The behavioral interview is uniquely challenging, but there is no reason to lose sleep in the days leading up to your interview as long as you commit to learning basic behavioral interview do’s and don’ts. In addition to becoming familiar with some of the top questions you are likely to be asked, it is also important to learn the best way to answer each question. Keep in mind that each question is intended to find out how you will react to certain situations based on how you have handled difficult experiences in the past. Unlike standard interview questions, behavioral interview questions are best answered in a story-type format.
With some detailed research, careful thought and plenty of practice, you can learn how to make your interview answers stand out from the competition. Increase your self-confidence and your chances of making a first-rate impression by taking note of these 11 crucial behavioral interview do’s and don’ts.
11 Crucial Behavioral Interview Do’s and Don’ts
DO familiarize yourself with behavioral interview questions. When you take the time to study the most commonly asked behavioral interview questions, you will inevitably feel calmer and more composed during your interview. In addition to committing the most frequently asked questions to memory, make sure you prepare for some less common questions as well. So in addition to preparing answers to questions like “How would you solve ____ problem?” you should also prepare to answer odd questions like “˜Who do you admire most and why?’
DO practice interviewing with someone else. Interviewing in front of a mirror can help you analyze your facial expressions, but it won’t give you a good idea of how it feels to answer questions under pressure. The most effective interview run-throughs are those done with someone else. Recruit a family member or close friend to carry out a few mock interviews with you so that you feel better prepared for the real deal.
DO study and master the S-T-A-R technique. When it comes to behavioral interviews, the S-T-A-R technique should become one of your favorite tools. Utilizing this well-known method will help you gather your thoughts and come up with impressive, interesting answers to some of the most difficult questions your interviewer will throw at you. The first step in the S-T-A-R technique is to come up with a Situation or Task that you were given in the recent past. Next, tell the interviewer what Action you took to resolve the situation, and discuss the end Result.
DO identify at least five to 10 examples of top behaviors you exhibited in past experiences, such a stellar communication or great conflict resolution skills. When you are brainstorming S-T-A-R scenarios, make sure you come up with at least five different examples that showcase some of your top skills or characteristics.
DO prepare answers that include both positive and negative scenarios. While your interviewer will want to see how you have achieved positive outcomes from negative situations, he or she will also want to see how you perform in positive scenarios. In addition to relating a time when you solved a difficult problem, prepare to discuss how you met or exceeded a positive sales or productivity goal as well.
DON’T use old examples. Your interviewer is not going to be interested in how you solved a problem as a kid. Instead, stick to examples from your recent work history.
DON’T get defensive if asked about a time when you failed. Remember, it is the interviewer’s job to analyze your responses to a wide variety of situations. If you are asked to talk about a time when you failed, don’t get defensive or try to make up excuses for your failure. Instead, own up to the failure and talk about how you turned the situation into a learning experience and used it to improve your future performance.
DON’T ever lie about your past experiences or how you handled them. Never fib about your past experiences in order to impress a hiring manager. Since behavioral interview questions are based on minute details, you will most likely get caught if you attempt to lie. Always answer honestly and genuinely.
DON’T answer particularly difficult questions without first taking a moment to collect your thoughts. There is no need to feel rushed into answering an unusually difficult question. The hiring manager will expect you to answer thoughtfully, so feel free to take a (brief) moment to collect your thoughts before responding.
DON’T try to lighten the mood with jokes and laughter. No matter how uncomfortable or nervous you may be, don’t try to lighten the mood with excessive laughter or jokes. It is ok to have a sense of humor and let your personality shine through, but always be tasteful and respectful.
DON’T chew gum. Never arrive at your interview with gum in your mouth. Spit it out before entering the building, and opt for a breath mint if your breath is less than fresh.