At this point, you should have a good understanding of what behavioral based interviewing is and why it is so important to practice before your job interview. You should also know that you need to always provide specific examples of past experiences when answering these types of questions, and the best way to structure and present those examples in your answers is by using the STAR method to clearly highlight the Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
Below are some common behavioral based interview questions that everyone should be able to answer for any type of job. I’ve also provided a few examples to help get you thinking about how to structure your answers.
- Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to change.
- Describe a situation when you had to deal with an angry or upset customer.
- Tell me about a goal you reached, and describe the process you took to achieve it.
- Describe a time when you failed to reach a goal or deadline.
- Describe a time you put in extra effort or changed your approach to reach a goal.
- Give me an example of a time you helped solve a problem.
- Tell me about a time you went above and beyond the call of duty to get a job done.
- Describe a moment when you were given feedback and how you implemented it.
- Tell me about a stressful situation, and walk me through how you handled that stress.
- Tell me about a time you had to communicate an idea to a coworker or supervisor.
- Describe a situation in which you worked as part of a team.
- Tell me about a time you led or motivated a team.
- Describe a time when you built a strong relationship with a client or customer.
- Tell me about a time you implemented a new or creative approach to a work task.
- Describe a situation in which you thought someone was treated unfairly.
- Tell me about a time when you were not recognized for something you achieved.
- Give me an example of a time when something was not communicated to you.
- Tell me about a time when you didn’t see eye to eye with a coworker or supervisor.
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
- Describe a situation in which you were able to persuade someone.
- Give me an example of a time when you overcame an objection or rejection.
Example #1: Describe a situation when you had to deal with an angry or upset customer.
(S) In my last role at A Fast Food Chain, I was working on the cash register during the evening dinner rush. (T) I had a customer who ordered her dinner and wanted to pay with a $100 bill. The place had a policy that we couldn’t accept any bills over $50. (A) I let the customer know that she would need to pay with a smaller bill or by some other method since I couldn’t accept the $100 bill. She became visibly upset, which was understandable considering that she had been waiting in line for so long, and she began cursing and yelling at me. Instead of shutting down or getting angry back at her, I remained calm and listened to her concerns, letting her know that I empathized. I apologized for any inconvenience the wait had caused and let her know that I would speak with my manager to see what I could do to help her out. (R) In the end, I was given permission by my manager to comp her meal since it was under $10 total. She was very thankful for my help, and with my actions, I was able to get the line moving quickly again. The customer even came back the next day to apologize to me and to let my manager know how pleasant and accommodating I was. I know this is the kind of behavior that is necessary when dealing with angry or upset customers, and I know it’s something I will be able to do well at in this position.
Example #2: Describe a time when you failed to reach a goal or deadline.
I believe that failure to meet a deadline is usually the result of not planning properly. (S) For example, in my previous role, I was working as part of a team dedicated to creating a proposal for a new campaign. We were working on a tight deadline, so the team split the project into several parts. (T) I was tasked with researching the target audience and analyzing what kinds of social media they were most actively using. This first step was especially important so that my team could work on their tasks, and I assumed I could get this completed in two days. (A) After doing my research and analysis for a day, I realized that I was going to need more time to sufficiently pull the data we needed from all the appropriate sources. I also had other projects on my plate, and I realized I hadn’t planned accordingly. (R) As a result, my teammates had to push back their assigned tasks. Luckily, we were still able to get the proposal finished on time. I learned that it is important, especially when working as part of a team, to never assume I can get something done without first recognizing my entire workload, prioritizing tasks, and thinking ahead. This is a skill I have mastered, and I know I’ll be able to utilize it in my position at your company.
Example #3: Tell me about a stressful situation, and walk me through how you handled that stress.
I do my best to minimize stress at work by prioritizing and planning ahead. That, of course, is not always easy, and I would say that stressful situations most often arise when there is a lack of communication that prevents that planning. (S) In my last role as a manager at Retail Store, for example, (T) I was responsible for making sure that schedules were set so that the store could open and close on time, as well as function normally throughout the day. The store was going to have extended hours during the holiday season, but it was not communicated to me until the day before they were to start what those hours would be. (A) I had already scheduled my team, and I realized I wasn’t going to have enough coverage for the entire day. It was definitely stressful since it wasn’t communicated to me sooner, (R) but I remained calm and was able to solve the problem by adjusting some employees’ schedules to ensure coverage for the day. I also fixed future schedules and communicated that clearly and quickly to my employees. This experience really highlighted why communication is so important in the workplace, and it’s a skill I know I will bring to this role.
Christopher Hoover, Jr. Talent Acquisition Lead, Skills for Chicagoland’s Future