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How to Figure Out the Best Answers for Behavior Type Interview Questions

written by: Sheila Robinson•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 8/21/2010

Interviewing for a job can be a stressful and exciting experience. Some employers conduct behavior interviews to help them find the best candidates. These involve specific types of questions. What are the best answers for behavior type interview questions? Find the answers here.

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    Why Do Employers Use Behavior Interviews?

    You can be successful in behavior interviews. Behavior interviews are conducted by employers to get an insight on how a potential employee may act in the job based on how they handled things in other jobs and circumstances. It is useful to help employers make better hiring decisions based on a person’s actions and behaviors rather than purely a personal impression that can sometimes be misleading. Interviewers can also concentrate better on questions related to areas that are important to the employee’s success in that company or organization.

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    What Is a Behavior Interview Like?

    When you are being interviewed, remember that you will be asked questions on how you have behaved in a previous job or situation. Unlike a traditional interview, you will not get the chance to embellish on any topics you may like to focus on. Instead, the interviewer will ask questions on specific events and will probe for details. They will also most likely be taking notes throughout your interview.

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    What Are the Best Answers for Behavior Type Interview Questions?

    To come up with the best answers for potential behavior interview questions, think about situations that show positive actions or behaviors, especially those that involve work experience, college coursework, teamwork, leadership, and planning. Next, prepare short responses for each situation so you can be ready to give quick responses. Do not generalize and avoid being vague. Each story should have a beginning, middle, and an end without embellishing on too many details. The outcomes described should always reflect you in a positive light.

    The interviewer may ask questions about situations similar to the job you're applying for. They may ask something like the following:

    • Describe a major problem you have faced and how you dealt with it.
    • Give an example of when you had to work with your hands to accomplish a project or task.
    • Tell me about a time when you had to make a quick decision on the job, perhaps without any policy to guide you.
    • Describe a situation where you had to discipline a staff member.
    • Tell me about a time when you had to change your work behavior in order to adjust to a coworker’s personality.

    Questions like these usually will lead to a follow up question that tests for consistency in your answers. A few examples of these are:

    • What was the result?
    • What did you do?
    • What was your role?
    • How did you feel?
    • What did you say?
    • What were you thinking?
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    Other Interview Tips

    Success in obtaining a job is not just knowing the best answers for behavior type interview questions, but giving an overall positive impression. Use the following checklist as a guideline for interview preparation:

    • Arrive to the interview on time. If you are early, don’t go in more than 15 minutes before your appointment or it will make you look a bit anxious or desperate.
    • Do your homework. Always know the details about the job you are interviewing for. Understand the qualifications, along with the characteristics and personal traits required for the position.
    • Dress appropriately and have a good groomed appearance.
    • When you are introduced to the interviewer, give them a firm handshake.
    • During the interview, maintain good eye contact.
    • Communicate with the interviewer with confidence while using a variety of tones in your voice.
    • Be an active listener, always lean in toward the interviewer.
    • Use good posture and avoid slouching or shifting in your seat.

    Using these tips will help you come up with the best answers for behavior type interview questions at your next job interview.