Behavioral interviews are tricky and can make you squirm, but you can learn how to prepare for a behavioral interview by following a few simple steps. These type of interviews, by the way, probe your qualifications by asking you how you behaved in a past situation The theory is that how you behaved before will determine how you will perform in a similar situation in your new job. Let’s get started.
Examine the job description carefully. The most desired skills and experience that employer is looking for will be mentioned higher in the job description. The ones listed lower are the “nice to have’s” but not necessary. Next, assess yourself. How would you rate yourself on these skills? Beginner? Intermediate? Expert? Which of your experiences have best demonstrated your skills
Next, think of your accomplishments, especially those where you might have saved time and money, or created anything that improved process and procedure. Write these down. Mine your life story. Can you translate anything else to the requirements of the job?
Another tip in answering behavioral interview questions is to understand their structure – most interviewers are going to ask you questions that begin something like this: “Tell me about a time when.. “What do you consider to be…?”Often, the interviewer is probing for situations that are challenging, ones where you would have had to have demonstrate the desired skills. Answer these questions truthfully, describing the situation, and then demonstrating what yo learned from it, and perhaps what you would have done differently.
To prepare for a behavioral interview, you must learn how to structure your answers according to the STAR approach. This acronym stands for Situation, Task Action, Result. Not only is this format designed to ruffle your feathers and force you to think and be calm under pressure, but it also will elicit anecdotal information that illustrates your competency.
Here’s an example from my life. “Tell us about a time when something went wrong in the classroom and how you handled that.” Situation: I related the tale about one the first classes I ever taught. I had a group of office administrative students with whom I was struggling in class. Task: I had to create lessons to meet course requirements in grammar and writing, but I was not successful in my current approach. Action: After reflecting on the situation, I realized I hadn’t carefully assessed this group’s learning styles and needs and used approaches that didn’t work. I had to change how I taught the class. Result: I changed the lesson plan to less “lecturing” and more hands-on task, and this approach worked better.
Another tip to prepare for a behavioral interview is to do a mock interview and record yourself on video. The video will reveal how you present, the type of body language you use, and your insecurities. Watching yourself will give you a chance to improve your delivery and to appear more confident. Also get examples of behavioral interview questions . Create your own answers and then rehearse how you would answer them. Put yourself in the employer’s shoes. Would you hire you? What would you ask?
Learning how to prepare for a behavioral interview will increase your chances of success in a tough job market. Good luck!