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How to answer Behavioral Interview Questions: 20 Best Tips


There is a basic trend that recruiters are adopting these days. The trend is in the questions that they ask. There is one pattern of questions that is called behavioral questions.

Theses questions are generally based on the past experience of the person. They are more open ended, in order to let the recruiters know more about the applicant.

This allows them to see if the quality of the skill that they are looking at the applicant exists or not.

Behavioral interview questionsA behavioral question is quite common and yet various. Questions like,

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Explain a crisis that you dealt with in your previous job profile.
  • Explain a situation where you led the team and so on.

There is nothing to be afraid of such questions, one just has to remain a little alert while answering it out.

Top Ways for Answering Behavioral Interview Questions:

1. Anticipate:

Carefully check the job profile and the description and try to anticipate the kind of questions they might put in front of you.

For instance, an applicant who has applied for a public relation manager’s job, there are higher chances that question related to crisis might be asked.

So an applicant should try to think and anticipate with respect to the job profile that he or she is applying in the organization.

2. Honest:

While they might not exactly be aware of your experience, do not forget that they have come across 10,000 candidates like you.

Any non genuine answer can be caught easily. Therefore, answer them honestly. Whatever the case may be, ensure it that you are honest enough. Honest answers are always appreciated by the recruiters.

3. Presence of mind:

There are chances that due to the lack of presence of mind, a wrong impression might just get settled on the employers. Avoid that.

Use your presence of mind while answering. In behavioral questions, even a single word that you utter is measured and analyzed in the minds of recruiters thus, do not do anything that will perceive as if you have zero level of common sense.

Keep yourself active and alert when it comes to use presence of mind.

4. Practice communication skills:

This is a highly important tip that one must take note too. Having an excellent communication skill can not only connect the recruiters with you, but also with the experience you are narrating.

If you are talking with great expressions and greater frequency, chances of selection is more. Try being completely loud and clear in what you are talking or narrating.

Let the words and voice of yours reflect that how confident you were then, while handling the situation and how confident you are now as well.

5. Patience:

Generally behavioral questions are not that pleasant, asking or narrating about the conflict that took place while you were doing your job is not pleasant in any way.

But, this is the part of your interview and hence one has to remain throughout. They might ask you many questions falling into various categories but, each question that is asked to you has to be answered with great authenticity, responsibility and most importantly calmness. By asking this they test your patience, so keep calm as much as you can.

6. Control nervousness:

control nervousness There is always a tinge of nervousness at the back of our mind while we are giving an interview and that is absolutely normal. But, what one has to ensure is that the nervous stays at the back.

Your shouldn’t overpower your speaking or writing skills. Even if you are nervous try not to think about it and attain a complete focus on the incident or experience that you are trying to narrate.

Nervousness can not only act as a barrier between the communication, but, it can also portray as if you are building up a story. Thus avoid being nervous.

7. Try to imagine:

As soon as you come across the question, be calm and try to imagine. There are also chances when they would prefer giving you a hypothetical situation and would ask you tell them that how would you deal with it.

In such cases imagination plays a very vital role. Unless and until you are not mentally stepping in the shoes that are provided to you, you cannot really answer to the best of your potential.

Therefore, whenever such questions are asked, take a moment and imagine the same at the back of your mind and then analyze your reaction towards it.

8. Review your past history:

There are times when we cannot recollect any suitable situation when we are asked about it on the spot.

For instance, question like – tell us about the greatest project that you have handled till date. Now you might not recollect it on the spot, but, then again, you have to answer them immediately.

In order to avoid such conditions, it is highly advisable for a candidate to review all his or her work, major turning points, projects a day before the interview. One can also sort it in mind so that whenever the question is asked, you can answer it aptly.

9. Try to put work experience in paragraphs:

This is slightly related to the previous point. While you are reviewing your past history of work, try putting them in small paragraphs in your mind.

Like, suppose your xyz project was the greatest one, then also think of two – four lines about the project, why it was great and how did you contributed to the same.

Put all these answers in a paragraph and then use the same thing while you encounter with any such question during the interview of yours by recruiters.

10. Describe a problem/situation:

Whenever you are asked a question related to that of a crisis, then describe the situation well, the problems that you faced, the options that were considered, the actions that you all took and finally what result came out of it.

This is because it helps in the creation of the background for recruiters to understand his exact problem which had occurred.

Talking only about the result or actions taken won’t be that effective because recruiters won’t feel connected to the same therefore be descriptive and start describing in a sequential form like we do when we are tending to tell a story.

11. Prepare a summary:

If you have got lots to tell, but it is becoming harder for you to remember then it is suggested that you prepare a summary of it. All the high points, low points, Projects and so on should be put in that summary.

Try rereading it again and again this will help you remember it. Instead of fumbling with dates, and project names it is better to practice a little more with the help of summary.

This will also make you feel confident and help you in identifying what to answer when a particular question is asked.

12. Describe the result:

Solution There is a purpose behind these questions that are asked to you. They are not just because they want to know rather because they want to identify if the person whose interview is being taken is eligible or not.

Thus, whether you are explaining about crisis, management, you as a leader, projects, ventures anything describe the end result aptly. They are not much interested in the situation that had occurred rather their concern lies in what did you do and how that helped in the given scenario by you.

13. Don’t bluff:

Even if you couldn’t recollect any answer, even if you don’t have any such incident happened earlier, even if you are unable to express, straightforwardly, you better say that you are unable to recollect or this never happened instead of cooking up an incident on your own for the sake of impressing.

Remember, bluffing might give you the job, but, if you do not have those skills, then it will become tough for you to survive and sustain the job.

Therefore, no matter how the dearth of the answer has never ever try to bluff your recruiters. It will give a bad impression if they cross question and catch you.

14. Detailing:

Whatever question is asked to you, pay extra attention towards its detailing. You have to answer in such a way that it would cover all the related details.

For example, if the question is asked regarding some project of yours and how did you lead, do mention about the number of people assigned under you. How did you decide the work, how did it go through different phases and lastly what result you came across. This detailing would help them to take note and analyze it carefully.

15. Positive approach:

There are times when unpleasant questions might be asked. In such cases, try to maintain a positive attitude.

Even if they ask you about a crisis, where you failed, be positive and tell them what you have learnt out of it. Ultimately what matters to them is what you have learnt.

Show them that you are delighted to share the experience with them and you are not at all hesitant in sharing. This also shows that how positive you are regarding your high as well as low points.

A positive employee is always welcomed into the organization, one who seeks every experience as a learning one.

16. Avoid too many details:

You might love to narrate everything about your greatest project, or the best leading experience or anything similar to it, but understand that, there is a purpose behind them asking these questions for you.

So, please ensure that while giving them the details you are carefully picking only that which is relevant to the subject.

Adding on unnecessary details would loosen up the level of their attentions which might lead to skipping of important things. Hence, avoiding saying irrelevant things. This also shows that you know how to talk sensibly and answer carefully.

17. Armed with facts:

While answering the behavioral questions, you must have noted down all important things about your past history regarding your professional life. It would become even more credible if you cater them with facts.

Facts like sales or goals should be added while you are narrating the experience. It brings credibility to what you are saying.

You can even add quotes quoted by your seniors as a part of the appreciation. This also states that how much important those things are for you and how serious you are actually taking it. If the success story is published somewhere, make sure to mention the same.

18. Showcase leadership:

leadership Organizations are mostly looking for people who can take up the lead and handle a group of people. They are constantly in hunt of individuals who knows how to be responsible and take up responsibilities.

If you have a background where you have handled a team of people, or where you were assigned a project and took up the charge as a leader then ensure that you are nicely highlighted the same and show leadership skills.

Your leadership quality might land you a job, since it is your plus point do not forget to highlight it .

19. Planning and organizational skills:

This is yet another quality that employers constantly seek in the candidate. So if you are applying for a managerial post, then do make mention of this.

In any behavioral question that is asked, try to highlight your planning and organizational skills in the same. Put your experience in such a way. This might again act as a plus point for you.

20. Understand the purpose:

As stated earlier, there is a purpose behind asking the behavioral questions to the candidate. Now, before jumping and answering to the same try to analyze quickly that what might be the purpose behind asking you a particular question.

Like, if they are asking you regarding the crisis that you handled earlier then understand that they wish to know how do you function under pressure, what strategies do you take up, how do you think about it and so on.

Once you analyze the purpose you can answer to the question accordingly. Your answer would then reflect exactly what they are looking for. Hence, before planning your answer analyze their question. This would make the question and your answer worthwhile for both the sides.

So these were several tips that you must go through and fit in your mind while you are going on an interview. Behavioral questions are quite common these days, one cannot escape.

They are actually the ones that stand a higher chance in selecting the employee amongst all other questions. So be prepared, don’t be nervous and take those questions as an opportunity to talk about yourself!