience you found rewarding
  • Describe a team experience you found disappointing
  • What was the most stressful situation you have faced? How did you deal with it?
  • Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach?
  • Have you ever had to deal with conflicting deadlines? How did you decide which task to complete?
  • Explain a complex problem you recently encountered
  • What have you done in the past to contribute toward a teamwork environment?
  • Provide an example of an annoying or unpopular co-worker and how you deal with that person
  • Tell me about a time when you went overtime on a deadline
  • Describe a time where you were wrong in your decision making – what did you do to fix it
  • Describe a time where you had to delegate tasks
  • Provide an example where you were unsure what to do but afraid to ask for guidance
  • Give an example of when you had to use different management styles for different people
  • Provide an example of how you were able to promote morale
  • What is the biggest contribution you made in your current role?
  • What are you most proud of in your working career?
  • Have you ever had to “go the extra mile” for a customer? What did you do?
  • When was the last time a supervisor gave you constructive criticism – how did you react?
  • Discuss a setback you have overcome in the last 12 months
  • Give me an example of a time when you felt that someone wasn’t being honest with you in the workplace and how confronted it.

I’m sorry I do not have answers to each question for you because I expect you to critically read, understand and answer according to your experience.

In the next article, we will be sharing other types of questions expected during an interview. like always, subscribe to our Blog!

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