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All job seekers should be skilled in behavioral interviewing

During interviews, people skilled in behavioral interviewing have an edge.
During interviews, people skilled in behavioral interviewing have an edge.
Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Of the many different types of job interviews that employers might conduct, a behavioral interview is a type of interview that occurs often today. This article will discuss how job applicants can become effective during behavioral interviews.

During behavioral interviews, the interviewers try to discover how the job applicants have behaved in past workplace situations. The reason behind these efforts is the belief that how people have behaved in the past can be a predictor of how they will behave in the future.

All interviewers know which of the many skills they want their eventual employees to possess. In traditional job interviews, the interviewers will ask the job candidates if they possess the desired skills, and the job candidates usually will say that they possess those skills. The degree to which job candidates possess those skills, however, is not apparent. In behavioral interviews, on the other hand, the interviewers will ask the job candidates to recall and describe past workplace situations which demonstrate the degree to which the job candidates have those skills.

As an example, a behavioral interviewer might say, “Tell me about a time in the past when you demonstrated good written communication skills.” The job applicant might skillfully reply, using the S.T.A.R. format, “The situation was that we had a group of new employees coming to work for us, and we had no new employee handbook to orient them to our company. My current employer gave me the target to create a new employee handbook in a week. The action I took was to work overtime to write the employee handbook by the due date. The result was that the new employees rated the handbook as helpful in their orientation, my employer said I did a great job, and he has since given me additional writing assignments.”

Job candidates should try to anticipate the skills about which the behavioral interviewers will ask. Research will be the best method of anticipating the skills that job candidates will have to address.

With probable questions in mind, job candidates then can then recall past workplace situations in which they best demonstrated the skills about which the interviewer probably will ask. Job candidates should prepare and practice so they can skillfully explain how their past workplace situations demonstrated that they possess the desired skills.

Have you ever been in a behavioral interview? What was your impression of it? Please comment below.