Behavior-Based Interview

A Behavior-Based Interview relates to a line of questioning referencing an individual's intended action in response to a series of situational events.  Greater importance is placed upon your achievements as related to choices you have made during actual events.  As a prediction, your interviewer will ask about a variety of scenario-related events and solicit a series of questions seeking a positive result.  That's right, a series of follow-up questions.  Versions of this questioning reference social situations and may not seem to be tied directly to employment choices.  As a line of questioning, consider relationships to others, ethical decisions and natural responses - applied to school organizations, community involvement and sporting groups.  Even if you have little or no work experience, relate behavior-based interview answers to non-work situations. 

Regarding a behavior-based interview, a comparison of like questions shows how this thought process differs from other types of question strategies.

  • Behavioral - Describe a situation in which you have contributed as a team-player.  What action did you add which made a key assist in your group's final success?
  • Direct - Are you a team-player?
  • Behavioral - A customer is dissatisfied with the time which his or her food was delivered to the table.  As a server, what be your response to ensure that the customer was satisfied?  At what point would you involve the manager?
  • Direct - How important is customer satisfaction?
  • Behavioral - Describe a stressful situation which you have successfully meet.  How did you handle this anxiety? What would you do to lessen this problem in the future?
  • Direct - How do you handle stressful situations? 

This type of questioning has gained in popularity.

Playing to your Strength - Applicants must understand their attributes and convey anticipated responses with a natural and honest demeanor.  This response plays well for those able to analyze situations and plan actions producing in a positive consequences.  Best part, answers can be framed to give a rational reason to why choices were made within specific scenarios.  The interviewer is looking for a complete picture - thus the reason for follow-up questions.  Applicants with little job experience can reflect easily and answer these questions.

Watch Out - Individuals not prepared will experience problems.  Predict specific questions based upon the position, company and situational events associated with the job requirements.  Practice responses to these questions with a friend.  Allow this individual the freedom to ask follow-up questions.  Not knowing the next inquiry (follow-up question) will add an element of anticipation.  It is important to think of examples on the spot without knowing the initial inquiry.  The details expressed will be key to the believability.  Do not get sidetracked.  Keep on the subject and focus upon a positive outcome.  Give an answer which the employer could benefit in the future.