How to Prepare for a Behavioral Interview

Increasingly, employers are giving job candidates behavioral interviews. Behavioral interviewing is an interviewing strategy that considers the candidates' past performance the best indicator of future performance. If you're in the market for a new job, it's probably wise to prepare for behavioral interviews. Some 30 percent of organizations, including many of America's biggest corporations, now use behavioral interviewing - and the number is growing.

Listed below are the steps to prepare for a behavioral interview:

1. Study the job description for the position for which you're interviewing.

2. Visit the organizations website to gain an understanding of what type of candidate the organization is hiring.

3. List the personal and professional attributes of the ideal candidate for the job.

4. Think about which of your experiences can be used to illustrate you have these personal and professional attributes.

5. Make up questions that demonstrate you have each of these attributes. Behavioral questions usually start with phrases like "Describe a time" and "Tell me about a situation" which force the interviewee to talk about specific experiences.

6. Develop two or three stories for each personal or professional attribute, using experiences from your past to show you have each attribute.

7. Try to use the SAR technique to tell these stories. Describe the Situation you were in or problem you were facing at the start of the story. Describe the Action you took or took part in as a result. Then describe the Result of your actions. Spend less time on the Situation and more time on Action and Results. This is what the interviewer cares about.

8. Practice answering the behavioral interview questions you invented, using the stories you created, so your stories become second nature.


Use your resume/CV to help evaluate how your experiences can be used to illustrate you're the ideal candidate for the job.

Don't limit yourself to the experiences on your CV, if there's some other story that best shows how you'd be a great a fit with the job.

Do a Web search for "behavioral interview questions" to find sites with sample questions you might face in a behavioral interview. Good places to look are business school websites. You may often find the marketing club or finance club mini-sites, where the students share behavioral interviews.

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