25 Behavioural Interview Questions (With Example Answers)
Interview questions often help employers assess your qualifications and capabilities as a job candidate, and there are various types of questions to ask. Behavioural questions allow you to show your problem-solving skills and discuss your abilities, personality and approach to challenges. You often share specific stories or work examples when answering behavioural questions, so it is important to prepare ideas. In this article, we explore what behavioural questions are, how you prepare for them in an interview and share 25 example questions with sample answers using the STAR method to help inspire your own.
What are behavioural questions?
Behavioural questions are ones posed in an interview that showcase how you manage work situations, challenges or circumstances. They aim to give insight into your abilities, skills and character traits and can help interviewers determine how you might behave in future situations. Sometimes called situational interview questions, they ask for specific work examples with detailed descriptions of the circumstance, action and outcome and go beyond describing duties and responsibilities of past roles.
How do you prepare for behavioural interview questions?
You can prepare for answering behavioural interview questions in several ways, including:
Brainstorm: think about past jobs and situations you encountered. You can look over your resume or curriculum vitae to refresh your memory about your accomplishments since they can often be good examples of outcomes resulting from challenges.
Make a list: write a list of several examples that show your abilities and skills through challenging situations. Consider stories of a suitable length—ones that are not too short but also will not take long to explain.
Hold a mock interview: practise answering behavioural questions. Record yourself to review your body language and listen to your answers. You can also ask friends to do a mock interview with you.
What is the STAR method used during interviewing?
The STAR method is a common interviewing technique to help you provide full and robust answers. It stands for:
Situation: a situation or test faced
Task: the task, duty, or responsibility of an individual
Action: the action one takes to overcome or resolve the issue
Result: the outcome and results of the action taken
The STAR structure often lets you give insight into how you approach problems and apply your decision-making skills to bring positive outcomes.
What are common behavioural interview questions?
Here are eight examples of behavioural questions with sample answers to help inspire your own:
1. Describe a time you successfully handled a stressful situation.
This question aims to learn how you deal with challenging situations using your problem-solving skills.
Example: "My supervisor had a family emergency during a sales conference and left before we presented to advertisers. I had to finish the presentation with only a few notes my supervisor wrote before leaving. I called a meeting with my three other colleagues and together we made changes, strengthening our presentation. After pitching to the advertisers, we secured three new accounts and two other renewals."
2. Share a time you made a mistake at work and how you corrected it.
Mistakes are often inevitable, though how you handle them can often be more important than the error itself. A strong answer is one that shows ownership of the error and impactful steps you took to correct it or prevent it from happening again.
Example: "Early in my computer sales career, I accidentally misquoted the price for a server package. I let my manager know, which he appreciated. I suggested we notify the customer with the correct higher estimate and offer to waive the installation fee. The customer kindly understood and still selected us for the job, in part because they valued how I handled things, and I kept an updated price list at my desk to prevent another mistake."
3. Explain to me how you handle pressure at work.
This question shows an interviewer how you handle pressure and stress at work for any role or position. A strong answer showcases a specific example with a successful outcome or one you might have done differently.
Example: "An international musical theatre production got cancelled because of extreme weather and with only five days' notice, the executive producer selected three national venues with entirely different stage and lighting specifications. I had to apply our set designs to the new venues. My team and several others worked quickly to alter designs, props, and lighting, making the show even more rewarding because of our efforts."
4. Recount a time you and a peer had a conflict and how it got resolved.
Since workplaces have distinct personalities with various communication styles, it can be common for conflict to arise. This question aims to see how you handle conflict with peers and what strategies you use to reach agreeable solutions.
Example: "A new member of our sales team had a unique approach to closing deals, and some felt it was too aggressive and misrepresented our company. I did not want my colleague to feel reprimanded if I went to our boss, so I asked them to lunch instead. We had a productive conversation, and I used open-ended questions to learn more about their work style. It turns out he sensed his approach was not working well, too. He asked for my guidance, advice and expertise on how to improve his sales pitch. We now have a great mentorship going, and he has increased his monthly quotas by 20% and brought in new clients."
5. Tell me a time you make an unpopular decision at work and how you implemented it.
An effective answer to this question might show how you move forward with unpopular decisions and communicate to teams for their support.
Example: "In my last role, employees could switch shifts as long as each one got covered, though it meant managers did not know who would be there when. I implemented a process to have supervisors approve schedule changes, which initially had resistance. I wrote an email communication explaining the process and the reason behind it, reassuring employees it did not mean shift changes would not get approved. The new method works well and employees continue to enjoy flexibility."
6. Share with me how you create goals.
This behavioural question aims to learn about your method for goal setting and how you achieve them. Consider an answer that clearly explains your methods and techniques, with a specific example.
Example: "My goal of becoming a chef started in my teens. I wrote a plan of what experience I needed and outlined my educational path. I worked as a server at a restaurant first and saved money for culinary school and volunteered at food pantries and community kitchens to gain cooking skills. I placed value on all culinary experiences and consider each an element of my success."
7. Describe an example of how you motivate and encourage coworkers, teammates or employees.
This question aims to see actionable ways you motivate others. Consider an answer that directly shows how your input led to a good outcome.
Example: "Our company installed new software that was unfamiliar with a coworker. She was worried it would affect her performance. I adapted to the computer program easily, so requested me to stay late twice a week to help her gain skills in using it. She became so proficient that she now gives me tips to use."
8. Explain a creative solution you implemented to solve a problem.
This question aims to get insight into your level of creativity and problem-solving abilities. Consider sharing an example that offers a unique solution.
Example: "I approach budgets as unique challenges and like using my creativity to stay below budget. If an initial design concept exceeds my budget, I find alternative ideas. For example, a canvas backdrop was too expensive for a television commercial, but a muslin backdrop was well below cost and provided softer backlighting."
Other behavioural questions asked in a job interview
Here are 17 other examples of logical questions you might get asked in an interview:
"Tell me about a goal you reached and how you achieved it."
"Describe a goal you failed to achieve and what transpired."
"Share a time you prioritised a task over something else and why."
"Give an example of how you handle multitasking in one day."
"Recount a long-term project you completed. How did you keep the project on time and organised?"
"Share a time you learned a new skill or responsibility quickly."
"Discuss an example of when you made a tough decision."
"Tell me about a time you had to be flexible."
"Elaborate on the proudest moment in your professional career and why it is important to you."
"Has there ever been a time you felt dissatisfied with your work or role and how did you handle that?"
"Share how you stay motivated when doing repetitive tasks at work."
"Explain a project you feel affected your company significantly."
"Recount a time you had to say no at work."
"Describe a time you had to work closely with a colleague whose personality differed from yours."
"Tell me about a time you considered yourself an excellent leader."
"Share a time you felt you went beyond the standard responsibilities of your job."
"Recount a time when you disagreed with someone."
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