The Most Common Behavioral Interview Questions

The next time you go into an interview, you’re likely to face behavioral interview questions. Well-prepared responses can set you apart.

Job interviews are almost always nerve-racking. However, many interviewees get particularly nervous when they're asked to describe a time when they failed or to recall how they handled a workplace conflict. These are called behavioral interview questions or situational interview questions, and they’re becoming increasingly popular. You’ll likely be asked at least one or two in your next interview. Game 7 engineering recruiters are here to help with these and other questions, fill out the form below and see if we can find you your next big project!

In this article, you’ll learn more about these tough interview questions. You'll also get tips on how you can prepare for these questions and even plan some of your responses in advance.

Behavioral Interview Questions

What Are Behavioral Interview Questions?

Let’s start at the beginning. Behavioral interview questions focus on how you’ve handled certain work situations in the past. The assumption is that this is an indicator of how you’ll act in the future. Behavioral interview questions give interviewers insight into your problem-solving skills, personality, and abilities. Since you’ll need to share a specific story in response to each question, you should prepare for the most common behavioral interview questions before you schedule your interview. 

You may be wondering why situational interview questions are so popular. As internationally-recognized psychologist Daniel Goleman notes, employers are no longer satisfied with qualifications and technical know-how. They also want to know that workers have specific personal qualities. In a behavioral interview, the interviewer is looking for concrete proof that you’re right for the job and the culture of the organization. When giving your responses to behavioral-based interview questions, provide a brief background then state specifically what you did and the results you achieved.

The Best Technique for Answering Behavioral Interview Questions

Before we get into some of the typical behavioral interview questions, let’s take a look at a popular approach, the STAR technique. This approach is helpful when responding to questions that require an anecdotal response. This technique makes it easy to organize your thoughts when responding to situational interview questions. It involves describing the:

  • Situation. Share details about how the event occurred.
  • Task. Talk about the task you had to work on or the challenge you had to overcome.
  • Action. Tell the interviewer about what action you took to complete the task or solve the problem.
  • Results. Discuss the outcome of your actions and how you helped the team or company.

Seven Common Behavioral Interview Questions

There’s no way to predict exactly what you’ll be asked during your interview. However, you can prepare for some of the top behavioral interview questions. Take a look at the sample situational interview questions below and take note of what the interviewer is looking for when they ask each question. You don’t have to memorize your answers word-for-word, but you should know which experiences you want to share and be prepared. 

Common Behavioral Interview Questions

How Have You Worked Effectively Under Pressure?

This may seem like one of those hard interview questions with no real “right” answer. The purpose for asking this is to understand the strategies you’ve used to handle pressure on past assignments. Try to provide a specific example of how you successfully navigated a high-pressure situation. If, in retrospect, you would have done something differently, feel free to mention this. It’s best to be honest when answering tough interview questions.

Can You Give An Example of How You’ve Handled a Challenge? 

As far as behavioral interview questions go, this one comes up often. No matter what field you’re in or what type of jobs you’ve had, challenges will come up at some time. Try to give a step-by-step account of how you responded to a workplace challenge and why your approach worked.

Have You Ever Made a Mistake at Work? Tell Me What You Did Next.

Everyone makes mistakes, and you shouldn’t be afraid to admit to it. The recruiter or hiring manager is more concerned with what you did after you made the error. Ideally, you’ll be able to recount how you took responsibility for your actions, corrected the mistake, and took steps to prevent it from happening again. This is one of the top behavioral interview questions, so you need to be prepared with a well thought out answer. 

Can You Provide An Example of How You Set Goals?

This is among one of the most challenging sets of behavioral interview questions and answers. However, setting goals and demonstrating an ability to follow through is important in almost all positions you are interviewing for. With these types of situational interview questions, the interviewer wants to know about the steps you took to accomplish a goal. Give an example of how you went about setting an ambitious goal and working towards achieving it.

Have You Ever Had to Make A Decision You Made That Wasn't Popular? How Did You Manage the Implementation?

STAR interview questions are not always about what went perfectly well. In almost any role, you’ll have to make difficult decisions from time to time. The interviewer will want to hear about how you implement change even in the face of opposition. To answer these types of situational interview questions, show how you implemented an unpopular plan while communicating with stakeholders and peers to gain support.

Can You Share an Example of How You’ve Worked as Part of a Team?

You now have a better idea of how to prepare for a behavioral interview. However, there are still other questions you need to prepare for. You may have to work in a team as part of your job. Therefore, the hiring manager or recruiter will ask you hard interview questions aimed at gauging whether you’re a team player. Share an example of how you cooperate with others to achieve an outcome.

What Do You Do If You Disagree With Someone at Work? 

Disagreements are common in the workplace given all the varying personalities and viewpoints. However, differences of opinion need to be carefully managed if everyone is to function optimally. When answering this or similar situational interview questions, you need to show how you compromised or persuaded the other person when a disagreement arose. Now is the time to play up your conflict resolution skills and show that you know how to diffuse a heated situation.

Answering Behavioral Interview Questions

Tips for Answering Behavioral Interview Questions

It may seem like tough interview questions are designed to trip you up. However, recruiters, and their clients, need to know they’re hiring the best candidates. In anticipation of at least a couple of common behavioral interview questions, you should:

  • Practice your responses to the top behavioral interview questions ahead of time. Interviewers tend to ask similar questions, so be prepared with anecdotes that are relevant to the situations and questions outlined above. 
  • Prepare job-specific examples. Not every experience you’ve had will be directly relevant to the job for which you’re interviewing. Try to think of examples that show you’re perfect for the open position.
  • Take cues from the job description. One way to ensure you answer situational interview questions to the best of your ability is to craft your responses based on the job description. If the company is looking for someone who can handle a high-stress environment, prepare answers surrounding other stressful situations you’ve successfully managed.
  • Take your time when responding to tough interview questions. It’s natural to be a little nervous. Take a deep breath before giving your answer, and take a moment to get your thoughts together.
  • Focus on the positive. Behavioral interview questions often ask about how you handle failure or other difficult situations. However, you shouldn’t dwell on the negatives. Quickly describe the problem then move on to how you found a solution and helped your organization.

Respond to Situational Interview Questions Flawlessly

Now that you know how to prepare for a behavioral interview, you can impress the next interviewer you sit with. These days, it’s rare to go into an interview and not face situational interview questions. Use the tips we’ve provided to position yourself as the ideal candidate.

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