Prepare for a Behavioral Based Interview

What is a behavioral based interview?

A behavioral based interview is basically an interview designed to gather information that will tell the employer how you will perform on the job. The principle behind this technique is the belief that the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. This interview technique involves asking questions designed to get you to talk about how you handled certain situations in the past.

For example, if a company has a high-stress environment, the interviewer might ask you to talk about whether you have ever been in a stressful situation in the past. If you say yes, the interview will proceed with questions about what you did in the situation, how it made you feel, how others responded to your actions, how you relieved the stress in the situation and so forth.

In most situations the interviewer will have determined several behavioral characteristics that would be important for on-the-job success and will have a definition of each such characteristic.

For example:

  • Project Management – Taking responsibility for organizing projects, monitoring progress, resolving problems, and reporting on status.
  • Good Listening – The ability to listen to a client’s problems, be empathetic, asking appropriate questions and paraphrasing the responses.

Typically in a behavioral interview you will be provided with the definitions of desired characteristics and asked for examples of situations in which you have exhibited those characteristics. After you have given an example you may be asked for another, in order for the interviewer to test the depth of your experience.

Nonverbal clues also speak loudly.

Behavioral interviews are not just about what you say. During the interview, the employer will also observe your behavior and communication skills. The interviewer will note how you maintain eye contact, speak, listen, make use of non-verbal communication and body language, exhibit self-confidence and appear energetic and enthusiastic.

Employers often choose to use behavioral type of interviews because job candidates can’t prepare for these questions beforehand. However, you can help yourself by anticipating the types of questions you might be asked and thinking up examples of past behavior. You may be able to think up some possible questions the interviewer might ask by analyzing the job requirements ahead of time.

Behavioral interviews can be difficult, but preparation will help.

By preparing for your interview ahead of time you may be seen as better suited than the other candidates who don’t anticipate these types of questions.