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Know What to Say on a Job Interview

Behavioral Interview

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The behavioral interview type draws from your previous behavior on the job, to indicate your future behavior.

Many companies increasingly rely on the behavioral interview. That's because an interviewee's previous behavior on the job is typically a good indicator of his or her future behavior on the job.

Although interviewers use standard methods, there are no canned questions for which you may memorize answers in advance of behavioral interviews.

That's because each behavioral interview is a unique and spontaneous interaction between the job candidate and interviewer. As a result, there are an infinite number of behavioral interview questions and answers.

However, generally, a behavioral interviewer will likely ask you to describe a time that required problem-solving skills, adaptability, leadership, conflict resolution, multi-tasking, initiative, stress management or another type of behavior.

Then the behavioral interviewer will likely ask how you dealt with the situation. He or she might also ask you about the outcome.

Your answers will require thought, reflection and organization. To maximize your chances for successfully navigating a behavioral interview:

  • Study the job description to anticipate the transferable skills and personal qualities that are required for the job.
  • Review your resume. Any of the qualities and skills you have included in your resume are fair game for a behavioral interviewer.
  • Prepare a brief "behavioral" story for each of the competencies on your resume as well as those that you anticipate the job requires.
  • Reflect on your own professional, volunteer, educational and personal experience to develop brief stories that highlight these skills and qualities in you.
  • Prepare stories by identifying the context, logically highlighting your actions in the situation, and identifying the results of your actions.
  • Keep your responses concise and present them in less than two minutes.

Send a thank you note to each of your behavioral interviewers.

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For sample interview questions and tips for navigating other interview types not listed above (such as technical interviews), start at Interviews.

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Know What to Say on a Job Interview
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