Preparing for Your Interview: Answering Behavioral Questions

Behavioral Interview Questions

Getting ready for an interview can be daunting, but once you know the motivation behind the interview questions and a formula to use when answering, preparation becomes easier. Read the following post for insight into why these questions are asked as well as examples of what could be asked.

What Interviewers are Assessing

Interviewers are typically seeking to understand the following four things from potential candidates: 

  • Competency – Does this person know how to do the job? 
  • Approach – How does this person approach challenging situations?
  • Trust – Can I trust this person to do the job well? 
  • Fit – Do I like this person? Will this person fit in well with our company and team? 

Behavioral questions are one of the best ways to identify a candidate’s approach, trust and fit. These types of questions tend to focus on scenarios you’ve experienced in the past or scenarios you will likely face in the future if hired for the position.

Method to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

When answering behavioral questions, be sure to ask clarifying questions if you do not understand what is being asked of you. Also, most recruiters recommend that you answer questions using the STAR method. According to, best practices for the STAR method include:

  • Situation – Describe the scene and provide relevant details of your example. Tie the context of the situation to the question. 
  • Task – Next, describe your role in the situation. 
  • Action – Explain how you addressed the situation and what steps you took to solve or overcome the challenge. Include how you, specifically, added value to the approach, decisions and steps taken.
  • Result – The end of your answer needs to include the outcome of the situation. Include metrics when possible. 

Sample Behavioral Interview Questions

Prior to your next interview, I recommend practicing responses to sample behavioral questions. Here are a few you may be asked:

  • Tell me about a time you took on a task that was outside of your regular job duties. What happened, and how did you manage the new task?
  • Describe the most challenging project you’ve worked on so far. How did you overcome obstacles?
  • Tell me about a time when you faced an ethical dilemma. What did you decide to do, and what were the consequences?
  • Tell me about a time you had to explain a difficult concept to a team member. How did you approach the conversation? 
  • Tell me about a time when you were assigned multiple tasks with the same deadline. How did you prioritize and/or approach this challenge?
  • What’s your approach to delegating work to employees? How do you ensure that tasks are completed?
  • How would you tell a colleague that he/she was underperforming?
  • Tell me about a time your idea improved the organization in some way. How did you make sure it was implemented?

Practice your answers out-loud, over and over. You want your mind to get used to the rhythm of the STAR method. Once you’ve practiced the STAR method, you’re many steps ahead of other prospective candidates.

Do you have additional questions regarding your job search? I’ve helped many leaders both prepare and land their next positions. Schedule a complimentary, no obligation session or contact me and let’s discuss your situation.

Cheering you on,