5 Tips to Ace a Behavior-based Interview

In a recent post, I provided job seekers with three great questions to ask in an interview that will uncover more about an employer’s performance expectations for new employees, and how you, as a candidate, need to separate yourself as the best candidate versus an average candidate. A candidate who understands what exactly is expected of them, is better able to position themselves for success in a performance-based interview.

Performance-based interviews are being used by most companies as a tool for understanding how a candidate will perform on the job. Hiring managers are being forced to ask these questions, even though sometimes they don’t even know what they are supposed to hear. Other managers are being coached on what to listen for, and ruling candidates out based on answers alone.

Examples of performance based interview questions include:

  • Tell me about at time when you had a to make a decision when your boss wasn’t available, what did you do?

  • Describe a time when you hate to motivate others to complete a task…

  • Explain a time when you did something that saved the company money, what did you do?

If you haven’t been on an interview for a while, or you have interviewed recently, it’s important to prepare yourself for questions like these to ensure you don’t get caught unprepared and flat footed at an interview. Here’s a guide to help you prepare:

How to prepare for a behavior based interview:

1. Know that it is coming and be ready for it

  • When a company invites you for an in-person interview, this is your opportunity to ask more about the interview process (who, what, where, when, and how)

  • Find out who will be on the interview team

  • Ask your recruiting contact if they use a performance-based interview process

2. Get familiar with the company's culture

  • Using the company’s website, begin by looking through the “About Us” section for clues to what makes this company unique. Typically, they should include the company history, what they believe in, and how they separate themselves from the competition

  • Look at the marketing material available, see how they engage their customers

  • Talk to people, find out what others know about the company

3. Assess your own strengths and weaknesses

  • Write down feedback you’ve received on past performance reviews about what you do well and what areas of improvement you need

  • If you’ve received recommendations from connections on LinkedIn, take a look at what they said about you… This information can be very useful in explaining how you deliver value.

  • If you’ve ever had a personality profile (i.e. DISC profile), take a look at the results, this should be very helpful. If you haven’t had a DISC profile, there are many online options available!

4. Use the STAR method (and practice with a friend)

  • [S]ituation, [T]ask, [A]ction, [R]esult

  • Focus on the individual accomplishment that YOU provided, rather than describing what your team accomplished.

  • Try to frame your responses using the core values you learned about in your research of the company to demonstrate that your actions match up with the core values of the company you are interviewing with

5. Describe, in detail, how your accomplishments helped past employers

  • Reflect on your 3-4 biggest accomplishments. How have these impacted the organization’s broader goals? Share this with your interviewer…

  • Articulate how this experience can add value to the new role

  • Provide examples of times you personally had to go beyond the call of duty to get a job done

For further assistance with properly preparing for an upcoming interview, or assistance with creating a professional resume that will help you get more interviews, contact me at (509) 947-8266 to set up an appointment.

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Career Services of Eastern WA
8350 W Grandridge Blvd, #211 Kennewick, WA 99336

Phone (509) 947-8266   

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