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Preparing for a Behavioral Styled Interview

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Traditionally, interviews require you to state your opinions: “Tell me something about you.” “Tell me your strength and weaknesses.” “What is your mission in this company?” This is not the case with behavioral interview which requires a job seeker to narrate the stories about how they handled a challenging situation that is related to the skill sets required for the job position. The philosophy behind behavioral interview is that, if you were able to do something successfully in the past, you can do it again.

For instance, if the skills of sound communication and team-building are required for the job, an interviewer may ask the candidates to share past experiences of how they brought a team together to solve a problem. Most times, behavioral interview starts with statements like, “Give me an example of…,” “Tell me about how…,” or “Give an account of a situation which…”

You may have the required skill and experiences needed for the position, if you cannot validate them with important anecdotes, you are bound to fail.

How do you prepare for a behavioral interview?

The first thing you will do is to put yourself in the situation of the employer and try to imagine what answer you would expect from an ideal candidate from the perspective of the interviewer.

Take your time to thoroughly review the description of the job, the company and its culture. Search for clues about the abilities the job requires which are valuable to the organization. Afterward, think about different kinds of behavioral questions that might be asked by the interviewer to ensure you have the required skills.

Following are some skill sets as well as interviews questions intended to surface them in a behavioral interview.

Leadership

“Have you ever had any difficulty getting people to accept your idea? How did you go about it? Were you successful?”

“Tell me about the most challenging team you had to gain cooperation from.”

Problem Solving and Decision Making

“Describe a past situation in which you were able to solve a problem with logic and good judgment.”

“Tell me about a time in the past when you had to come to a decision quickly.”

Communication

“Describe a situation in the past where you had to talk to someone that personally disliked you (or vice versa).”

“Give an account of a time when you used written message to convey a vital idea or argument.”

As soon as you are able to determine the kind of behavioral based questions an interviewer might ask you, take a glance back at your experiences in the past and craft stories that will answer them. Your stories should be brief yet detailed.

Making yourself familiar with the style of behavioral interview, cultivating and practicing stories about your past experiences, doing some background check on the job position you pursue will safeguard you in case you encounter a behavioral interview.

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