During your interview- you will likely face far more behavioral interview questions than traditional questions. The unique aspect of this kind of interview question is that they are not based on concrete attributes- so there are many ways to answer the abstract concept. Of course- this also makes it more difficult to give a strong answer. These tips are designed to help you prepare when you are going into a job interview.
The purpose of behavioral questions is to gain insight into your mindset- including your priorities and values in the workplace. If you recognize this- you can spend time thinking about what aspects the interviewer is likely looking for- which will allow you to incorporate these elements into your answer.
When interviewing- you may be asked- 'Tell me about a time when you made a suggestion to improve the quality/quantity of the work in your last organization.' You may also be asked this question in broader terms such as- 'How have you made a difference in the workplace?' or 'Have you ever improved the efficiency of the work being done around you?' There are many different aspects of yourself that these questions reveal to interviewers. They may be trying to discover if you are able to think for yourself- whether you are comfortable making suggestions- whether the ideas you have are valid and lead to genuine improvement- or a combination of these aspects. It is up to you to decide what angle the interviewer is asking about from the context and form your answer accordingly.
How to Answer the 'Tell Me About a Time When You Made a Suggestion to Improve the Quality/Quantity of the Work in Your Last Organization' Behavioral Interview Question
Use the STAR Method. You should incorporate the STAR method into every behavioral interview question you answer. STAR stands for these steps:
- ST – Situation or task. To begin, describe the problem you faced or the situation you were in. For this particular question, you will describe an issue that you were able to improve with your suggestion.
- A – Action. Next, describe the action you took in response to the situation or problem. In this situation, the action you take will likely be making the suggestion, but it could potentially be doing research or running tests as well. For the most part, this part of your answer will be brief, but it is still important to include.
- R – Results. Most importantly, describe the results of the actions you took. This is especially important for this question, which is essentially asking you about the results. You described the situation beforehand, so finish by comparing that to the state after your improvements were made.
The STAR method is designed to guarantee that your answer has structure and includes everything the interviewer is looking for. Do not be afraid to follow this method exactly for each of the behavioral interview questions you are asked.
Be as Specific as Possible. Remember that the interviewer is likely most interested in the results of your suggestion. It can tricky, but the best answers will have concrete, quantifiable evidence of the change that was made. If efficiency was increased by a certain percentage or you saved the organization a certain amount of money each month, you should absolutely include these numbers. If the nature of the improvement you made does not lend itself to hard numbers, you can still show the results in a concrete manner. Describe the specific way it made doing the work simpler for each employee. You cannot be too specific, so include as many details as you can.
Always Have an Answer. Not everyone has the opportunity to make a suggestion that saves a company thousands or completely revolutionizes the way the organization functions. However, even without these kinds of contributions, you can always find some way you made an improvement. Simply saying that you have not made such a suggestion will only hurt your chances of being hired. It is acceptable if your contribution was small, but you should describe the actual change it made. Small improvements in efficiency can still make a big difference over time.
Sample 'Tell Me About a Time When You Made a Suggestion to Improve the Quality/Quantity of the Work in Your Last Organization' STAR Interview Answer
In the last organization that I was a part of, the leadership team was always making changes in an effort to improve the quality of the service we provided, but it didn't seem like the changes stuck around for very long. There was no follow up and the employees would just revert back to doing things how they originally were. My suggestion was to implement a change binder to keep track of these plans, which would make it easy to check on which ones worked and which didn't, and help ensure the changes were implemented each week. With the binder, the results were clearer, and the more successful adjustments became standard policy that all employees followed.
Use these tips to give a great answer to your behavioral interview questions. Preparing in advance makes all the difference, so be sure you enter your interview ready.