Recognizing and Responding to Behavioural-Based Interview Questions
Insight into Behavioural-Based Interview Questions and Why They Are Asked
Most people who have participated in one or more job interviews will likely attest to the fact that these types of person-to-person exchanges can be quite intimidating; a number of these self-confessions may even go one step further, with interviewees admitting that their knowledge is somewhat lacking in terms of how to handle such stressful situations.
For some, any uncertainties may be due to their limited experience in being interviewed, while for others, it may simply be a case that is has been quite some time since their last job search. Regardless of the circumstances, the goal is to secure a new job, hence the inherent pressure on candidates to present themselves and their past accomplishments in the best possible light to prospective employers.
To succeed in influencing a favourable decision by an interviewer/employer, it is strongly recommended that candidates invest considerable time in preparing for interviews well in advance. Part of this pre-planning should include anticipating some of the questions that may or will be asked, along with the content and delivery of the respective responses; it should be noted though, that interviews are not like pre-scripted movies or stage plays, hence it is not just realistic to think that someone can prepare for all possible questions.
It is conceivable, however, to prepare for the types of questions that are typically asked in interviews; these are referred to as behavioural interview questions and they are used to elicit examples about a candidate’s skills and character in various work or personal situations. What is critically important to keep in mind here is that the interviewer wants specific examples of the candidate’s past behaviour in these types of circumstances, thus the term behavioural interview questions, rather than theoretical answers that are open to subjective interpretation; behavioural-based examples are factual in nature which can be corroborated if necessary, thus reducing the odds of embellishment by the candidate.
Behavioural-based interview questions can be recognized by the peculiarity that they are usually not asked in the form of a traditional question; these requests for past examples are often presented through statements that begin with directives, such as the following:
- Tell me about …
- Describe a time when …
- Give me an example of …
- Talk about a situation in which …
For reference purposes, here are the types of behavioural-based questions that might be asked during an interview:
- Talk about a stressful situation at work and how you handled it
- Give me an example of how you dealt with a dissatisfied customer
- Outline a situation in which you made a mistake and how you rectified it
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an insensitive co-worker
- Describe a time when you did not make your quota and how you responded
- Tell me about a difficult decision you had to make and how you implemented it
- Share an example of how you went about handling multiple projects at one time
- Describe one of your key accomplishments and what you did to achieve that goal
As noted above, when candidates are asked behavioural-based interview questions, the company representative is looking for true-life/actual examples in response. This type of interviewing is based on the principle that past behaviour predicts future behaviour, that is, the manner in which a candidate handled various situations in the past is indicative of how they will react under similar circumstances moving forward; more importantly, this information acts as the basis of whether or not to hire that candidate.
Consequently, in order to fully prepare for any interviews, candidates must anticipate the questions that are likely to be asked and their responses to these questions. These aims can both be accomplished through the guidance of a professional recruitment agency like Winters Technical Staffing.
Placement Agencies Can Help Plan Answers to Behavioural Interview Questions
The recruiting specialists from Winters Technical Staffing have been successfully placing candidates with numerous employers within and outside of the Greater Toronto Area for over 40 years. Throughout that time, these experienced professionals have developed a comprehensive knowledge of the behavioural interview questions most frequently asked by employers and as such can capably assist any candidates in terms of what to expect.
Furthermore, based on the individual backgrounds of these candidates, the consultants from Winters Technical Staffing can help in formulating the respective responses to those questions utilizing a methodology known as the STAR principle. STAR is an acronym for:
- Situation – the baseline circumstances or description of the event
- Task – the specific issue or responsibility assigned to the candidate
- Action – the steps taken to complete the task or to resolve the issue
- Result – the outcome and any subsequent effects from these actions
By applying this approach/technique, candidates will be able to respond effectively to the behavioural-based questions that may be asked during an interview; they will be offering factual and insightful evidence of their skills and strengths, in a confident and objective manner, thereby improving their overall chances of success in landing the job.
Contact Winters Today
To learn more about behavioural interview questions, responses and how to handle the stressful situations presented by job interviews, call the job placement professionals from Winters Technical Staffing today at 416-495-7422 or Contact us to arrange for a complimentary consultation with one of our representatives.