Behavioural Interview Questions Explained
By: ©Andrew Reed
Behavioural interview questions, also called situational, are used
as a tool in job interviews to discover how your past performance in a
previous job may contribute to your future performance in the role being
Behavioural interviewing is becoming increasingly common and is used by
many large organisations such as BT, Accenture and many of the large
banking organisations. The basic theory is that past behaviour in work
related situations can be used as a predictor of future performance and
studies have shown this technique to be about 5 times more accurate than
traditional interview questions.
When using behavioural interviewing techniques the interviewer will ask
open-ended interview questions relating to your behaviour in past
situations and will try to match these with the pre-set requirements of the
role. Behaviour based interview questions require you to provide specific
examples of what you have done in the past and usually take the form of:
* Tell me about a time when you.
* Give an example of a situation you found yourself in and what did you do.
* Describe a situation which caused you problems and how you resolved it.
These questions are designed to gather detailed evidence and you will find
that once you have given your answer the interviewer will probe deeper and
may pick certain aspects of your answer to investigate further. Be prepared
for questions such as:
* How exactly did you do that?
* Tell me exactly what steps you took to resolve that
* What was the basis for that decision?
By delving deeper into the detail of your answer the interviewer knows that
it becomes very difficult for you to sustain a fabricated story.
As a candidate, we recommend that you choose answers based on real
experiences that you have had and be ready to give details. Your analysis
of the job description and research of the company will have helped you get
a good idea of the key competencies of the job and the culture of the
organisation. This will help you to anticipate the types of questions you
will be asked in the interview.
Your response needs to be relevant and sufficiently detailed. Be specific
and tell a story. We recommend that you use the following structure:
* Describe the situation or problem
* Talk about the part YOU played in discovering the problem
* Describe what YOU did to resolve it, the actions YOU took
* Detail the successful result and use figures to illustrate
It may seem impossible to prepare for a behaviour based interview because
of the huge variety of behavioural questions you might be asked. However
this is not the case. Each job will have a limited number of competencies
and the interviewer will have selected behavioural interview questions to
target each of these competencies. You will be asked questions about
achievements shown on your resume/cv and the best way to prepare is to have
a detailed answer relating to all these achievements using the structure
above. You will find that even if the exact question is not asked you
should have sufficient resource of answers to answer most of the behaviour
based questions you can be asked in the interview.
© 2006 Andrew Reed. All rights reserved.
Visit us on the web at http://www.blueskyinterviews.co.uk