Five top tips to succeed in behavioural interviews

Does the mere thought of attending an interview start your palms sweating and fill you with a sense of dread? Don’t panic! Being interviewed need not be an arduous experience. Knowing what to expect will enable you to be better prepared and allow your confidence to shine through!

As employers are looking for employees with the skills and attitude that match the key selection criteria of the position and the organisation’s culture, they use the interview to ascertain:

  • Do you have the qualifications, skills and experiences?
  • Do you have the right attitude about the position/organisation?
  • Do you fit into the organisation’s culture and team?

Although specific job interview questions will vary depending on the position or the company, behavioural questions are the most popular of all types of interview questions.  Also known as “competency-based” interviews, these types of questions are used because employers believe past behaviour is a good indication of future behaviour.

For example, you may be asked:

  • Describe a recent problem that affected your ability to meet an agreed deadline.
  • Tell me about the action you took to solve the problem.
  • That was the outcome?

Interviewers expect you to respond with specific examples from your experiences, focussing on the core competencies that are needed to be successful in the role.

You will need to think carefully about the answers you give, making sure that your example relates to the question asked, clearly talking about what you did, rather than what the team did as a whole. This will include knowledge, skills, abilities as well as your personal characteristics and style.

Five top tips to succeed in behavioural interviews

  1. Give specific examples

Don’t generalise. If asked to describe a situation that you were in or a task that you needed to accomplish, describe a specific event or situation, not a generalised description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. Don’t be overwhelmed and try to speak about several events, choose one significant situation and elaborate on that.

  1. Prepare a range of detailed examples

The interviewer will examine your examples in more detail asking a series of probing questions. As a result, you should use good, solid examples, within which you are able to recall as much detail as possible about your role and what you did.

  1. Prepare examples from your personal life

Your personal experiences are just as valuable as your professional life to convey your personal skills and attitude (although the bulk of examples should be professional). This may give the interviewer an insight into your personal interests, which can help determine cultural fit.

  1. Take time to think about the core competencies

When assessing what the core competencies are likely to be, consider the job description and use examples to describe how you’ve demonstrated the same competencies to deliver the notable achievements and outcomes in your career.

  1. Familiarise yourself with your CV

Spend some time before the interview really familiarising yourself with your CV as most likely, this is the only information the recruiter or hiring manager has of you. If you’re not happy with your CV or don’t feel it showcases your strengths and skills in the best possible way, then contact us to find out more about how can help you get the results you need – fast.

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