Behavioural questions can help prospective employers make positive assumptions about how your past experiences have helped you gain the correct skills and knowledge to apply to new or advanced job roles. For this reason, these stylistic questions are a great prompt in job interviews to test how you may solve problems for future hypothetical scenarios and allow employers to assess your candidacy appropriately. By detailing specific tasks and your responses to real world business obstacles, your interviewer can effectively gauge how well you complement the workplace whilst giving you ample time to position yourself as the ideal candidate. After reading this article, you’ll realise job interviews should not have to feel like an interrogation, because competency-based questions are an opportunity for you to flaunt your relevant industry experience, interpersonal and technical skills!
The STAR method is a widely practiced structural device for tackling behavioural questions. It stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. This answering technique can encompass all the key points and details of your experience in a well-structured response to avoid circumlocution or rambling.
For the Situation aspect, briefly recount the scenario with highlights of relevant moments or challenges you faced. In Task, describe your role and how it contributed to the project or assignment. For Action, explain and assess your response to the situation you were faced with; how did you manage your team, how fast was your response time, how did you readjust to the situation? The Result component refers to evaluating the outcome of your actions and preferably any measurements of your success.
Using this method as a guide will streamline your response and interviewers will appreciate you saving their time by having a clear and concise flow. It is highly recommended you employ this structure as a scaffold for behavioural questions!
Learning to keep it light-hearted in a professional setting is an artform. So long as you moderate the use of humour and storytelling, you’ll increase your chances of engaging with the interviewer exponentially. It’s always great to be candid in your response to behavioural questions because they encourage you to share a personal experience in order to express your personality to employees. You’re welcome to bring humour into it because these modes of expression are a great way to demonstrate honesty and transparency.
To practice this, you can accustom yourself to thinking aloud. Most hiring employers love to know how you think because they have a tough decision to choose the candidate their most confident with. Especially in technical roles such as software engineering, your interviewer will greatly appreciate your thought process regarding how you’d troubleshoot computational errors and other solutions you can think up. Don’t forget in interview situations, it is just as much an open dialogue between you and the interviewer, as it is an internal dialogue you have with yourself!
This step is absolutely crucial to standing out from other candidates. You won’t have any luck walking into any interview without being equipped for questions that are specifically targeted at your knowledge of the company’s current demands. You’ll need to be prepared in multiple areas regarding the company, the role, your qualifications and experiences.
The Company and the Role
Before you step foot into the interview room, you should expect to be asked about your understanding of the company and the role you have applied for. It becomes a lot easier once you know enough about the company’s mission and operations, to be able to market yourself as the perfect complement to their business. Review the job listing to know exactly what they seek in the ideal candidate and familiarise yourself with their requirements.
After reviewing the company’s needs and the requirements in the job posting, you are able to brainstorm the qualifications and skills you have which are relevant. The behavioural skills you possess should match closely with the job description, and you’ll be able to weave in your skillset into your responses about the company’s demands.
Listing a few anecdotal references is the most effective way to convey your experience and capability in an engaging manner. It’s best to think of more than three main professional situations in which you encountered a meaningful challenge or achievement. Interviewers want you to prove yourself as a successful candidate by aligning your experiences to specific job tasks so they can envision you as the right fit for their company. By having the appropriate anecdotes up your sleeve, you’ll feel much more prepared to tackle behavioural questions. For the most impact, think of professional scenarios where you were prevalently involved in the resolution process and what your key takeaways were from the overall journey.
Most of the behavioural questions used by interviewers will be targeted at your aptitude as a member of a team. Teamwork is vital to the coordination of every company and how communication channels are built across the organisation because they depend on collaborative roles to succeed. Employers prize a candidate who exhibits ‘team player’ skills.
For questions based on teamwork experience, you should think of a successful assignment you achieved within a professional group setting. It could be a work project, a university presentation, or a case competition you placed in. For these anecdotes, focus on your interpersonal skills and how you approached task delegation, collaborative work and collective responsibilities.
Prospective employers are constantly assessing your communication skills, as banal as it sounds. Regarding common behavioural questions which test your conflict resolve, you’ll need to prepare experiences in which you faced disagreement within a professional environment. Your goal is to think of a situation involving negotiation, compromise and mediation. How you handle grievances or collaborative challenges is evaluated through how you represent the situation. Don’t ‘trash’ anyone! There isn’t a need to put down others for mistakes being made because that’s natural. To show maturity and resolve, you can instead focus on how you viewed the conflict as a learning opportunity to rectify concerns and ultimately enrich everyone involved. Think of how you have improved the quality of work for your co-workers, peers and the company overall.
To ace behavioural questions, you’ll rely on lots of preparation and confidence in your abilities. Take your time in researching, practice thinking aloud and tracking your accomplishments to elevate your responses. Having the understanding of how a company operates and how your own qualifications line up with their requirements will impress interviewers with your solution-oriented and team-player approach.
Good Luck 😊