Ask an expert: Eight tips for acing a behavioural-based interview

Posted by | June 18, 2013 | Ask an expert, Job interviews, Looking for work

8 tips for acing a behavioural-based interview blog header

Behavioural based interview. The words alone used to make us want to run for the hills, but not any longer thanks to a fantastic chat with Rohan Wakefield.

He gave us some key points and top tips to pass on to you all. Check them out, try them out and be better prepared and more confident for your next interview!

So what is a behavioural based interview question?

In a nutshell, it’s a question that requires you to draw on and describe past experiences or situations and explain how you acted in those situations.

Many employers believe that past behaviour is the best indicator of future performance and as these types of questions feature in the majority of job interviews these days it is important to know what to expect.

#1. As Scar from The Lion King says – Be Prepared!

Be prepared

Before you get to the interview, do your groundwork. Take a look at this list of typical interview questions. The first thing to ask yourself is ‘what ability is the interviewer looking for?’

For example, let’s look at the question “Tell me about a time when you had a conflict at work and how did you resolve it?.” One question can lead you into discussing many skills, in this case – negotiation, fronting up, following protocol, honesty, loyalty to the organisation, judgement. If you prepare answers that cover most, or all, of these areas, you will have a range of scenarios to call on.

A good answer will be clear and concise, demonstrating to the employer that you have the qualities they are looking for and that you have specific evidence to back it up.

Now, look at what your response is revealing about you. Check that these skills you have drawn out from your answer match up with the ones on the job description.


#2. It’s easy to ramble and include a lot of irrelevant information in your answer.

The best way to keep you on track is to remember STAR.

  • Describe a Situation/Task
  • Explain the Action you took in regards to this
  • State the Result of this action.

This is how you want to structure your answers.


#3. Be truthful!

You’re gonna get caught out if you lie…


#4. Asked a question that you are genuinely unable to answer?

Rather than try and bluff your way through it, be honest. Tell the interviewer that you haven’t encountered that situation before so don’t have an example to share. Offer to respond with what you would do in that situation. Your interviewer may be happy with that or they may choose to move on to the next question.


#5. Remember that the employer WANTS to hire someone!

They want to find someone who will be a good fit for their organisation, and the interview is simply a way to find out if you will be just that.

They will not be trying to catch you out with trick questions, so go in feeling positive, relaxed (as much as you can be), and confident in your abilities.


#6. If you can, show you’ve done your research.

This applies to all interview situations, not just behavioural based ones.

There are so many ways to easily learn about an organisation these days and it is important to do so before your interview. Check out their website, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and ask around your own networks – maybe someone you know has worked for this organisation before.


#7. “Do you have any questions for us?”

This common end-of-interview question is one that people may forget while prepping for their interview. While this is a good chance for you to clarify anything you need to know, you can bet that the interview panel are going to be reading between the lines of whatever you ask.

Some good questions you can ask are:

  • “Can you tell me about a day in the life of this role?”
  • “What kind of training and support is provided?”
  • “Do you see there being room for development or advancement in this role?”

#8.  We’ve saved the most important for last. The absolute top tip for your behavioural based interview is to practice.

Practice, practice, and practice some more.

Then repeat.

Know your responses to the typical questions you may be asked so well that by the time it comes to using them you can present them clearly and confidently (but maybe not too rote learned), and mould them to fit different questions as needed.

Happy interviewing and best of luck.

Liked this post? You might also like this post on Body Language to help in your interview and here’s a post for when you get that job to deal with First Day Nerves!

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