Behavioural Interview questions are questions designed to let you talk about your previous experience in a way that gives the questioner an insight into the way you behave in a given situation at work.
The interviewer will generally have a score sheet where they tick the behaviours that your answer displays, and if your profile fits the job profile then hey presto, it’s yours. The downside of this is that if you don’t fit the matrix then it can be difficult to be hired for the job, so thinking carefully about the kind of interview questions you’ll be asked before the interview will help.
Interview Tips for Behavioral Interview Questions
The interview questions in a behavioural interview will be designed to match the job profile, so if you can get your hands on a copy of this before the interview then it will be a great help. If not, think about what you do know about the job, and the kinds of behaviours that are likely to be important. For example- is it important that you can work with numbers, work well as part of a team, have independant ideas and the drive to put these ideas into practice, or more important that you know how to win difficult customers round? List the behaviours that you think are important for the job- these will probably form the basis of the interview.
2. Think about your own experiences
The interviewer will ask you interview questions to try and elicit your experiences. For example, they might say ‘Tell me about a time when you’ve had to work as part of a team. What was the situation and why was it important?’. Preparing a list of your positive experiences at work, and mindmapping or brainstorming your part in these experiences will help you to give a more fluent and convincing answer.
3. Listen carefully
One of the biggest mistakes people make with interview questions is answering them before they’ve thought them through. This kind of interview asks you to describe times in your working career, and so the interviewer will be able to tell if you’re making it up as you go along. Listen to the question, consider what the interviewer wants and why they might be asking that question and then answer. If you need to ask for a couple of seconds thinking time don’t worry- the interviewer will be impressed that you’re taking the time to think rather than panicking.
4. Role play
Look for a list of common behavioral interview questions and role play answering them with a friend or family member. Remember the earlier advice about considering the behaviours required for your chosen job though, there’s no point in preparing answers to interview questions about times that you’ve had to handle large sums of money if this won’t be part of your role. Ask the person you’re role playing with to give you some feedback on your answers and let them help you to improve them.
On the day, try to relax. Behavioral interview questions are only being used because the interviewer wants to get to know you and it can be very hard to do this if you’re wound up. Take a deep breath, a sip of water and smile. Good Luck!