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Behavioral interview questions are intended to help hiring managers gauge a job candidate’s ability to perform the work required and function will within the employer’s current existing culture.

For many, these questions can be scary or challenging. This can be for a number of reasons: our livelihood may depend on the job at hand and we don’t want to lose the opportunity, or we are concerned about rambling and not providing a concise response. Or, we simply haven’t thought of a good response to some of the more common questions like “what is a weakness of your?” or “can you tell me about a time you had a conflict at work, etc.”

As I mentioned in a recent video I created, preparation is key. While each of us has a different way of learning and preparing, I wanted to provide a very simple and effective exercise to help you prepare and feel more confident in your upcoming interview.

Here is a simple and effective way to help you prepare for behavioral interview questions:

  1. Write a list of 10 common behavioral interview questions (for your convenience, I’ve included this at the bottom of the article.
  2. For each question, write down 3 different responses.
  3. Rehearse each response aloud multiple times until you work out the kinks.

That’s it! The idea with writing multiple responses is that you are essentially creating a library of well thought out examples that you can choose from during your interview. Alternately, you are trying different responses on for size to see what fits you and what doesn’t.

Need a way to help you organize your responses? Consider the CAR method.

CAR stands for:

Challenge – What was the situation? What was being asked of you?

Action – What steps did you take?

Result – What was the outcome of your efforts?

Pro Tip: Keep your responses positive! Even if you are describing a time of failure, you can make it positive by conveying what you learned from the situation.

I realize that for some this seems like a daunting task, but your career is worth it. Some of us are very busy. I get it. Here are some suggestions to ensure your success:

  • Create an attainable goal to complete this exercise. For example, tackle 1 question a day for 10 days. You won’t spend that long on one question, and you will begin to build momentum. Mark it on your calendar. Or, write responses for 2 questions for 5 days. Whatever works for your schedule.
  • If you’re having a hard time starting this exercise, set a timer for 15 minutes and just start. 15 minutes isn’t that long, and once you get going, you’ll probably want to keep going.
  • Use a voice recorder app on your phone to record and play back your responses to see where you can improve. This is also helpful if an idea pops into your head and you aren’t anywhere near pen and paper, or your computer.

That’s it! By working through this insightful exercise, you are giving yourself a competitive advantage and setting yourself up for success. Preparing for common behavioral interview questions is key to feeling confident in the interview.

You can do it!

Here is a small list of behavioral questions to get you started.

Pro Tip: Do some research on the company you are interviewing for to see if they ask any typical behavioral interview questions. Sites like Glassdoor.com can be a good resource.

  • Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  • Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  • Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectations. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
  • Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked under close supervision or extremely loose supervision. How did you handle that?
  • When you worked on multiple projects, how did you prioritize?
  • Can you tell me about a time you had a conflict with a peer or supervisor, and what you did to resolve the situation?
  • Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled implementing it.

Need more questions? Feeling stuck? Contact Advanced Career Services today!