The key to answering behavioral questions during a job interview is to face them without fear and answer them with confidence and poise. Once you know the pattern of these questions, you can respond appropriately to them while avoiding blunders and pitfalls.
Simply explained; behavioral questions are worded in a manner as to invoke a response from the candidate that gives the interviewer a good idea regarding how he will behave under tricky situations. In fact; these questions are designed to put you, the candidate, under stress. Every individual reacts differently to stress, and some might even annoy or irritate coworkers creating disharmony in the workplace. Employers want to minimize such friction and headaches; hence they ask a series of behavioral questions to assess how an employee will act under stressful situations. No organization wants a clown on their payrolls, neither does a company need employees who are likely to misbehave or give a bad name to the entire company with their bad behavior. This is precisely why behavioral interview questions are asked.
Behavioral questions are always unrelated to what you have put in the resume. They are meant for assessing how you:
Here, we shall present the top 40 behavioral questions, situations and their possible answers. Naturally, these answers can only be used as basic guidelines. You will need to improvise and come up with your own answers. However, you can certainly use them to get an idea as to how to respond when faced with similar questions during the interview.
1) The biggest mistake you made and what did you learn from it? The reason behind this question is that the interviewer is trying to judge if you can admit to mistakes and whether you learn from them. Additionally he wants to know if you are humble enough to accept mistakes or whether you have the tendency to blame others for them. You can tell the interviewer things that you have learned from your past mistakes in your previous job. Examples include: when you disagreed with your manager and went over him to higher authority that agreed with you but in turn affected your relationship with your direct supervisor.
2) Have you worked with someone you did not like and was difficult to get along with?
The interviewer wants to know how you diffuse tension and how well can you work with others. You can come up with a situation where in a manager was controlling and difficult but you won him over by taking an interest in his hobbies etc or befriended him etc. Here, you may mention that even though, working with the person whom you did not like was stressing, so you decided to work towards solving the issue. You aimed at understanding the person and knowing what made him behave this way. You did this through engaging in a project that involved working close with this colleague, by the end of it; you had managed to understand the person and worked towards building a positive relationship. You may also mention that you understood that one might be wrong and then, you worked towards building on strengths rather than concentrating on weaknesses.
3) Have you worked with a coworker who was not shouldering fair share of the workload? Here, you may mention coworkers who were habitually late, or made several mistakes leading to rework or about coworkers who took several personal calls while on duty etc. You may also mention colleagues who were overly chatty or took up extra long coffee breaks or lunch hours. Be sure not to relate overly personal details but explain how you got involved and brought about a positive outcome in their behavior.
4) Have you faced dishonesty in the workplace, if yes, how did you deal with it? Here, the company does not expect you to be a policeman, but only expects you to NOT look away while there is blatant dishonesty going on in the workplace. An example could be when a colleague has purposely delayed a customer’s order just to get even with him. Any act of dishonesty that reflects badly on you or your team or the Company must be pointed out to the higher management.
5) What are the qualities you look for in your immediate boss/supervisor? The answer to this question should basically describe all the qualities that a good leader should possess: clear communication, treats employees with respect, is available when needed, allows you to work with minimal supervision, yet assists you in removing roadblocks that, in turn, increase your productivity etc.
6) The title of the book you read last–
This question is generally asked to get an insight into your reading habits: whether you read for education or entertainment, regarding your interests or how you stay current in the latest trends in your field etc. When giving an answer to this kind of question, it is important to think about the kind of the job being interviewed. Giving a title which seems too aloof will reflect wrongly. The book name given should also not be offensive in any way to avoid misinformation and misjudgment. The interviewee also needs to give a title which he or she is comfortable giving a summary.”Last read” in this context does not necessarily mean the book that was read last week, month or year, it basically means the one which interested the interviewee, is related to the job in question and can easily be described if asked to do so.
7) What steps do you take to improve yourself? The answers to this could include facts like you are learning a foreign language or undergoing professional certifications to improve yourself, or taking courses to learn more about computer/programming or pursuing a degree side by side etc.
8) What are your hobbies/interests outside work?
This helps the interviewer get an idea whether you lead a balanced life or whether you are too focused to have hobbies and outside interests and also regarding the kind of person you are. Remember here: the more outside commitments you have, the less attractive you’d look to potential employers. “Watching Television” or “playing PC games” may distract the employer’ attention. Reading good books (you may name a few books related to your subject) will be a good answer. Though, it would be suspicious if you say that your hobbies are studying financial market or working overtime for free.
9) What motivates you?
This question is known to render many candidates speechless. It is asked to get an idea as to “why you do what you do”. High achievers naturally would answer this question using sentences like: “I like to solve complex problems”, or “I like to teach and mentor youngsters” or “I like to make efforts to help improve the lives of people” etc. Do not use factors like money, rewards, contests etc as these are non-lasting and known to produce only a short burst of efforts. Here, you should mention your goal/vision/passion for life. Be honest yet intelligent, what you say and describe.
10) Why did you choose your major in college? This helps ascertain whether you have always known what you wanted in life, or whether you simply chose the path of minimal resistance. The question also helps the interviewer note if you have a true passion for your field. Here, you might want to point out things like you are true to your craft and continually learning by taking nighttime classes or earning a professional certification etc. This will help them know that you have a true passion for the field.
11) Explain how you handle a situation where at the workplace you met with resistance while introducing a new idea or policy?
To implement new idea or policy it is usually difficult, to implement idea new at the work center, I will provide all the supportive evidence or proof which can prove that the implementation of new idea would be beneficial.
12) Explain what will be your reaction if a project you had been working on suddenly changed or the deadline had been changed?
if a project I have been working on suddenly changes or the deadline is changed my first reaction would be
13) Explain what if you realize at deadline time that a report you wrote to your supervisor is not to the par?
If I realize that at deadline time a report that I wrote to my supervisor is not to the par, my first reaction would be to inform my supervisor or boss. Also, I will see if there is any chance of rectifying the error, and if not I will evaluate the cause behind the error.
14) Explain how would you deal with a co-worker at work with whom you are not able to build a successful working relationship?
To deal with a co-worker at work with whom I am not able to build a successful working relationship, my approach would be
15) How would you deal with the work that is criticized by your boss or supervisor?
In a situation like this remind yourself that no one is always perfect. But the important thing is to learn with such situations and make sure the mistake does not happen over again.
16) Explain what you will do when work comes to a standstill because your colleagues and team leads are not present to answer a few important questions?
In a condition where my work comes to a standstill because my colleagues and team leads are not present to answer a few important questions. I will adopt following approaches.
17) Being an HR manager what would you do if your team members are leaving the company in alarming ratio?
18) Explain what would you do if you are not hired for an internal position within your company?
If I am not hired for an internal position within my company, I am committed to the company and its progress. If I am selected, I will work with and support whoever might get selected. Also, I will keep looking for the position in this field that suits my experience and goals.
19) Explain what if your client ask to work on a project outside the specialization?
If you or your colleagues don’t have skill, who can work on a project that your client demanded it’s better to deny by telling that the project requires expertise, and you don’t have the bandwidth. To give a good impression to your client, you can even offer your client to help him/her find someone to do this work.
20) Explain how you prioritize work when everything is a priority?
When everything is priority, you could use the following approach
21) Explain how can you present complex task or project into simplified way?
To present complex task or project into simplified way, you need to follow the following steps
22) Explain how can you present project presentations for clients and executives?
You can present project presentations for clients and executives in the following manner
23) Mention what are the emotional intelligence or EQ is commonly split into?
Emotional Intelligence is commonly defined into five traits
24) Why EQ question should be asked in an interview?
EQ question should be asked in interview to check if
25) Why EQ or emotional intelligence is related to a person’s thinking or working ability?
All information to the brain propagates through our senses, and when this information is stressful or emotional, our instinct take over and we lose the ability to act or react. Also, our memory is strongly linked to emotion. By staying connected to the emotional part of the brain, persons thinking capability and decision-making ability enhances. This is why EQ is related to the person’s thinking or working ability
26) For which of this option this statement is applicable – “Positive affirmations are effective in boosting self-esteem”?
It is true for (b)
27) Mention what are the mistakes that emotionally intelligent people should never make?
Five mistakes that emotionally intelligent people should never make are
29) Mention what are the characteristics of Emotionally Intelligent people?
The characteristics of emotionally intelligent people are
30) List out the traits of high EQ for Social Expertness?
For social expertness, the traits of high EQ should have
31) Mention what are some strategies you can employ to develop your self-control?
Strategies you can employ to develop your self-control are
32) Why non-verbal communication matter when it comes to EQ or emotional intelligence?
Non-verbal communication matters because it plays five major roles.
33) Explain how emotional awareness strengthens nonverbal communication?
34) List out the tips to improve the nonverbal communication?
To improve the nonverbal communication, you can follow the following tips
35) Explain how people with better EQ deal with difficult people?
People with better EQ, they would deal with difficult people in following ways
36) Mention what are the two factors that may be responsible for resistance to change?
The two factors that may be responsible for resistance to change may be
37) Explain what is personal competence is about?
Personal competence is about
38) Mention what does a good model to build EQ in the workplace includes?
A good model to build EQ in the workplace includes
39) Explain what ways you can successfully resolve a conflict?
To resolve the conflict successfully you can follow the following tips
40) Explain what is empathy in terms of EQ?
In terms of empathy is the ability to understand how other perceive situations, It includes knowing how others feel about a particular set of circumstances or events.
Once you have made it to the interview stage, it is mainly due to the fact that you are qualified and already have the skills that employers are looking for. What they are trying to determine is who the best candidate is, and the best naturally is someone who seems responsible, trustworthy and personable. Behavioral questions help the hiring manager reveal these traits and also help them decide whether to offer the job to you or someone else.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, Master isolated images, David Castillo Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net