If you have been on an interview lately, most likely you have been asked behavioral interview questions that start out with “Tell me about a time when…”, “Describe a situation…”, or “Give an example…”. Behavioral-based Interviewing stems from the idea that the most accurate predictor of future behavior is past behavior in a similar situation. Interviewers want to learn how you, the interviewee, acted in specific employment-related situations.
The most effective way to answer behavioral interview questions is to become a great story teller. Too many interview answers use vague examples or link a string of buzzwords together. This might sound impressive initially, but the information will be forgotten by the end of the day. What people remember most, are engaging results-oriented stories!
To craft a good interview story, utilize the STAR approach:
- Situation: Set the stage for the story by sharing context around the situation or challenge you faced.
- Task: Summarize the specific project and/or problem you faced.
- Action: Describe the actions you took to achieve results.
- Result: Describe the results and quantify them, if possible. Interviewers not only want to know that you have the capability; they also want you to demonstrate that you have obtained tangible results.
There are a wide variety of questions out there so you will not be able to prepare for each specific question. However, you can arm yourself with a small arsenal of stories that can be adapted to many behavioral questions. The beauty of a good story is that it often highlights several strengths. For example, if you have a story about a time you resolved a difficult issue for a customer, you are highlighting both your customer service skills and your ability to solve problems!