- Before you undergo a behavioral job interview, it is a good idea to do some research about the company and the job itself. Think about the job title and any listed skills needed on the job application. Additionally, consider the type of personality or added traits (patience, ability to work well with others or efficiency) that could make a person successful in a job.
Next, come up with a list of two to three selling points as to how you fit in to that job. What is unique about you that makes you the best fit? Are there any special skills you have beyond what is on your resume that could make you an asset? This type of interview is a great opportunity to show the time and energy you have put into applying for the position. A great answer to a question might include "I have spent some time researching your company, and based on my understanding of the job, I see it as one that requires a lot of customer service experience. In my past job, I..."
In addition to positive examples of your work history, contemplate any moments that could be perceived as negative, such as when you had trouble meeting a deadline or when you and a team member clashed on a project, and be prepared to speak on these instances as well. Emphasize that even if a project did not turn out as planned, you took steps to ensure success or sustained relationships even after the project's completion.
At the Interview
- The University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire's Career Services site shares a strategy for answering difficult, behavior-based questions by remembering the acronym PAR.
P stands for Problem: What difficulty or setback did you notice in a past job?
A stands for Action: How did you specifically take action to resolve the problem or difficulty? What skills and knowledge base did you utilize to take action?
R stands for Result: If you have tangible numbers (such as improving sales by a certain percentage or saving x number of dollars in revenue), be sure to share these with your interviewers.
Using the PAR system helps you to provide answers that thoroughly answer the question while also providing insights into your personality. More than a vague, bland answer, PAR answers pack a memorable punch to impress an interviewer.
Recognize Leading Questions
- Interviewers often give hints about the types of behavior they are seeking in the questions they pose. When asked a question such as "Does multitasking bother you?" or "How do you feel about working in teams?" the reviewer is basically saying, "We need a person who can multitask/work in teams." Therefore, it is important to not show hesitation in answering this question and to illustrate in your answer what makes you uniquely qualified for the personality type they are seeking.
These types of questions always bring up the question of whether it is best to say what the interviewer is hoping to hear or the truth. When it comes to this question, you must consider that if you are hired to the job and cannot back up your promise of a particular skill, not only will you not be satisfied at the job, your performance will not satisfy your employer. For that reason, it is important to be as honest as possible while also emphasizing your flexibility and willingness to learn. These are often more appreciated than a person who clearly stretches the truth.