You may have heard that behavioral interviewing is becoming more and more of a common practice used by employers to screen potential candidates. But what exactly is behavioral interviewing, and what does this mean for job seekers? Behavioral interviewing is based on the belief that past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. In other words, how you handled a situation before in the workplace will determine how you will handle a similar situation at a new job.
Behavioral interviewing eliminates hypothetical questions, as the interviewee is being asked to talk about his or her actual past experiences. Often times, the interviewer does not ask questions, but instead uses statements to prompt the candidate’s answer. The interviewer may start these statements with, “tell me about a time you had to…,” “describe a situation when…,” or “give me an example of…” Notice how the interviewer is not asking about what the candidate would do, but how he or she has already done it.
As you are preparing for an interview, this means you will need to think of potential skills and experiences the employer will likely want to know about. Review the job description and research the company for help with determining this. Finally, reflect back on your previous experiences to come up with some examples to talk about.
But how do you give a good, solid answer? While you certainly never want to ramble on in an interview, it is important that your response covers three main areas. First, you will want to describe the general situation or task at hand. Next, specifically talk about what you did, or the action you took. And finally, don’t forget to discuss the end result of what happened from there. Talking about the action you took will be meaningless to the interviewer unless he or she knows what happened as a result of it.
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