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Behavioral Interview - Career Services - Lake Land College, Mattoon Illinois

Career Services

Behavioral Interview

Employee turnover costs companies billions of dollars every year. Because of this, employers are constantly looking for a better way to hire individuals. The challenge for the employer during the hiring process is to find a person who not only has the requisite skills but that also has the personality and the desire to fit into the company culture.

The most common form of interview is now behavioral, or behavior-base, interviewing. This form of the interview allows the employer to ask situational questions designed to find out how the prospective employee has handled similar situations in the past. It is somewhat based on the theory that past behavior predicts future behavior. They may also ask hypothetical situations, such as how you would act in a specific situation. These types of questions tend to evoke more critical information from an applicant than many of the old standard questions did. A sampling of behavioral interview questions is included in this packet.

So how do you answer behavioral interview questions? Specifically. You will be asked to give specific examples of when you demonstrated particular behaviors or skills and that’s exactly what you should provide in your answer. The employer wants specific, detailed examples that demonstrate results. Vague or general answers are not acceptable. You should prepare examples that demonstrate successes and those that were more of a learning experience (sometimes called a failure). The SOAR model, outlined below, is a way to structure answers to behavioral questions.

SOAR Model

  • Situation - Determine the situation and events
  • Obstacle - Describe any obstacles/challenges that you faced
  • Action - Specify what action(s) you took to overcome obstacles and achieve results.
  • Results - Highlight positive outcomes.
  • In addition:
    • What you learned from the situation.
    • What you would do the same and/or different.

There are several things you should know and keep in mind when answering any type of interview question.

  • Take your time - don’t be afraid of a few moments of silence. Gather your thoughts and have a plan before you start talking. Keep in mind, however, that nobody wants dead air for several minutes.
  • Be sure to answer the question that is being asked. Listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying so you will know what they are wanting. Your answers should be concise and to the point. Be sure to cover all the bases and then stop. It is possible to say too much and talk yourself right out of a job.
  • Answers to interview questions don’t have to be based solely on work experience. School work, volunteer work, and lessons learned through hobbies are also appropriate. Just be sure to think about things in advance so that you have time to evaluate each possible situation for its appropriateness.

Preparing for and being able to answer behavioral questions will enable you to answer almost any type of interview question. Behavioral questions force you to consider your skills, talents, and weaknesses and how those contribute or detract from your work. Preparing for these types of questions is essential to your interviewing success.

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