Behavioural interview questions

Andrea Ogden, Director of Options in Finance  Melbourne explains how to prepare for behavioural interview questions.

It’s now the norm for employers to conduct behavioural or competency based interviews. This is a style of interviewing where the employer will ask you to give specific examples of scenarios you’ve been where you’ve demonstrated your skills and attributes. These interviews are tightly structured, and they want to hear clear, concise examples of how you’ve approached tasks previously and what the outcome was.

Job interviews can be daunting, but if you’re well prepared with examples of what you’ve done in the past there’s absolutely no reason to worry.

What to expect: example behavioural interview questions 

You could be asked questions like:

  • If you were given a difficult task and you didn’t know how to approach it what would you do?
  • Tell me about a time when you’ve had to improve a company process
  • Can you give me an example of when you’ve worked with a difficult client and how you handled it?
  • Describe a time when you’ve demonstrated your commitment to customer service
  • Tell me about a time when you’ve been in a position of leadership and how you successfully lead a team
  • Can you give me an example of when you’ve hit targets or KPIs?

During behavioural interviews you will often revisit memories from particularly emotional or challenging experiences.  You can be honest about how you felt, but ensure you stay professional and calm in the interview.

Spend some time thinking about your previous work experience

Behavioural interview questions are very specific and require you to search your memory for examples, so it’s important that you spend some time reflecting on your past experiences. Think about all aspects of your previous job, including the high points and low points.

Ask yourself:

  • Did I ever do anything that was beyond the scope of my role?
  • What was the hardest moment in my last job?
  • What was the happiest moment in my last job?
  • What am I most proud of?
  • When have I worked with challenging and difficult stakeholders? How did I manage them?
  • Have I worked on a particularly important project? How did it go?
  • Did I handle any critical incidents?

If you can’t think of a relevant example from your work experience, don’t panic. It’s okay to provide examples from your personal life, providing they are still insightful and appropriate.

How to answer behavioural interview questions: The Star Technique

To answer behavioural interview questions in a clear and concise way, you just need to follow four simple steps. The interviewer wants to hear:

  1. Situation – describe what the situation was to give interviewer some context
  2. Task – tell them exactly what role you had in the situation, and what needed to be done
  3. Action – explain what you did, and how you approached the task
  4. Result – share the result of your actions

This is known as the STAR technique.

Make sure you explain what ‘you’ did, avoid using collective pronouns like ‘we’ and ‘us’. They don’t care about your team; they want to hear about your personal achievements. Finally, make sure you share examples that relate to the job description and key competencies sought for the role.

We are a boutique recruitment agency specialising in accounting, finance, and business support. If you’d like some more advice on how to prepare for your next interview, get in touch with us today.

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