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The Behavioral Interview

by - 04/09/2021
"The Behavioral Interview. Learn How to Handle This "
A behavioral interview can put fear into the hearts of candidates!
Just What is It??

Phrasing interview questions in a behavioral style is a technique that is no longer new. In fact, interviewers have been using this technique for years! It can best be described as a series of "situational" questions - that is, tell me about a time when...

From this jumping off point, your interviewer can go in almost any direction. Perhaps that's why these interviews can be a little intimidating. A good interviewer will have a series of follow up questions behind the initial "tell me about a time when" launch point. This can be as simple as "and then what happened?" or "what did you do next?"
Interview in Progress Door Sign Image

The key to success in a behavioral interview is preparation. You want to know your resume cold. Think about your contribution to the accomplishments you listed. Think about your management style. Think about a project that went wrong, and what you did to fix it.

Your interview preparation should really include a comprehensive list of questions to expect. Armed with this information, you can formulate your own behavioral questions and practice your answers. has compiled a great set of interview questions and tips for how to answer. You can find them here: Job Interview Questions.

When responding to a behavior interview question, you want to tell a story. Be sure your examples are on point. Your answers should give your interviewer some insight into your thought process, your style, and even a glimpse into your personality.
Sample Interview Exchange

Here's a sample interview Q & A to get you thinking along behavioral lines:


Tell me about a time when you mentored an employee.


One of the most rewarding parts of my job is serving as a coach and mentor for my staff. I brought someone from the line organization into sales 2 years ago. I saw potential in this individual that he didn't see in himself. He was very much a line guy, but when he had an opportunity to interact with customers, he was just superb. I convinced him to join my team.

In addition to some formal sales training, I did some joint calling with him in order to show him the ropes, and gradually had him start to do most of the talking. After the sales call, we would debrief, reviewing what went well, and what we could do to improve. He's now flying solo and is one of my top performers.

The key to success is to be specific. Answer the question. Provide details. Answering a behavioral interview question is not a theoretical exercise. The interviewer is looking for real world examples of situations you were involved with, and what you did to work through them.
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