How to Answer Behavioural Questions

Employers want to know that the candidates they hire will fit in both company culture and the position applied. In the job interview, hiring managers need to ensure that candidates have the qualities they are seeking for, therefore they often ask behavioural questions to uncover it.

Behavioural interview questions are questions that focus on how a job candidate has handled different work situations in the past to reveal their personality, abilities, and skills. Interviewees could use their work experience, volunteer positions, or sports experiences to answer behavioural questions. 

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Simplify with the S.T.A.R Approach

STAR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results. This interview technique offers a straightforward format which job seekers can use to answer behavioural interview questions. This technique requires interviewees to provide a real-life example of how they handle a certain kind of situation at work in the past. 

Behavioural questions usually are easy to recognise as they often have telltale openings like: 

  • Have you ever encountered a situation that makes you grumpy? How do you handle the situation? 
  • Describe your most daunting challenge and how you handle the situation?
  • Talk about a mistake you made. What happened and how did you handle it? 
  • Please describe a scenario in which you were under pressure. What was going on and how did you respond? 
  • Tell me about your proudest accomplishment. 

In some cases, recruiters can provide a situation in which interviewees have to answer with a real-life example based on their past experiences. 

Preparation checklist 

When answering a behavioural question, interviewees should be able to identify the most interesting event, hence could grab the attention of the interviewer. However, if interviewees do not have any work event related to the question, they can pick the most relevant ones from personal experiences. When doing so, make sure to tell a recruiter that the event happened not in the workplace but instead it is based on the personal experience. 

Here are tips to pick the best event and how you can relate it to the question: 

  • Categorise your experiences into successes, challenges, leadership moments, teamwork skills, and problem-solving situations. 
  • Practice your answer out loud before the interview session and plot the answer neatly. 
  • Get comfortable with your strengths and weaknesses because interviewers might ask more questions regarding your strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Always be honest. 

“It is all about lessons learned. Your answer to behavioural questions should demonstrate how you tackled and solved a problem. And of course, what you learned from this situation.” - Jodi Glickman 

Read also: 3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential