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75 Behavioural Interview Questions To Select The Best Candidate

Its a well known fact that looking at a candidates past behaviour is the best way to predict their future performance. So dont waste any more precious interview time asking hypothetical questions. Behavioural interview questions will let you understand in detail how a candidate has acted in specific situations. First, identify the core behaviours youd like your candidates to demonstrate. Then you can then select your specific questions from the list below. Remember to assess all candidates against the same behavioural criteria!

ABILITY TO HANDLE STRESS


1. What has been the most stressful situation you have ever found yourself in at work? How did you handle it? 2. What have you done in the past to prevent a situation from becoming too stressful for you or your colleagues to handle?

ADAPTABILITY
3. Tell me about a situation in which you have had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle it? 4. Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a colleagues working style in order to complete a project or achieve your objectives. 5. How was your transition from high school to university? Did you face any particular problems? How did you handle them?

ANALYTICAL SKILLS / PROBLEM SOLVING


6. Describe the project or situation that best demonstrates your analytical abilities. What was your role? 7. Tell me about a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation. What kind of thought process did you go through? Was the recommendation accepted? If not, why? 8. Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem. What did you do? What was the outcome? What do you wish you had done differently? 9. What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a decision? Why?

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

10. What process do you use to check that you have the right details from a customer? 11. Give me an example of a time you discovered an error that been overlooked by a colleague. What did you do? What was the outcome? 12. Tell me about a time that you were confused by a customers request. What steps did you take to clarify things?

CLIENT FOCUS / CUSTOMER ORIENTATION


13. When have you had to deal with an irate customer? What did you do? How did the situation end up? 14. Tell me about a time you have inherited a customer. What steps did you take to establish rapport with them? What did you do to gain their trust? 15. How have you handled a situation in the past where your client has changed the brief or changed the goalposts? 16. Give an example of a time you went well out of your way to ensure a customer received the best possible service from you and organisation. What was their reaction? 17. When have you ever gone out on a limb to defend a customer? What happened?

COMMUNICATION
18. Tell me about a recent successful experience in making a speech or presentation? 19. When have you had to present to a group of people with little or no preparation? What obstacles did you face? How did you handle them? 20. Have you ever had to sell an idea to your co-workers? How did you do it? 21. Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa). 22. What obstacles or difficulties have you ever faced in communicating your ideas to a manager? 23. Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication skills in order to get an important point across. 24. When have you chosen to communicate a particular message in person as opposed to via email even though the email channel would have been a lot faster?

CREATIVITY
25. When was the last time you thought outside the box and how did you do it? Why? 26. Tell me about a problem that youve solved in a unique or unusual way. What was the outcome? Were you happy or satisfied with it? 27. Give me an example of when someone brought you a new idea that was odd or unusual. What did you do? 28. When have you brought an innovative idea into your team? How was it received?

DECISION MAKING

29. Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed. How did you handle it? 30. Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision. What obstacles did you face? 31. What is the most difficult decision youve ever had to make at work? How did you arrive at your decision? What was the result? 32. Give me an example of a business decision you made that you ultimately regretted. What happened?

GOAL SETTING
33. Give me an example of an important career goal which you set yourself and tell me how you reached it. What obstacles did you encounter? How did you overcome the obstacles? 34. Tell me about a professional goal that you set that you did not reach. How did it make you feel? 35. How have you gone about setting short-term goals and long-term goals for yourself or your team? What steps did you take along the way to keep yourself accountable?

INITIATIVE
36. Describe a project or idea (not necessarily your own) that was implemented primarily because of your efforts. What was your role? What was the outcome? 37. Describe a situation in which you recognized a potential problem as an opportunity. What did you do? What was the result? What, if anything, do you wish you had done differently? 38. Tell me about a project you initiated. What did you do? Why? What was the outcome? Were you happy with the result? 39. Tell me about a time when your initiative caused a change to occur. 40. What has been the best idea you have come up with during your professional career?

INTEGRITY/HONESTY
41. Discuss a time when your integrity was challenged. How did you handle it? 42. Tell me about a time when you experienced a loss for doing what is right. How did you react? 43. Tell me about a business situation when you felt honesty was inappropriate. Why? What did you do? 44. Give a specific example of a policy you conformed to with which you did not agree. Why?

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
45. Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. How/why was this person difficult? How did you handle it? How did the relationship progress?

46. Describe a situation where you found yourself dealing with someone who didnt like you. How did you handle it? 47. Describe a recent unpopular decision you made. How was it received? How did you handle it? 48. What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients in guiding and maintaining successful business relationships? Give me examples of how you have made these work for you. 49. Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa). How did you handle the situation? 50. Tell me about a time when you had to work on a team with someone you did not get along with. What happened? 51. Describe a situation where you had a conflict with another individual, and how you dealt with it. What was the outcome? How did you feel about it?

LEADERSHIP
52. Tell me about a team project when you had to take charge of the project? What did you do? What was the result? 53. Describe a leadership role of yours outside of work. Why did you commit your time to it? How did you feel about it? 54. What is the toughest group that you have ever had to lead? What were the obstacles? How did you handle the situation? 55. What has been your greatest leadership achievement in a professional environment? Talk through the steps you took to reach it. 56. What have been the greatest obstacles you have faced in building/growing a team? 57. Describe a time when you have not only been responsible for leading a team of people but for also doing the same job as your team members? How did you juggle/balance your time?

PLANNING AND ORGANISATION / TIME MANAGEMENT


58. Describe a situation that required you to do a number of things at the same time. How did you handle it? What was the result? 59. How do you prioritize projects and tasks when scheduling your time? Give me some examples. 60. Tell me about a project that you planned. How did your organize and schedule the tasks? Tell me about your action plan. 61. When has a project or event you organised not gone according to plan? What happened? Why? How did you feel?

SALES / NEGOTIATION
62. Tell me about your previous success in building a customer base from a standing start. What steps did you take? 63. What is your greatest sales-related achievement to date? What steps led to the final outcome?

64. Describe a time when you convinced a resistant customer to utilize your services. 65. What was the most stressful professional negotiation you have been involved in? How did you handle it?

TEAMWORK
66. Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did you do? 67. Tell me about a time when you worked with a colleague who was not doing their share of the work. How did you handle it? 68. Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or help others to compromise. What was your role? What steps did you take? What was the result? 69. Tell me about a time when you had to work on a team that did not get along. What happened? What role did you take? What was the result? 70. What was the biggest mistake you have made when delegating work as part of a team project? 71. Tell me about a time when you had settle a dispute between team members. How did you go about identifying the issues? What was the result? 72. What have you found to be the difficult part of being a member, not leader, of a team? How did you handle this?

TENACITY / RESILIENCE
73. Tell me about a particular work-related setback you have faced. How did you deal with it? 74. When have you ever found yourself in a competitive situation professionally? How did you handle it? 75. When have you seen your tenacity or resilience really pay off in a professional setting? What was the outcome?
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Sample Behavioral Interview Answers


Below are some possible behavioral questions with answers. Use them to help you prepare your own answers to behavioral questions. POSSIBLE QUESTIONS 1. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a major change, one that affected your entire team. 2. Tell me about a time when you had to tell your team about a major reorganization in the unit. 3. Give me an example of a good decision you made recently.

POSSIBLE ANSWER (Note - One answer can work for more than one question as long as it covers the required competencies): Situation and Timeframe: About 18 months ago, there was a major reorganization in my Branch. Two units were merged to form one completely new unit. Several of the employees on my team were moved to a new team while others were expected to take on different tasks. Also, new employees from a different unit joined my team. Everyone was nervous and stressed. Behaviors: The first thing I did was call a face-to-face meeting with my entire team, bringing people in from across the country for a two-day workshop. I decided to have the workshop off-site so that we could concentrate on the task at hand and not be distracted by day-to-day activities. I chose a hotel about 50 kilometres from the office with great conference facilities, a good restaurant, a gym and a spa. Having people stay at the hotel overnight meant that they could get to know each other on a social basis as well as on a work basis. I gave them free time between 4pm and 6pm on the first evening and invited them to meet me for dinner at 6:30pm. After dinner, I asked them join me for a short session to reflect on the events of the day and plan for the next day. To ensure that things ran smoothly I hired a facilitator who was experienced with the SOAR method of strategic planning (a variation of Appreciative Inquiry). My reason for getting the team together like this was not only for us to get to know each other and build trust in the team but also to set some goals for the team and plan some processes for going forward. I decided to end the second day around 2pm to give everyone time to get home or to the airport in good time. To that ensure we made the most of the day I ordered lunch to be brought into the board room so that we could work straight through. Outcome: The workshop was a great success. New team members felt welcomed and valued. Existing team members felt equally valued. Everyone was pleased to have some input into how we would work as a team going forward. When the reorganization finally occurred, we were ready. Competencies Used: Change Leadership, Team Leadership, Initiative, Strategic Thinking, Communication, Decision Making MORE QUESTIONS:

1. Describe a time when you initiated a major change in your unit/branch and met with considerable resistance from your team. 2. Describe a situation where you had to deal with a major conflict in your team. 3. Give me an example of a difficult decision you made recently. POSSIBLE ANSWER: Situation and Timeframe: Last year I was really unhappy with the way my team was functioning. I had inherited two new units within a six-month period and there really werent any commonalities amongst the (now) three groups. One group was responsible for applications, the second group was responsible for programs and the third group was responsible for policy. Not only did they not know what each other did, they did not seem to be interested. In addition to that, there was a certain amount of rivalry/conflict between the groups. Since they worked on different floors they rarely met outside of staff meetings. Behaviors: To try to change this and to get some cohesion across the team, I decided to move some of the team members around. First, I met with them individually to let them know what I planned. I asked them to think about where they would like to go. I explained that I might not be able to satisfy all their requests but that I would do my best. There was a great deal of resistance to my plan. Several team members came to see me, saying that it would never work. They pleaded lack of skills knowledge and competencies. I reassured them and told them that they would receive training/coaching for the new tasks. Not only that, I arranged that there would be several days of job shadowing before they took over their new responsibilities. I helped them to think of the changes as opportunities to learn and grow. Once they saw it that way they were more willing to agree to my plan. Outcome:
As a result of this the three units came together as a strong team. An added bonus was that individual employees began to fill in for each other when someone was away or provide extra help when deadlines were tight.

Competencies Used: Change Leadership, Team Leadership, Team Building, Decision Making, Communication FURTHER QUESTIONS:

1. Tell me about a time when you were asked to be a part of a change management initiative for your organization 2. Tell me about a time when you were tasked to do something you did not feel comfortable doing. Situation and Timeframe: Two years ago, I worked for a large global pharmaceutical company whose headquarters were based in Basil, Switzerland. The company had been struggling for a while to meet its projected sales numbers and the shareholders were getting restless. The CEO decided it was time for a change. The Vice President of Human Resources hired a consulting company to shake the organization up. I was asked to be part of the change management team with about 60 other people from across the organization. We were all invited to corporate headquarters for two weeks of training. At first I was nervous because I am very introverted and I was worried about getting to know all those new people. Behaviors: However, I told myself that we were all in the same position and I decided to make the most of the opportunity. Once there, I took it upon myself to get to know several members of the team on a one-on-one basis. I invited one for coffee, another for dinner, asked another to go for a walk, etc., etc. until I felt comfortable with them. This helped me participate in group sessions and gave me the confidence I needed to start implementing the change processes when I returned to my country. The first thing I did when I got back to the office was to debrief the senior management team, present a plan and a budget for going forward and ask for approval to put the plan in place. Then I prepared a deck and organized a series of briefings. Next, I asked for volunteers to be part of a change management team that would spread out across the country to develop a critical mass for change. Outcome: By working together and sharing our knowledge and experiences we were eventually able to create a buzz around change. It was a slow process, but after several months we started to see some changes in the organization. We are not there yet, but sales are beginning to pick up. Competencies Used: Change Leadership, Decision making, Teamwork/Team Leadership, Communication, Initiative, Adaptability, Self-confidence ANOTHER QUESTION:

Tell me about a time when you had to change your presentation at the last minute to suit the audience Situation and Timeframe: Three months ago I was asked to make a presentation on a new piece of software we were introducing to the Human Resources Branch. I was pretty nervous because I had never made a presentation in front of more than three or four people before and then it was always in front of y team members. At first didnt think much about the audience because I was focusing on developing my slides and on what I would say. Then on the morning of the presentation it occurred to me that perhaps the HR team wouldnt understand some of the jargon I was using. Behaviors: There wasnt much time so I called a friend in the HR department and asked her if I could go and see her. I asked her to look at my presentation and tell me if she could follow it. She had difficulty understanding some of the technical terms and she thought her colleagues would have the same problem. So, I went to see my team leader and asked her if she would help me explain things in plain language. We worked on it together for over an hour then it was time for me to deliver it. I spoke confidently using the right language for my audience. Outcome: The HR team understood everything I said and gave me a great round of applause at the end. I felt really good about this and volunteered to make the same presentation to other branches in the organization. Competencies Used: Change Leadership, Communication, Client Focus, Teamwork, Initiative A FINAL QUESTION: Tell me about a time when you were working on a favourite project and your manager told you the project was cancelled and that she needed you to start working on something else right away. Situation and Timeframe: Two years ago, I was working on a project to develop some new tools to help implement my company's competency profiles. I had been contacted by someone from HR who wanted me to help them develop some self-assessment tools for employees and an interview guide for hiring managers.

My contact in HR had some good ideas about what he wanted but did not have the technical skills to do it. We had been working together for about six weeks and were in the middle of development when my manager told me that a new priority was to take precedence over this one. Behaviors: I told my manager I could do both, but she said that was not possible and suggested I contact HR right way to let them know. I was very disappointed and I knew they would be too, but I accepted my managers explanation without complaining. That night, however, I had an idea. I knew that we were getting two new Co-op students in the coming weeks, so the next morning I suggested to my manager that if one of the Co-op students could work on the HR project, I could oversee it without compromising my own work on the new priority. My manager agreed with the understanding that if I got behind with my own work, I would have to give up the HR project altogether. I agreed to that. The Co-op student was excellent and with very little supervision from me he completed the project in record time. Outcome: HR was very happy with the new tools, my manager was pleased because we had a happy client, the Co-op student was pleased because he had had the opportunity to use his developers skills and I was happy because my pet project was up and running for everyone to see. Competencies Used: Client Focus, Innovation, Flexibility/Adaptability, Teamwork, Initiative