How to Have a Successful Behavioral Interview

By Charles Austin,2014-05-16 03:45
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How to Have a Successful Behavioral Interview

    How to Have a Successful Behavioral Interview

    By Nikki Rennalls


    Why host a behavioral interview workshop for the Women of ECE?

    ? Because your first job IS important

    ? Because of the economy

    ? Because you deserve the job of your dreams

    ? Because giving a good interview is easy with practice

    5 Quick Ways to Improve Your Interview

    ? Give a Good Handshake

    ? Make Eye Contact

    ? Sit up Straight

    ? Speak up, speak clearly

    ? Smile!

Traditional Interviews

    ? Hypothetical Situations

    ? Interviewers may probe, they may not

    ? Interviewees may generalize or provide theoretical answers

    ? Straight questions with straight forward answers

    o Ex. “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

Behavioral Interviews

    ? Past Situations

    ? Interviewers WILL probe

    ? Interviewers will ask for details

    ? Questions with story answers

    o Ex. “Describe a time you had to work on a team?”

    How to Answer Behavior Based Questions Think

    ? What experience is most relevant to the question?

    ? Does this story show me in a good light?

    ? Did my actions directly impact the result?

    ? Is this story appropriate to share with an interviewer?

    ? Does this hurt anyone else?

    Describe the Situation

    ? Give a brief back story

    o Sometimes Unnecessary

    o “Do not begin with „When dinosaurs roamed the Earth‟” -ML

    ? The Problem/Challenge

Explain Your Actions

    ? Be clear about what YOU did

    ? Be honest!

    ? Go ahead, brag about yourself

    ? Watch out for embellishments and untruths

    ? Never lie in an interview

    Share The Outcome

    ? Be Honest

    ? Measurements of Success

    ? Rankings, Money, Grades, Stats, etc.

    ? What did you learn?

    ? How would you do things differently?

Role Playing

    Question 1: Have you had to convince a team to work on a project they weren't thrilled

    about? How did you do it?

    Question 2: Give me an example of when you took a risk to achieve a goal. What was

    the outcome?

Interview Do’s and Don’ts


    … talk about yourself … take advantages of silences

    … be honest

    … express your interest … write a thank-you


    … leave without asking questions

    …be too casual

    …bad-mouth past bosses or colleagues

    …bring anything but you‟re A game

    WECE Reminders

    ? FIRST Robotics Competition

    ? Career Fair next week

    ? Harris Dinner Tuesday @ 6pm

    ? Northrup-Grunman Lunch Thurs. @ 11

    ? New Service Projects

    ? Local Women‟s Shelter

    ? Relay for Life

    ? Free Donut Fridays

    Before You Interview

Know yourself. An interview is about one thing, YOU. Advanced preparation is

    critical … inventory yourself so that you can competently express who you are,

    what you want and whether you are a fit for the job.

     Recall recent situations that show favorable behaviors or actions, especially

    involving course work, work experience, leadership, teamwork, initiative,

    planning, and customer service.

     Prepare short descriptions of each situation; be ready to give details if asked.

     Be sure each story has a beginning, a middle, and an end, i.e., be ready to

    describe the situation, your action, and the outcome or result.

     Be sure the outcome or result reflects positively on you (even if the result itself

    was not favorable).

Be honest. Don‟t embellish or omit any part of the story. The interviewer will

    find out if your story is built on a weak foundation.

Be specific. Don‟t generalize about several events; give a detailed accounting of

    one event.

Know the interview process. If you don‟t know what to expect, you won‟t know

    how to prepare. Read a couple of books and speak with your Career office to

    learn everything you can about interviewing ... role-play with another person

    acting as the interviewer.

     Make sure the interviewer knows about you. EVERYTHING is a reflection of

    you. If your resume or emails are laden with errors, an interviewer may conclude

    that you will also approach your job in this manner.

     Know the organization. Research the organization and the position …

    it makes you stand out from candidates who haven‟t. Understanding the “culture”

    of the organization is also important.

    Practice Questions

     Give me an example of a change you have made as a result of performance


     When did you have to give a highly visible speech or presentation? How did you


     Describe a recent failure/disappointments in your job (or academics/leadership

    positions) and how you handled it.

     What are some of the most significant changes you implemented in your position;

    how did your team respond and how did you deal with that? Can you give me an example where quick action in solving a business or school

    problem was critical?

     Have you ever experienced a situation where a business plan or school project

    which you put a lot of effort into was rejected or substantially revised? How did

    you deal with that situation?

     Describe a situation in which you had to reconcile conflicts in your group/team. If your peers described your leadership style, what words would they use? Your

    clients? Superiors?

     Give me an example of a time that you showed strong initiative. An example

    when you‟ve gone above and beyond.

     What would you consider your most significant accomplishments? Why were

    these accomplishments important? What difficulties did you have to overcome? When did you have a lead role in the project, a key role, a support role, etc?

    What specific challenges did you face as a leader? How did you have to adapt

    your leadership style?

     What are the facets of this position in which you are the most confident? Which

    areas of the position are you the least confident? Name a time you made a critical mistake within a team. How did you resolve it

    with your team members and what what the result?

     Describe a decision you made that was unpopular with the group you were

    working with and how you handled implementing it.

     Describe a time when your schedule is interrupted, like the change of a deadline?

    How you handle it?

     Describe a time you had to convince a team to work on a project they weren't

    thrilled about. How did you do it?

     Describe a major change that occurred in a job that you held. How did you adapt

    to this change?

     Tell us about a situation in which you had to adjust to changes over which you

    had no control. How did you handle it?

     Tell us about a time that you had to adapt to a difficult situation. What do you do when priorities change quickly? Give one example of when this


     Describe a project or idea that was implemented primarily because of your efforts.

    What was your role? What was the outcome?

     Describe a time when you made a suggestion to improve the work in your

    organization. Did you follow through? How did this improvement impact the


     Describe a time when you came up with a creative solution/idea/project/report to

    a problem in your past work.

     Give an example of an important goal that you set in the past. Tell about your

    success in reaching it.

     Tell us about a time when you had to analyze information and make a

    recommendation. What kind of thought process did you go through? What was

    your reasoning behind your decision?

     Give a specific example of a time when you had to address an angry customer.

    What was the problem and what was the outcome? How would you asses your

    role in diffusing the situation?

     Have you ever worked in a situation where the rules and guidelines were not clear?

    Tell me about it. How did you feel about it? How did you react? Some people consider themselves to be “big picture people” and others are “detail

    oriented”. Which are you? Give an example of a time when you displayed this.

     Describe a situation when you were able to strengthen a relationship by

    communicating effectively. What made your communication effective? Describe a situation where you felt you had not communicated well. How did you

    correct the situation?

     Describe a time when you were able to effectively communicate a difficult or

    unpleasant idea to a superior.

     Describe a time when you were asked to keep information confidential. If you can, tell about a time when your trustworthiness was challenged. How did

    you react/respond?

     On occasion we are confronted by dishonesty in the workplace. Tell about such an

    occurrence and how you handled it.

     Describe a time where you had to make an ethical decision. What did you decide

    and what was the outcome?

     Describe a time when you encountered unethical behavior in a superior or an

    authority figure. Did you confront this person/organization? How did you handle


     Give an example of your ability to build motivation in your co-workers,

    classmates, and even if on a volunteer committee.

     Have you ever been a member of a group where two of the members did not work

    well together? What did you do to get them to do so?

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