How best to handle behavioral interview questions
The basis for behavioral interview questions is the assumption that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. The primary aim is to evaluate your experiences and behavioral pattern, projecting it into your future in the company and how it will benefit them.
The recruiters are looking for certain traits in your answers that make you the best candidate for the open position. Some of the things they look out for are;
- your ability to work in a team
- commitment to your job
- loyalty to ex-employers
- willingness to learn
- discretion / ability to keep company secrets
- ability to submit to authority
- ability to work under pressure
- Willingness to travel; the list goes on and on. Questions are formulated from which these behaviors could be deduced.
Going in for a behavior based interview unprepared is like going to war unarmed; disastrous. Here are five best approaches for such questions;
Knowledge is power
Knowing all there is to know about the company is an added advantage to you. You would be able to predict what angle the interviewer would channel his questions from. Knowing about the company gives you a heads up of what behavioral patterns the company might need.
No need to rush
Things done in a hurry have higher tendencies to fail. In as much as you don’t have all day during your interview session, don’t be I a hurry to answer questions. No matter how prepared you are, take a minute or few seconds to maul over your answers before you present them.
Less is more
Keep the phrase ‘less in more’ at heart when answering questions. Long speeches don’t automatically equate an impressed interviewer. Keep your answers straight t the point. Use the STAR statement; 1) Situation/Task, 2) Action, 3) Result. Talk about the situation, the action you took, and the resulting outcome.
The worst mistake you could make during a behavior based interview is to make assumptions. When you don’t understand a question ask for clarity. Don’t assume that the interviewer means one thing when there’s even the slightest chance they could mean something else. Be sure you know what you’re being asked.
It’s not really a behavioral interview if your expressions are not being watched. This is why you need to school your expressions. Don’t show how tensed you are or how nervous you are, it could be telling a different story than you intended. The only emotion you can freely express is passion for your job (past or present). Please avoid dramatics of any kind; no interviewer is there to be entertained.
Be conscious of your environment from the moment you step into the company for your interview until you leave; you never know who is watching. Remember the best way to tell someone’s real behavior is to catch them off guard. Don’t give the interviewers the chance to catch you off guard.