What is a Behavioral Interview?
A behavioral interview is a structured interview that is used to collect information about past behavior. Because past performance is a predictor of future behavior, a behavioral interview attempts to uncover your past performance by asking open-ended questions. Each question helps the interviewer learn about your past performance in a key skill area that is critical to success in the position for which you are interviewing. The interview will be conducted face-to-face whenever possible.
Using the STAR Technique
In a behavioral interview, the interviewer will ask questions about your past experiences. A useful way to prepare for this style of questioning is to use the STAR technique. The STAR technique is a way to frame the answers to each question in an organized manner that will give the interviewer the most information about your past experience. As you prepare to answer each question, consider organizing your response by answering each of the following components of the STAR technique:
What was the Situation in which you were involved?
What was the Task you needed to accomplish?
What Action(s) did you take?
What Results did you achieve?
What’s the best way to stay relaxed and calm during an interview? Be prepared. Here are some tips:
Research the business unit or department.
Become familiar with the products, services, structure, competitors, reputation, and any recent significant changes.
Review the job description to understand the skills required.
Do “research” on yourself as well.
Know why you want the job.
Review your resume.
Identify transferable skills, key accomplishments, work style, and personal and professional
strengths. Remind yourself of specific experiences that exemplify these skills and strengths.
Be able to express the unique marketable skills you have to offer.
Prepare a list of four or five questions about the department or position.
Get a good nights’ rest.
Know the exact place and time of the meeting.
Allow plenty of time to get to the interview and plan to arrive early.
Listen carefully, and feel free to ask for clarification before answering a question.
Take a moment to formulate your answers before you speak.
Project energy and enthusiasm. Be honest while focusing on communicating your professional achievements.
Bring extra resumes, a notepad, and a pen.
Be polite to everyone you meet at the interview.
Do not chew gum, swear, or use slang.
Thank the interviewer for their time. Within a day, send a written thank you note via e-mail or
If the interview is face-to-face:
Look your professional best.
Be conservative in your use of fragrance, cosmetics, and jewelry.
Make eye contact with the interviewer.
Be aware of the interviewer’s body language and other non-verbal cues.
Sample Behavioral Interview Questions
Need more help? Here’s a list of some sample behavioral interview questions*:
Tell me about a time when you were on a team, and one of the members wasn’t doing his or her share.
Tell me about a time when you felt a need to update your skills or knowledge in order to keep up with the changes in technology. How did you approach that?
Describe a time when a customer got angry with you. How did you react? How did you resolve the situation?
Please give me an example of a time when you took the initiative to improve a specific work process.
Give me an example of a time when you surpassed a customer’s expectations.
Tell me about a time when a customer requested special treatment that was out of the scope of normal procedures. What was the situation and how did you handle it?
Describe a time when you had to use logic and good judgement to solve a problem.
Tell me about a time when you had to cope with a stressful situation.
Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.
Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker understand a task. How did you assist them? What was the result?