Behavioral interview

Behavioral interview

The behavioral interview is a structured interview that asks to candidates for a job, about facts or incidents from their past that could be relevant to the job they want to achieve. People who use this type of interview assume that the best way to see the future behavior of a person is analyzing his behavior in the past.

The behavioral interview has become a primary tool for many people. The main reason for its use has been that the other traditional methods have proved to be poor indicators when hiring an employee. The fact to assume that past behavior predicts future behavior avoids having to judge the personalities of the candidates. John Madigam, vice president of human resources of The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. explains that a behavioral interview is one of the most efficient methods to hire an employee because, it reveals a pattern of behavior, this means that the facts raised in the job interview will demonstrate how a person face that situation, and it will give a better sense about the person and their performance in the job.

Currently, there are a large number of companies and organizations that use this kind of interview. So, if you are looking for a better job, it is advisable to be prepared. Below, you will find some important tips to face a behavioral interview.

Why is important to be prepared for a behavioral interview?

As we said earlier, if you aspire to get a better job, pass this type of interview will be a great opportunity to reach your goal.

  • Remember that if you are only prepared for traditional interviews, you will have few opportunities to reach the job.
  • If the interviewer has not much experience, you can surprise him with behavioral answers.
  • In this kind of interview, you will be able to talk about your skills and your job-past-related experienced to the job, it might be an advantage because, you can take even your most insignificant experiences and relate them with the job that you are applying.

Some tips before the interview

If you already know that the behavioral interviews are usual in the company where you want to work, these tips can be very helpful for you.

  • One of the most important steps is to consider the job description. This will help you gather all your job-related experiences.
  • Keep in mind what skills are listed as qualification for the job. This will help you to gather not only your current, but also your past skills.
  • Do not make up experiences and skills you never had because, it can play against you at the moment to prove those abilities in the job.
  • It is also advisable to be quiet, and think that all skills and experiences you have had in the past are enough to get the job.

Some tips when answering the questions

  • During the interview, listen carefully all the questions.
  • When the interviewer asks the questions, be quiet and internally note what kind of competencies is seeking, take your time and answer clearly.
  • It is advisable to answer the questions describing recent situations and experiences.
  • When you are describing your experiences, remember to detail your behavior and the actions you took. If you solved the situation, take your time and answer clearly, but if you do not solve it, explain which were your mistakes and the actions you should have done.
  • It is also advisable to end your answer describing the results of the situation.
  • If you do not understand some question, ask for clarification. This will avoid misunderstandings at the time to answer.

Another important tip to keep in mind is use the STAR method that will help you to convey specific situations.

The following table shows the STAR method:

S T A R
Situation Use Task Action Result
Specific details about a situation Tell what led to the situation Detail your behavior or the actions you took to resolve an specific situation Share the outcome or the results of the situation

Whenever you can, try to quantify your results because, it will illustrate the level of responsibility you had in the action. For example:

  • I helped to save animals
  • I helped to save 3 cats, 6 dogs and 2 horses.
  • I though employees first aid.
  • I though 10 engineers and 5 lawyers first aid.

You can see that the second sentence shows major responsibility than the first.