Answers to Behavioral
Interview Questions - the 9 key job behaviors

All answers to behavioral interview questions should be structured around 3 components. The situation or task in which you displayed the behavior in question, the actions you took and the results of these actions. This is known as the STAR method.

Signpost with Questions and Answers on signs

What is the star method?

The interviewer is asking you to provide a real-life example of how you have previously used or demonstrated the required job behavior or competency.

Situation (S)

The situation is the background or context in which you took action.

Task (T)

This is the task or responsibility you were involved in

Actions (A)

The actions are what the candidates did or said in response to the the situation and how they did it. Actions commonly include steps taken to complete a task or project, solving a problem or overcoming a challenge, making a decision and interacting with managers and customers.

Results (R)

The results are the effects or outcomes of the candidates actions. The changes, consequences and differences the actions made and if the actions were effective and appropriate.

Graphic of yellow stars on blue background with text describing how to use the STAR interview method

Sample Answers to Behavioral Interview Questions -  9 standard job-related behaviors

Go through the list of standard behaviors required for successful job performance in a wide range of job categories.

Know what the interviewer is looking for in answers to behavioral questions that explore the competency or behavior. Use the answer guidelines to determine appropriate past situations where you have used or demonstrated the behavior.

Prepare and structure your behavioral example to provide the information the interviewer wants.

1. Planning and Organizing

The examples you present in answers to behavioral interview questions that determine your ability to plan and organize should include the following actions.

  • establishing clear and realistic objectives
  • scheduling activities and time parameters to get the job done
  • setting priorities
  • knowing which resources are needed and making the best use of these
  • monitoring your progress and adjusting your activity where necessary

Sample Behavioral Interview Answer

2. Decision Making

Your answers to behavioral interview questions about using your judgment and making decisions should include the following steps in the decision making process.

  • gathering the necessary information and facts
  • using this information to work out possible courses of action to take
  • considering alternative courses of action
  • considering the implications and consequences of different courses of action
  • carrying out the most appropriate course of action

Involving the necessary stake-holders in the decision-making process is another important aspect of decision-making.

Sample Behavioral Interview Answer

3. Problem Solving

Use past examples that demonstrate the following key elements to successful  problem analysis and problem solving.

  • finding and gathering all the relevant information from the right sources
  • organizing and sorting the information to identify the reasons for the problem
  • coming up with possible solutions to the problem

Sample Behavioral Interview Answer

4. Adaptability

Behavioral examples that you use in answers to behavioral interview questions that explore your adaptability should contain these elements.

  • adjusting your behavior, communication style and your approach to match changing tasks, work demands or different people
  • adjusting priorities to meet new deadlines and information
  • adjusting activities and attitude to work effectively in a new environment
  • willing to try new approaches for changed situations and be flexible
  • attempting to understand and embrace change positively

Sample Behavioral Interview Answer

5. Initiative

Your choice of behavioral examples to demonstrate the use of initiative should show you to be a person who is 

  • able to be proactive and seek out new opportunities
  • able to capitalize on opportunities and come up with new ideas
  • able to solve problems without being asked
  • able to come up with new ways to apply existing information and knowledge
  • able to anticipate problems and challenges rather than just reacting to them
  • able to work independently and who is willing to look for ways to improve oneself and one's work environment

Sample Behavioral Interview Answer

6. Teamwork

Answers to behavioral interview questions that explore your
ability to work as part of a team should focus on examples that show the following.

  • how you exchange information freely and openly and offer information and ideas to other team members
  • how you are able to listen to and acknowledge the input of others
  • your use of empathy in dealing with team members
  • willing to ask for and encourage feedback and help
  • able to support team actions and decisions and put the team objectives ahead of your own goals

Sample Behavioral Interview Answer

7. Work Standards and Accountability

Examples of past behavior that indicate high work standards and taking responsibility for your performance should include these elements.

  • setting high goals and standards for performance
  • imposing standards of excellence on oneself
  • not being satisfied with average performance
  • assuming responsibility and accountability for one's own successful performance and work outputs

Sample Behavioral Interview Answer

8. Communication

Answers to behavioral interview questions that center on your communication skills require a behavioral example that demonstrates the following.

  • the ability to listen with empathy and respect
  • able to avoid interrupting and willing to hear the person out
  • receiving the right message by asking appropriate questions and clarifying details
  • expressing oneself effectively and clearly
  • using the appropriate language and communication style to match the individual you are communicating with

Sample Behavioral Interview Answer

Communication Skills Interview Questions

9. Creativity

Creativity is not just about making music or art or coming up with a great advertising campaign. It is about generating new ideas, approaching tasks and processes differently, coming up with non-traditional solutions to problems.

It is a highly valued competency and employers are more and more aware of the need for creativity in their workforce in order to be competitive and successful.

Sample Behavioral Interview Answer

What does the interviewer want in behavioral interview answers?

The interviewer wants an actual example from your past. What he or she does not want in answers to behavioral interview questions are the following:

  • Vague responses - these include generalizations that do not provide a specific situation. Avoid using phrases such as "Most of the time...", Usually...", Sometimes..."
  • Opinions - the interviewer is not asking for your opinion. He or she wants a real-life, factual example of what you did in a certain situation. Avoid phrases such as "I believe...", "I think...", "In my opinion..."
  • Theoretical answers - these answers indicate what you would do rather than what you did do. Avoid phrases such as If I had ....", I would have...", "I might.."

Behavioral Interview Techniques

All Behavioral Questions and Answers

Behavioral Interview Tips

Prepare for standard job interview questions


Why should we hire you?


Can you tell me about yourself?


Why do you want to work here?

Common Job Interview Questions

Be well prepared for these type of behavioral interview questions in your job interview.

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