Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

Common behavioral interview questions include those that explore the ability to

  • problem solve
  • use your initiative
  • make sound decisions using reliable judgment

These behaviors are considered key to successful performance in a wide range of jobs. Expect to be assessed on these core competencies or behaviors in your job interview.

Interviewer shaking hands with job candidate and words "Typical behavioral interview questions & answers"

Prepare for your behavioral interview, using the sample behavioral answers provided to develop your own winning responses.

Top Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

Problem solving is a frequently required workplace competency whether the employer is exploring management competencies, sales competencies, customer service competencies or administrative competencies.

Describe a difficult problem you had to sort out in your last job

This behavior interview question is designed to explore your ability to identify, analyze and solve problems. Show how you are able to gather and organize the necessary information and identify the best solution.

Here is a sample behavioral interview answer that you can use as a guide to develop your own good answer.

"We were getting a lot of complaints about late deliveries". (Situation)

"I met with the staff involved in the customer delivery department and discovered that the problem seemed to be with the stock coming through on time.

I investigated and found that requests for new inventory were not  processed fast enough. The backlog was in the orders department as they were not following up adequately with the suppliers. A system for regular follow-up was quickly implemented." (Action)

"This sorted out the stock problems and the delivery staff were able to meet their deadlines." (Result)

In this behavioral interview answer the STAR method is used. Find out more about the STAR method.

Describe a new idea or suggestion that you made to your supervisor recently

The ability to use your initiative is often explored during competency-based interviewing. The interviewer wants to know if you are proactive and able to generate workable ideas. Show how you are a self-starter who will take action beyond what is asked of you.

"I work in orders and the company was launching a new product. The sales team had in-depth training on it but we had none."(Situation)

"I suggested that the orders department should also receive the training so that we would understand what was being ordered and be able to answer any questions if necessary. It was agreed we would all undergo a short version of the training." (Action)

"This meant that we could deal professionally with the orders. It also motivated us as we felt part of the launch team." (Result)

Tell me when you had to use your judgment to make a tough decision in your previous job

Judgment is another essential behavioral competency in the workplace. The interviewer is exploring your ability to make logical decisions and take action. Show how you consider all the relevant facts, weigh up the alternatives and commit to the most appropriate action.

"I was responsible for ordering office supplies for the company." (Situation)

"The company always ordered a month's supply at a time to keep inventory costs low. I had to decide whether to keep doing this or buy six month's supply and get a discount for ordering such a big volume and escape possible future price increases. I did some research and worked out we could reduce our costs by buying for six months, especially since the amount we used remained practically unchanged month on month." (Action)

"I was right, the prices went up by 10% during those six months."  (Result)

Remember that these are sample interview answers that can be used to help you formulate your own examples from your previous jobs or other contexts when answering behavioral interview questions like these.

Simple steps on how to approach behavioral interview questions.

Problem-solving behavioral interview questions

Prepare for Common Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

Find good behavioral interview answers to common interview behavioral questions that explore the following core competencies and behaviors.













Competency Based Interview Questions

Go to these competency based interview questions to view sample answers to behavioral-based interview questions that explore your

Prepare for these frequently asked situational interview questions.

Behavioral Interview Question Database

You can find a complete list of interview behavioral questions with great behavioral interview answers at the Behavioral Interview Question Database

The 12 core competencies around which the majority of behavioral or competency based interview questions are asked.

To view behavioral interview questions asked in specific job interviews from accounting to teaching go to the job interview guide

What is the STAR Method when Interviewing?

Behavioral Interviews - "What is the STAR method" description

Behavioral Job Interview Questions for core competencies:

Stress Tolerance

Analytical Skills


Collaboration Skills

Behavioral Interview Tips

Find out the behaviors relevant to the job you are interviewing for. Go to behavioral interview tips for a list of job-related behaviors for different positions.

Have convincing answers ready for the behavioral interview questions you are sure to face in your job interview.

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