How to Answer Behavioural Questions During Your Interview
The short time you spend in an interview could have a dramatic effect on your career prospects. Therefore, it is important that you answer the interview questions to the best of your ability because no matter how good your career record is to date, the job interview remains key towards closing the deal on your perfect IT job.
What is a behavioural question?
Interviewers use behavioural questions to assess how you respond in workplace challenges and scenarios, thus giving the employer an idea of how you will behave in their workplace. It is the latest interviewing artillery used to determine your attitudes, aptitudes, stability and motivations.
According to LinkedIn, “60% of hiring managers said that screening for soft skills is difficult. When asked to prioritise some of the most important
soft skills they look for during interviews, here’s how they ranked the following six in order of importance:
- Culture fit
- Growth potential
Your answers to behavioural questions should guide employers in assessing how well you will perform in the role by asking for concrete examples of skills and experiences that relate directly to the position. Behavioural questions should also assess your ability with decision-making, organisation, communication, initiative, time management, flexibility and problem solving.
How to answer behavioural questions
If the interviewer has not stated that behavioural or competency based questions will feature, you can identify them easily. The interviewer will ask questions that begin with phrases such as ‘Describe a decision you made’, ‘Do you have an example of when you…’ or ‘Tell me about a time when…’.
Similar to the competency-based questions, which we have examined in our previous blog, we encourage you to use the STAR method. The STAR method allows you to structure your answer and helps you to avoid long-winded answers.
Situation: Describe the situation or problem you have encountered.
Task: Explain the task that the situation required and your ideas for resolving the problem.
Action: Explore the action you took and obstacles that you had to overcome.
Result: Reveal outcomes achieved
IMPORTANT: Make sure your answers demonstrate skills and experience that relate to the IT role you are interviewing for.
Common behavioural questions
- Describe a specific problem you solved for your manager or your team?
TIP: This question examines your initiative and leadership skills. Using STAR as your structure, emphasise how you approached the issue and the outcome.
- Talk about a time when you had to work closely with a colleague whose personality differed greatly from yours.
TIP: Inclusivity and workplace diversity is high on employers’ agenda so this question will assess how you will thrive within a dynamic workforce.
- Describe a professional work goal you set for yourself and how successful you were in achieving it. Outline the factors led to your success?
TIP: This question will highlight your motivations so choose your ‘goal story’ wisely. Explain why you chose the goal and try to align that goal with this role.
- Tell me about a time when you did not meet a deadline. What did you fail to do? What did you learn?
TIP: The key element to convey in this answer is how you applied this experience to another project or scenario to achieve a successful outcome
- Share an example of a time you conflicted with a colleague? How did you interact with your colleague to resolve it?
TIP: This question examines your professional empathy and communication skills. Highlight your acknowledgement and understanding of the other person’s opinion and outline your steps taken towards conflict-resolution.
- Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
TIP: Negotiation and persuasion skills are high on the list of most-wanted soft skills. If you can display these traits with a well-crafted answer, then you showcase those very abilities on the spot and persuade the interviewer you are the right candidate!
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