Because you may not know which type of interview questions will be used during your next interview, it's best to prepare for not only the traditional questions, but also behavioral and situational interview questions. When preparing for behavioral interview questions, you can also prepare for situational interview questions at the same time.
preparing for a behavioral interview
Preparing for a behavioral interview is going to be more involved than preparing for a traditional interview. In a traditional interview, you may be asked questions like "tell me about yourself?" or "what are your strengths and weaknesses?" But, in a behavioral interview, you will be asked questions that require you to give an example of your past performance in a particular situation. Perkins suggests preparing for a behavioral interview by remembering the STAR process: Situation, Task, Action, Result.
- Situation. Your answers should always describe a situation that demonstrates a skill that is relevant to the employer.
- Task. Your answer should then demonstrate a task or problem you faced.
- Action. Next, you should describe the actions you took to complete the task or resolve the problem.
- Result. Finally, be sure to include the result of your action in your answer.
Before your interview, write down examples of quotes from your supervisors or customers that show your performance during different situations. For example, try to recall situations that will finish the following sentences: "My boss gave me a good performance review when . . . " or "S/he liked it when I took initiative by . . . ." By writing down solid examples, you'll be better prepared to answer behavioral interview questions.
Another way to prepare for behavioral interview questions is to write down 5 to 10 scenarios that illustrate your strongest qualities. "These examples can be from any part of your past - during your education, at home with your family, projects at work, etc," says Perkins. "Be clear on the basic facts of what happened, who was involved, why it occurred, and how the events unfolded."
Remember to use the STAR method when you're jotting down different scenarios. By using the STAR method, you'll ensure your scenario demonstrates your ability to handle a particular situation by identifying the problem or project, implementing a plan of action, and reaping positive (or negative) results.
Finally, Perkins suggests giving an example of how you used a particular skill at work and in your personal life. She says this will demonstrate to the potential employer that you have transferable skills.
preparing for a situational interview
Because your answers to situational interview questions should also be based on examples of your own performance during different situations, you'll prepare for a situational interview the same way you'd prepare for a behavioral interview.
While preparing for a situational interview, Perkins again suggested using the STAR method.
examples of behavioral interview questions
Here are some examples of behavioral interview questions. When you're preparing for your interview, make sure you can answer the questions below.
- Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a classmate's or colleague's working style in order to complete a project or achieve your objectives.
- Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed. How did you handle it? Why? Were you happy with the outcome?
- Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
- Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
examples of situational interview questions
- Would you tell us what attracts you to a career with us? How do you see your studies, skills, experience and personal qualities contributing to the work of the organization?
- Describe a time when you had to deal with conflicting demands. How did you deal with this situation and what was the outcome?
- Where do you expect to be in 5 years time? What will you do if you are not successful in gaining this position?
By using the STAR process as Perkins suggests, and preparing answers to these questions and similar questions, you'll be better prepared for behavioral or situational based interview questions.