Solving the Mystery of Behavioral Interviews

Walking into an interview is daunting enough, but when that interview happens to be a behavioral interview the nervousness tends to rise. But, it doesn’t always have to be that way. Instead, demystify the behavioral interview, walk in prepared, impress your interviewer and get that job!


What is a Behavioral Interview?

Starting with the basics, a behavioral interview is used by the employer to try and determine how you will behave and interact with your co-workers. The questions in a behavioral interview will draw on your past experiences and how you handled specific situations to help the potential employer determine if you are the right fit for their office and the needs of the position they are trying to fill.


How can you prepare for a Behavioral Interview?

One way to prepare for a behavioral interview is to know that the interviewer intends to ask you this style of question. Generally, if you are working with a recruiter, you should ask your recruiter what style of interview the client uses. If the recruiter knows, they can give you a heads up. However, if you are interviewing on your own, it is not likely that you will be informed that a behavioral interview is going to happen.

Because of this, you should always prepare for a behavioral style interview. Even an interviewer that has not necessarily structured their interview style to be behavioral may ask a few behavioral questions. The best way to prepare is to practice. You can research commonly asked behavioral questions that you may have to answer. Practice on your own or with a friend!


What about entry level candidates?

A common issue with behavioral interviews is when the candidate entry level or has very little actual work experience. This can make the candidate feel as if they have no answer to the questions asked, as most behavioral questions center on work-related responses.

However, there is nothing to worry about. If you do not have work-related experience for the questions, do not be afraid to draw on your educational or personal experience to answer the question with a similar situation. The biggest key to these answers is to be completely honest about your past experiences and how you handled the situations you were in.

Making yourself familiar with behavioral questions and the way that you want to answer them will make your responses in an interview easier to recall and more natural. When prepared, the end result will be you walking into an interview – behavioral or not – with complete confidence!

Need some interview questions to practice on and don’t know where to start? Check out one of SHRM’s lists here:!