During the job application process- interviewers often turn to behavioral interview questions- such as- 'Give me an example of how you have motivated others' to determine exactly how you will react in real-life- on-the-job situations. That's because it's been proven that past reactions to high-stress situations on the job are good indicators of how you will react in the future.
These questions give you a unique opportunity to really sell your skills in concrete situations. Whereas traditional interview questions encourage you to answer with specific facts like your GPA- work history or volunteer experience- behavioral interview questions allow you to highlight the times that you have been forced to think outside the box or to solve a complicated problem on the job. These questions illustrate how your behavior is beneficial to the company and how you are the best candidate for the job.
When it comes to the question- 'How have you motivated others?' interviewers want to know how you work with different personalities- and how you've motivated each team member to be personally invested in the project or job outside of just a paycheck. They want to see how you learn from experience and how you address challenges that are common to the job.
Take the time to practice answering behavioral questions- such as the one listed above- in order to prepare yourself answer them correctly during your interview.
How to Answer the Question
Pick the Right Success Stories.
You may have a great success story from when you worked at the movie theater in high school- but is there something more relevant to the job you are applying for that will give you a more successful answer? For example- if you're applying to work as a call center manager- have you held another job where you've worked in an office as a manager Â— and is there a success story from that job you can use?
Before your interview- do some company research to determine exactly what the organization values- and model your success stories to match those values.
Rather than coming up with a success story for each type of behavioral interview question- tailor your answers to each interview you attend. Change your stories based on the job you are applying for- and make them relevant to the interviewer if you know what they are interested in. Research the job description and focus on the soft skills that are mentioned. Use success stories that include these skills.
Define What the Interviewer Wants to Know.
Although you've been asked a question about your past work experience- the interviewer isn't interested in the details of your job or the specific problems you had with those you worked with. What they really want to know is how you handle challenges- particularly those with employees who are less than motivated to do their job. Focus on getting to the point of your story rather than dwelling on the details the interviewer may not be interested in. Always keep your answer to 1-2 minutes long.
Don't Neglect the Finish.
The meat of your story should house the important aspects that you want to share with the interviewer- but never underestimate the importance of a good- solid finish. Don't start to mumble or let your voice trail off when the interviewer wants to see confidence throughout the entire answer. A strong finish comes from practicing these questions before the interview so you are confident about what you are going to say.
Don't be afraid of a pause or a little bit of silence once your question is answered.
Many applicants are tempted to fill silence to avoid an awkward pause- but you should always finish your question strong and give the interviewer a chance to pick the conversation back up.
Utilize the STAR Method.
The STAR method is ideal when answering behavioral interview questions because it allows you to pinpoint a specific problem and a concrete example of how it was fixed. STAR stands for:
- Situation or Task
When using the STAR method to answer a behavioral question, first identify the problem or situation. Then show the action you used to achieve the result you wanted – in this case, motivating others.
When motivating others, I tailor my responses to their personal strengths and capabilities. For example, at my last job, we had a team member that was never fully invested in the project. In order to motivate him, I made a conscious effort to stop by his desk every morning. I complimented him on the things he had done on the project and pointed out the skills I noticed he had that were essential to what we were working on. Over a period of a week or two, he started voicing his opinion and giving us original, creative ideas during every staff meeting. He felt valued and like he had something to offer, and he was no longer afraid to show it because he knew others felt the same way.
As with any part of a successful interview, answering behavioral questions requires practice, practice, practice. Taking the extra time to review your answers can make all the difference between you and the competition."