July 21, 2022

Behavioural interview questions and answers

When it comes to interviewing, the interviewer asks many different types of questions.
 But behavioural interview questions are becoming increasingly popular.
  • They can give insights into how a candidate has behaved in the past, 
  • And how candidates are likely to behave in the future. 
So, brushing up on your answers to common behavioral interview questions is crucial.
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Interviewers design behavioral interviews to assess how you would act in specific situations, so it's important to be prepared with well-thought-out responses.
In this blog post, we'll share some common behavioural interview questions and tips on how to answer them.
Related article:
Table of contents
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Is behavioral interview questions a new form of torture?

Have you been asked a question like, "please tell me about a moment when you had to deal with a particularly difficult customer."?
Or "What was the last project you led, and what was your role in it?" 
If you faced these questions, you were asked behavioral interview questions. 
But, what's the point of behavioral interview questions? 
Simply put, they're designed to help employers better understand how you deal with real-world situations. 

What is a behavioral interview

A behavioral interview is a type of interview in which the interviewer asks questions about your past behavior to predict your future behavior. 
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Behavioral interviews are often used in job selection processes that require customer service or people skills. The idea behind behavioral interviews is that your past behavior best predicts your future behavior. 
Therefore, by asking questions about your past behavior, the interviewer can better understand how you will behave in the same situation in the future. 

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Common behavioural interview questions and answers

Here are several common behavioural interview questions and answers with examples.

Q: Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.

What hiring managers want to know: The employer wants to see:  
  • your problem-solving skill.
  • how you can work under pressure.
  • your quick decision-making strategies.
Example answer: One time, I had to deal with a customer who was extremely unhappy with our product. They demanded a refund and were quite agitated. I stayed calm and tried to listen to their concerns. I then explained our refund policy and told them how we could help them with their issue. Ultimately, the customer became satisfied and did not request a refund.

Q: How do you approach a problem?

What hiring managers want to know: The hiring manager wants to know how you will react in a challenging situation.
You must emphasize the steps you took to resolve any specific problem previously in your answer.
Example answer: When approaching a problem, I like to take a systematic and analytical approach. I first identify the root cause of the problem and then develop a plan to address it. I then execute the plan and monitor the results to see if the problem has been resolved. If I see the problem still exists, I adjust the plan and try again. I repeat the process several times before the problem is completely resolved. 

Q: Have you ever done wrong in your job? How did you deal with it?

What hiring managers want to know:  No doubt, we all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect in this world, right? Interviewers ask this question to understand how you have handled your fault previously. Actually, they want to gauge what steps you will take if they hire you if it's your fault in the future.
Example answer: Once, I misquoted the membership fees for a club I worked. After one day, I understood my fault. I went straight to my supervisor and told him about my fault. He appreciated my honesty and advised me to offer the new members a waiver of the application fees. Yes, I felt bad because it was my mistake. After this incident, I learned to pay special attention to the details to be sure I am providing accurate information.

Q: How do you set goals? Give an example.

What hiring managers want to know:  The hiring managers are interested in how well you organize your work and establish objectives.
Example answer: I wanted to be a good leader in my previous workplace. I took some initiatives after joining that organization.
  • I didn't order my subordinates; instead, I focused on how they could learn things to get things perfect.
  • I always was connected with my team members.
  • I asked them to give feedback on my leadership. 
  • And I always kept a positive attitude in my workplace. 
I got the best leadership award last year in that organization.

Q: Give an example of how you inspired (motivated) colleagues or coworkers.

What hiring managers want to know:  Do you possess motivational skills or not? They want to look at your capability to motivate others.
Example answer: In my previous job, I was responsible for mobilizing a team of engineers to work on a new project. That project had a very tight deadline, and I was worried that the team would not be able to meet it. I motivate the team by setting a clear goal and showing them how their work would benefit the company. I also provided regular updates on the project's progress and emphasized the importance of meeting the deadline. Thanks to my hard work, the team was able to meet the deadline and deliver a high-quality product.

Q: Give an example of when your manager gave you too much work and not enough time? How did you do?

What hiring managers want to know:  The hiring manager wants to see how you react under pressure and how you can manage time.
Example answer: I was once assigned a project that was due in two weeks, but it actually required twice the time to complete. My manager had assigned me the project without considering the other tasks I was already working on, and I quickly realized that I wouldn't be able to finish it on time. I had to work overtime for several days to complete the project. While it wasn't an ideal situation, I was able to finish the project and learned a valuable lesson about time management.
In my previous job, my supervisor often gave me more work than I could reasonably complete in the allotted time. This led to a lot of stress and anxiety on my part, as I didn't want to let her down or fall behind.
To cope with this, I developed a system where I prioritized the tasks she gave me and focused on the most important ones first. I also communicated with her regularly to update her on my progress and let her know if I was falling behind. This helped ease the pressure and allowed me to stay on top of my work.

Q: Give a real example of a goal you didn't achieve and describe how you handled it.

What hiring managers want to know: The hiring manager wants to see how you deal with it when the situation is against you.
Example answer: In my previous role as a marketing manager, I had set a goal to increase brand awareness for my company by 10% within 6 months. However, after 6 months, I was only able to increase brand awareness by 5%. I was clearly disappointed that I had not met my goal, but I did not let it discourage me.
 I immediately took action to try to improve the situation. I analyzed what had gone wrong and implemented a new plan with different tactics. Thankfully, my efforts were fruitful., and I was eventually able to increase brand awareness by 15%. From this experience, I learned that it is important never to give up when faced with setbacks.
My boss set the goal of increasing my company's social media following by 10% within two months. Unfortunately, I was only able to increase it by 7%. I was disappointed with myself, but I didn't let it get me down. I continued to work hard and ended up increasing our social media following by 15% within the next two months.

Q: What steps will you take if you disagree with your colleagues?

What hiring managers want to know:  Employers judge your problem-solving skills by asking this question.
Example answer: I think disagreements are a natural part of working with others. Here are a few steps I follow if there are any disagreements with my colleagues: - 
  1. I always try to observe things from their perspective. 
  2. I listen to what they have to say. 
  3. I don't take the issues personally. 
  4. Finding common ground is one of my favorite strategies. 
  5. My boss always told me to be willing to compromise. I try to follow this advice,
  6. Finally, I respect their decision even if I disagree with it.
 In these ways, I can successfully navigate disagreements with my colleagues and come to a resolution with which everyone can be happy.

Q: Tell me about a moment when you made a risky decision at work that backfired

What hiring managers want to know:  The hiring managers know every risky decision will pay off, and sometimes taking a risk can result in failure. But they want to see how you accept that truth and how you present the fact.
Example answer: In my previous job, I was working on a project that was behind schedule and over budget. My boss was under a lot of pressure to complete the project, and she decided to take a risk by doubling the team size. The decision was undoubtedly risky because it meant we would have to work even longer hours and weekends to meet the new deadline. Unfortunately, the risk did not succeed, and the project ended up being even further behind schedule. My boss was ultimately fired.

Q: Tell us three improvements you made in your most recent role.

To be honest, this is one of my favorite samples of behavioural interview questions and answers.
What hiring managers want to know:  Interviewers actually want to know your achievements in your previous position.
Example answer: In my most recent position, I made a number of improvements that helped the company improve its bottom line. 
First, I implemented a new system for tracking customer data that helped us better understand our customer base. 
Second, I created a new marketing campaign that generated a lot of new leads. 
And finally, I introduced a new incentive program for sales staff that helped increase sales by 20%.

Q: Ever been the victim of a lie? How did you handle such circumstances?

What hiring managers want to know:  Just to see your problem-solving mentality. 
Example answer:  Yes, I've been lied to at work. It was a really tough situation to navigate. After all, you have to maintain a professional relationship with the person who lied to you, while also trying to protect yourself and your interests. Some steps I took to handle the situation: - 
  1.  I took time to decide how I wanted to respond. 
  2. I talked to the person who lied to me. It's important to try and understand why he lied and what he hoped to achieve. 
  3. I was honest with myself. I tried to assess the situation objectively. What are the facts? What are my options? 
  4. Finally, I chose my response carefully.

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Star answer format

When preparing for a behavioural interview, it is important to structure your answers in the STAR format. 
STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result. This format allows you to give a clear and concise answer that highlights your skills and abilities. 
Example: How you would structure your answer to a behavioral interview question using the STAR format: 
Situation: You are a project manager at a company that is planning to launch a new product. 
Task: Your task is to lead the team that is responsible for developing the product. 
Action: You develop a plan for the project and delegate tasks to the team. You also meet with stakeholders to get their input on the project. 
Result: The product is launched on time and under budget.
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Wrap up

So, now we know common behavioural interview questions and answers. We have learned the art of how to answer behavioral interview questions, right?
During a behavioral interview, the interviewer will be looking to see if the candidate has the skills and qualities they are looking for. 
If you participate in a behavioral interview, be prepared. You should brush up on your interview skills and have some examples of your past behavior ready to share with the interviewer. 
With proper preparation, you can ace the behavioral interview and put your best foot forward in the job search. Good luck.
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