Behavioral interviews are based on the premise that past behavior predicts future behavior on the job. Questions are situation-based and often start with “Tell me about a time when…”

Preparing for a Behavioral-based Interview

  •  Brainstorm your top 10 power stories.  Think about specific stories in previous internships, student organization involvement, volunteer work, part-time work experiences, etc when you made an impact for an organization.  Think about stories where you displayed strong leadership, communication, teamwork, and problem solving skills.  What other skills are important in the field you are pursuing?  Think about stories that relate to that specific skill-set, too.
  • To best communicate each power story to the employer during an interview, utilize the STAR Technique.

S Describe the SITUATION.  For instance, if using a class project, what class was it for?  How many people were in your group?  When did it happen?

T What TASK were you assigned/assumed or what problem did you face?  What was your role?  To use the class project example, what was your role in the group?  What was the assignment?

A What ACTION did you take to complete the assignment or solve the problem?  Focus on your own actions, not those of your group.

R What was the RESULT?  This is a very important part of the answer!  Describe the results in a way to show that you were successful; consider quantifying the results if possible and significant.

Common Behavioral Interview Questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a difference of opinion with a co-worker, customer, or supervisor. How do you feel you showed respect?
  • Describe the way you handled a specific problem involving a person with differing values, ideas, and beliefs in your current/previous job.
  • Tell me about a time you went above and beyond the call of duty in order to complete a task.
  • Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a deadline. How did you handle it?
  • Describe the most significant or creative presentation or idea that you developed or implemented.
  • Tell me about a tough decision you made. What steps, thought processes, and considerations did you take to make that decision?
  • What have you done in your present or previous job that goes beyond what was required?
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to approach things your way.
  • Tell me about a course, work experience, or extracurricular activity in which you had to work closely with others. How did it go? How did you overcome any difficulties?
  • What are three effective leadership qualities you think are important? How have you demonstrated these qualities in your past or current position?
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to address an angry customer? What was the problem and what was the outcome? How would you assess your role in defusing the situation?