It’s almost certain that when you get interviewed you’ll get behavioural interview style questions. This style of questioning is popular because it gives the interviewer an indication of how you’ll perform in the future, based on how you behaved in the past.
To prepare for this style of interview think of behavioural interview questions and the answers you might give. Essentially interview yourself!
While it’s important to realize that you’ll get different questions every time you go into an interview, it’s also important to realise that you can practice for it, because most of the questions will probably be based around a topic.
If you practice answering with a topic in mind you’ll be able to adapt your answer easier.
Lets have a look at four popular themes in behavioural questioning
Interviewers are looking for how you solve problems, do you struggle and go to pieces or are you resourceful and able to overcome difficult situations.
Example question: Give an example of an occasion when you used logic to solve a problem.
Possible Answer: “I had a big problem with data constantly changing for a project which made it difficult to reliably order millions of dollars of equipment. To over come this I initiated two things, a change control system and a flexible contract with the suppler to remove nervousness about order completion. These two factors meant I could “draw a line in the sand” and absorb the volatile nature of the data”
Do you demonstrate leadership qualities? Interviewers are looking for examples of self demonstrated leadership. You need to demonstrate how you “stepped up” without being asked.
Example question: Did you every make a risky decision? Why? How did you handle it?
Possible Answer: “When the project director took a holiday I made the most of the situation and rose to the challenge. In this time I had to decide on the fate of a suppler due to poor performance and commission another one, it was risky because the incumbent knew the company and the new one did not. I made the decision to let the current vendor go and employ the new one. It was risky but I used a risk matrix and the advice of others to make a decision”.
Do you play well with others? Interviewers use these types of questions to determine if you’re going to work well in a team and get on well with others, or if you’re more of a one person show.
Example question: Have you handled a difficult situation with a co-worker? How?
Possible Answer: “I once had a co-worker that had been drinking heavily after work and often late, which escalated into a drinking at lunchtime situation. Being aware of how sensitive this situation was I used the decline in the quality of their work to approach the situation. I was able to uncover the root cause of the drinking and describe the impact in had on others in the team. Did this help the situation, yes short term, but longer term we had to let them go.”
You might not draw impressive pictures on the wall or make clay models but that doesn’t mean you can be creative in your environment. I hate to use a cliché but can you think outside the box?
Example question: How do you handle a challenge? Give an example.
Possible Answer: “In fitting out a data center I had ordered a server that was shipped with bigger dimensions than originally supplied. This meant it didn’t fit in the lift, or through the front doors. Instead of a lengthy process of dismantling the unit and reassembly it was cheaper to hire a crane and lift it through a window on the other side of the floor”
Keep your answers brief, but don’t be afraid to mix a bit of “story telling” in. If something was funny, or exciting or unexpected show that enthusiasm in your answer.
Behavioural interview questions are a great way to prove that you’re the right person for the job if you know how to best tackle them.