Handle behavioral interviews with confidence. Read through typical behavior-based interview questions and sample interview answers. Prepare your own winning answers.
Frequently required workplace behaviors include teamwork, leadership and your ability to negotiate. Behavioral or competency-based interviews will include questions that look for evidence of these behaviors.
Be ready for behavior-based questions that explore these core competencies.
Describe a time that you demonstrated the ability to be an effective team member.
This behavioral interview question is looking at your ability to build relationships and contribute to team success.
In your interview answer show how you worked effectively with the team, put team goals ahead of your own goals and made a valued contribution to the team output. For example:
"I was transferred to a new department and a new team at my last company. The team members were not welcoming and displayed this by not including me in discussions and communications.
I asked each team member to meet individually and informally with me to discuss their expectations of me as part of their team. I was able to explain that I understood their reluctance to trust and accept me straight off but that I wanted to contribute positively.
We discussed team objectives, individual roles and working styles and started to develop a rapport with each other. I made sure that I asked for their advice and feedback initially and gradually I earned their trust.
The team learned to be more flexible in their approach to new staff members and I learned that one has to earn trust and acceptance. Our team works cohesively towards its goals now."
Your behavioral example should be structured to demonstrate what the situation was, the actions you took and the outcome. You can find out more about providing good behavioral examples at The Behavioral Interview
Expect interview questions that explore your leadership skills in behavioral interviews.
Tell me how you set the goals for your department and gained commitment to them.
The interviewer wants to know how you lead through goals, vision and values.
In your interview answer show how you use appropriate methods to guide staff towards goal accomplishment. Demonstrate your ability to set goals and influence your staff to achieve them. For example:
"I needed to set the departmental objectives for the next six months.
I looked at the company's vision and goals for the next two years to decide which activities and tasks my department should concentrate on. I clearly communicated the relationship between our department goals and the company's goals to my staff. I explained which activities would result in achieving these goals.
The staff really benefited from having a clear idea of the company vision and how we could contribute to achieving this. Understanding the big picture meant they were able to see how each of them were an essential part of the company's success and this motivated them towards goal attainment."
Negotiation skills are required in a wide range of jobs.
Describe a situation when you negotiated with others in your organization to reach agreement.
The interviewer is exploring your ability to communicate information or alternatives in a manner that gains agreement and acceptance.
In your interview answer show how you are able to understand the position of others, present alternatives and reach an agreement that is positive for both parties. For example:
"My manager presented me with an unreasonable deadline to complete a project.
I asked him how he had determined the deadline. He said that it was based on his deadline to present the project to the CEO. I outlined every step that needed to be taken to complete the project and how long each step would realistically take.
We discussed possible ways of reducing these time frames. I suggested allocating more resources to the project. He asked me to put together a project proposal that covered what we had discussed and he would use this to negotiate with the CEO for a more realistic time line.
We were able to settle on an achievable plan that worked for both of us."
Find sample behavioral questions and answers for other core competencies in the table below.
Use the sample answers for questions that come up time and again in behavioral interviews to help formulate your own persuasive behavioral examples.
View the 12 Core Competencies identified as critical for job success. Different jobs require specific behaviors but these 12 core competencies are required for proper job performance in most career fields.
Prepare for common interview questions. Use the sample interview answers at job interview questions to help you.
Top 10 Interview Questions to expect in most job interview situations.