Tue, Jun 28, 2022

Answering Interview Questions About Past Behaviour

Interviewers use behavioural questions to try predict your future behaviour patterns and determine if you’ll fit in. Here’s how to prepare your answers to these interview questions.

Behavioural job interview questions are based on the idea that

past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour

Behavioral interview questions should be answered by using what your mamma gave you – good common sense!

Show your humanity, dignity, humility and logical thought processes. Think about your answers carefully and even though you plan, don’t sound as if you are giving a canned response! Sound natural, relaxed and chatty.

Many questions unpack your level of experience and maturity, answer honestly.

  • What was the last project you led, and what was its outcome?
    • give a positive example and know that they will likely immediately ask for an example of where things went wrong and how you handled it.
  • Give me an example of a time that you felt you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.
    • they want to hear how you believed in something so much you were prepared to do what ever it took or about how you offered unconditional support to your boss / colleague
  • Can you describe a time when your work was criticized?
    • They want to hear how you used criticism constructively to reflect on your actions
    • They want to hear that you handle situations maturely even if you disagree, but that you also have conviction and wont do something you feel compromises you
  • Have you ever been on a team where someone was not pulling their own weight? How did you handle it?
    • No whining! Explain how you offer motivation and leadership
  • Tell me about a time when you had to give someone difficult feedback. How did you handle it?
    • Describe kindness, compassion and the willingness to listen
  • What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?
    • Personal or professional, your story should illustrate how you persevered after the failure and managed the situation into a positive space
  • How do you handle working with people who annoy you?
    • Show that you’re not reactionary to every situation but that you can step back and see the bigger picture, after all, that annoying person could be you or may be your rock when you’re under under pressure.
  • If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something that you disagreed with, what would you do?
    • If it conforms to company policy you’ll surely suck it up! 🙂 If not, you’ll illustrate how you would diplomatically decline.
    • They want to know you’re a team player and wont disagree because it’s ‘not in the job description’
  • What was the most difficult period in your life, and how did you deal with it?
    • Personal or professional, select a story that says something about your inner strength. They want to know that you know how to dig deep within yourself and find strength when times are tough. This is something that build your compassion towards others.
  • Give me an example of a time you did something wrong. How did you handle it?
    • Everyone screws up sometime. Keep this story professional, don’t tell about that time you cheated on your partner! Show how you owned up to it and made it right.
  • Tell me about a time where you had to deal with conflict on the job.
    • Tell a story of how you turned a hostile situation into a win-win one.
    • Don’t sound like a saint, describe something negative you learnt about yourself.
  • If you were at a business lunch and you ordered a rare steak and they brought it to you well done, what would you do?
    • Show an ability to judge the situation and to compromise for the sake of business efficiency.
  • If you found out your company was doing something against the law, like fraud, what would you do?
    • Your answer should illustrate your ability to be diplomatic and to follow company policy – assuming the policy does not support criminal intent. 
  • What assignment was too difficult for you, and how did you resolve the issue?
    • they want to know how you dealt with the challenge constructively and didn’t just wimp out
    • they want to know that you started learning new skills in order to avoid being disadvantaged in the future
  • What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made in the last two years and how did you come to that decision?
    • they want to know how you weighed up the pro’s and cons in order to act decisively.
  • Describe how you would handle a situation if you were required to finish multiple tasks by the end of the day, and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them.
    • Show you’re the kind of person who can get the support of others and rope them in, work late etc.
    • Have a quick chat with the supervisor and rank them in terms of priority, then give it your best shot
    • Don’t wimp out

Can you add to these questions or answers? Write your comments below!

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