Behavioral Interviewing

What is behavioral interviewing?

Behavioral Interviewing is a new style of interviewing that is becoming popular in the hiring processes of many companies and organizations. The basic premise of behavioral interviewing is this: the best predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation. Following this premis, many employers make a judgement about an applicant’s future behavior on the job by learning about his or her pas behavior in a similar job. Information about one’s past performance is obtained in the behavioral interview, by asking probing questions and discussing situations, events, and experiences.

About the behavioral interview:

  • Employers know before the inteview which skills and qualities they are looking for in their applicants. They ask probing and specific questions to determine if an applicant possesses those skills and qualities.
  • To find out which skills a certain employer is seeking, you may want to talk with alumni, read the company literature carefully, and listen closely to the company’s information session.
  • In the interview, your responses to the interviewer’s questions must be specific and detailed. Rather than talking about a very general situation, describe a particular set of circumstanecs which relate to the question. Tell briefly about the situation, what you did specifically, and the positive reslt or outcome. Remember this three step process:


  • Once you have described the situation, the interviewer may ask questions to gain more detail, such as “What were you thinking at that point?” or “Lead me through your decision process.”
  • Always listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions, asking for clarification if necessary.

Preparing of the behavioral interview:

  • Recall examples of situations from your recent experiences where you have demonstrated favorable behaviors or actions.
  • Use your resume as a guide to remembering your achievements and experiences.

Sample Behavioral Interview Questions

  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
  • Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.
  • Give an example of a time on any job that you held in which you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
  • Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to use your written communication skills in order to get an important point across.
  • Describe the most significant or creative presentation which you have had to complete.
  • Can you give me an example of a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job?
  • Give an example of a time when you used facts and reason to persuade another person to take action. Be specific.
  • Give an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
  • What specifically did you do in your last job to contribute toward a teamwork environment?
  • Describe a situation in which you disagreed with your supervisor and how you handled this disagreement.
  • Tell me about a time when you knowingly violated a company policy to accomplish a goal.