Interview Like a Boss-The Behavioral Interview

Series: How to Interview Like a Boss

The Behavioral Interview

Behavioral interview questions will provide insight into the candidate’s thought process and personality traits. Often times, the behavioral interview format is not used for the entirety of an interview. Typically, an interview usually includes both traditional, fact-finding questions, as well as behavioral interview questions. The fact-finding questions will ensure the candidate has the right technical skills and experience for the role while the behavioral questions indicate a proper cultural fit.

What does it entail?

Overall, the premise of the behavioral interview is to ask open-ended questions which show examples of skills and experiences they have used in prior situations that directly relate to the position. The logic is the candidate’s success in the past is a positive indicator toward success in the future.

Common behavioral interview questions

  1. Give me an example of a goal you reached and how you achieved it.
  2. Have you ever made a mistake? How did you handle it?
  3. Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  4. Sometimes it’s just not possible to get everything on your to-do list done. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?

One particular thing to pay attention to is that they answer all parts of the question. Often, candidates can become sidetracked with the background of the story and never bring you through to the end. Many candidates will be well prepared with examples of stories to share in response to common behavioral interview questions. If you get the sense a candidate’s answer is too concise, follow-up questions are a great way to learn more about the example beyond their canned response.

Sample follow-up questions

Using example #1 from above, some questions could be:

  • How long did it take you to reach your goal?
  • Did you ever feel like giving up? If so, what got you back on track?
  • How did your manager or team support you in reaching your goal?
  • What bumps along the way did you encounter and how did you overcome these bumps?

The story the candidate chooses to share can be telling as well. It can be indicative of how forthcoming they are, as well as provide you some insight into their personality. Overall, behavioral questions may provide some vision into the possible cultural fit within your organization.

Written by Tiffany Appleton, Director of Accounting & Finance Division