5 Keys to Beating the Behavioral Interview

JUNE 23, 2011 | BY MICAH

Remember that one time that you brought your dog to work and it ended up urinating on the monthly reports? How about that time that you got into an argument with a coworker and ended up smashing his face in with your dog, injuring both your coworker and your dog? How about the time you cleaned up after the injured mess with lighter fluid that you thought was just dirty water, only to light the entire building on fire with a match that you were only using to erase the smell of the fart that you just let out in fear once you realized you knocked your dog unconscious by throwing it into your coworker’s face?

Behavioral interview questions often ask you things like “What is your greatest professional regret” and, if you don’t know how to answer this question correctly, you might end up sharing this story, and chances are you won’t find employment. So to help you answer behavioral interview questions, here is a brief list of the five most important things to remember.

Behavioral Interview Tips

  • Plan your answers

It is vital that you plan several answers before the interview to some of the more difficult interview questions. The more answers you have ready, the fewer bad answers you will give.

  • Don’t lie

There may be times that you stretch the truth, but you should not lie. Lying leads to mistakes, and mistakes lead to not getting the job. Lying with behavioral interviews is difficult and pointless.

  • Who are you again?

While lying may be bad, forgetfulness is okay. If you are asked to say something terrible about your previous coworker, it is okay to “forget” any instances of real disagreement. You still need to answer the question though, which leads us to….

  • Minimize

You still need to answer behavioral questions. You cannot simply pretend you don’t have an answer and expect the employer to move on. Instead, try your best to minimize anything that reflects poorly on you. There are three ways to do this. First, if asked something negative about yourself, you can share a story that, while still a mistake, doesn’t reflect too badly on you, and then add what you have done since to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Second, if asked to say something bad about a coworker or employer, you can pretend nothing ever occurred but discuss what you would do if something did occur, or you can pick something that isn’t much of a problem that all employers will agree with.

  • Take a Second to Think

Don’t start talking without a plan in mind. Think about your answer so that you do not start rambling about something unrelated to the question and end up poorly answering this type of question.

Behavioral interviews can be surprisingly difficult, due to the nature of behavioral questions and the difficulties most people have coming up with a good response. Good planning, though, will certainly give you a great opportunity to succeed.

Take Away Interview Tips

  • Think about your answers.
  • Answer clearly.
  • Forget things if necessary.

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