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Know What to Say on a Job Interview

Behavioral Interviews

Because behavioral interviews are so very subjective and personal, there are an infinite number of questions and answers.

So, there's no list of "correct" answers that you can memorize in advance. Answers must spontaneously come from within you, based on your personal experience; after all, that's the whole idea behind behavioral interviews.

However, there are some preliminary steps that you can take to prepare for behavioral interviews.

Preparing for Behavioral Interviews

With the sample behavioral interview questions from the previous page in mind, start preparing by studying your resume and cover letter. The skills, education, accomplishments, experience and other qualities you've presented, will likely become fodder for similar types of behavioral interview questions.

The job description too will likely become fodder for behavioral interview questions, similar to the samples on the previous page. Study the job description and try to anticipate questions based on the skills, education, experience and other qualities it requires. Get the job description from the job ad or ask the HR department.

For your answers to behavioral interview questions, think back into your career; particularly about special or difficult situations, such as high-priority projects with tight deadlines or other obstacles you had to overcome. Think also about accomplishments that made you proud; particularly those that were difficult to achieve and for which you received pats on the back.

In other words, focus on specific, work-related situations that were difficult or otherwise special to some degree, and for which you had to rely on your qualities to demonstrate desirable behaviors or actions; examples are planning, problem solving, leadership, teamwork, initiative, and regard for customer care.

Then craft two or three true "stories" that highlight your accomplishments, competencies and other qualifications. Make sure that each of your behavioral interview stories has a logical beginning, middle and end, as does any well-crafted story. A good, simple "formula" to follow is: Situation + Action = Outcome

For example, if you had a problem to resolve, practice telling the behavioral interview story of how you identified the problem, how you went about resolving it, and what the result was. (An example is on the next page.) Natch, you'll likely tend to favor only work situations that had positive results; but, that's okay, because it's what interviewers typically want to hear.

However, just in case an interviewer asks a behavioral interview question about a negative outcome, also prepare a story like that too, if you have one to tell; but, don't tell it too negatively. Try to put a positive spin on the negative outcome, by explaining how well you coped, kept chipping away at it despite obstacles, and so on.

Even if an interviewer doesn't ask about a particular story that you've crafted and rehearsed, you've not wasted your time; your story-crafting practice will still help you to better answer even the toughest of behavioral interview questions.

Next Page > Behavioral Interview Questions with Answers
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