What Are They?
Many companies use a technique called behavioral interviewing, which is premised on the notion that your past performance is the best predictor of your future performance. While traditional interviewing asks you to state opinions: "Tell me about yourself"; "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"; and "Why do you want to work for this company?"-- behavioral interviewing is reflective. Specifically, the interviewer wants to know how you handled challenges related to the skill set the company requires for the position.
How Can I Prepare?
- Check out our Interview Practice Questions, and then make an appointment with us for a mock interview.
- Dartmouth's Center for Professional Development provides in-depth information on what to expect in a behavioral interview and how to prepare.
- Use the STAR method to structure your answer: download our STAR Stories Table to begin organizing your thoughts. This will help if you tend to stutter or freeze.
Task, leading to the
Actions taken or not taken by the applicant, and the
Results or changes caused by these actions
- Interviewer: Give me a specific incident in which you had to address a problem with a team member.
- Applicant: Situation/Task: During my summer job, I had to provide engineering support for experienced operations personnel, but the plant foreman would not allow operations to make a change I recommended. Action: I sat down with the foreman and sought her assistance. Result: Once we reviewed my plan and revised it to address her concerns, the plan was implemented.
Implementing the STAR Method
Keep in mind, the interview is about how you can specifically contribute to the company, so have succinct STAR stories at the ready that incorporate the skills the company is looking for. Each of your examples should relate to the job description in some way.
What are Companies Assessing During the Interview?
- Your ability to communicate clearly and efficiently
- Flexibility and your ability to manage uncertainty
- How you analyze/assess problems
- Leadership and teamwork skills: Are you motivated? How do you take initiative?
- Prioritization and work organization
- Do you have the skill set that the company is looking for?
Tip: think in advance of anecdotes/stories that demonstrate your strengths as exhibited in past behaviors in each dimension.