Behavioral interview questions are some of the toughest interview questions to answer. They require you to think back to your experiences and come up with examples of how you have dealt with various common situations in the past, in order to show how you will deal with similar situations in the present.
Behavioral interviews are fraught with mistakes when you do not adequately prepare. Here are a variety of things not to say during your behavioral interview.
Common Behavioral Interview Answer Mistakes:
1. “I can’t think of any.”
There may be times that you cannot think of any specific instance, or you do not want to share the only answer you could remember. In these cases, never simply say you don’t have an example and try to move on to the next question. Instead, tell the interviewer that you cannot think of a specific instance but “… if I were to encounter that situation I would deal with it thusly.”
2. Making Up a Story on the Fly
It is also a terrible idea to make up a story with no basis in truth. Your story may have inconsistencies, and you may not be able to relate a good example back to your initial point. Fake stories are easy to spot, because they are usually devoid of details that would otherwise be in more truthful stories.
3. Telling an Unrelated Story
Another common problem during behavioral job interviews is when the applicant starts to tell a story that ends up being completely unrelated to the question. This often happens when you do not prepare. An employer will ask you a behavioral interview question such as “Describe a time where you disagreed with your boss” and you will start telling a story about how your supervisor once told you to take program the next set of code and you forgot because the computers were in the process of getting hacked by a bug that you didn’t even introduce but then the supervisor got a little upset so the two of you decided to have coffee and hug it out and funny story while you were getting coffee the waitress dropped off the check and the supervisor paid and … oh wait… where was I? What was the question again?
4. Telling a Bad Story
Telling a bad story is like telling an unrelated story. By the time you have finished your answer, your job interviewer will stare at you, mouth agape, wondering why in the world you even bothered.
5. Telling a Story that Makes You Look Incompetent
Of course, the final behavioral interview mistake to avoid is telling a story that doesn’t make you appear to be a model employee. Once again, this occurs usually due to lack of practice. Your job interviewer will ask you something like “Describe a time you disagreed with your boss” and you answer confidently with “This one time my boss told me to start working on the next software product and I thought it would be waste of time, so he and had a meeting to discuss the matter and we ended up agreeing that it should be put on the shelf.” Hooray for you, you managed to talk your boss out of making you do work. Good luck getting a job with that answer.
Avoid These Behavioral Job Interview Mistakes
Clearly there are a number of different errors you can make while answering a behavioral job interview question. The best way to make sure you answer the question the right way is to practice. Think up great stories for every type of question, write them out and practice answering them. Only by doing so will you avoid these mistakes.
Take Away Interview tips
- Practice your behavioral interview answers.
- Don’t lie or avoid any questions.