Job Interview Tips – How to Answer Behavior Based Interview Questions

Develop your interview skills with this guide on how to answer Behavior Based Interview Question! Employers asked this question is to look at interviewee’s past behavior to get a prediction of future behavior.

Let’s say they ask “Can you give me an example of a time that you took an initiative to solve a problem?” They want to hear your story about how you took the initiative to solve a problem. You can organize your answer using the STAR technique where you talk about Situation, Task, Action and Result. Telling a story helps to setup the picture in the interviewer’s minds. Include lots of details into it such as the dates, times, numbers and places. The more details you give, it helps the employer to understand the breath and depth of your accomplishment!

Explain to the interviewer of what you did specifically, not your team members nor your committee. They want to hear lots of “I” such as “I did this” not “We did this” as your interviewer might stop you with “That’s great that your committee did that, but what specifically did you do?”.

Behavior Based Question Answer Sample

Below is a Behavior Question sample question and answer.

Well Ayumilove, can you tell me about a time where you set a goal and you thought you did everything possible to achieve that goal but still fell short?

Sure! Actually I had a similar experiences to that during my internship during the summer of 2013 with Intel Corporation. I was working in their global health care group and one of the first task I had was working on a merger project. We are doing a pitch for them and coming up with a hypothetical merger situation.

My task was to create the merger model and come up with the analysis so we could show them our numbers so they made sense. One of my senior associates came to me and said “Ayumilove, this is your task. Go ahead with it. We are not going to help you out. Do your very best and will come to you at the end of the day.”

I literally spent the next 12 hours of that day working on a computer on my merger model, which I thought “Man, I have spent 12 hours, this is going to be perfect!~ There is nothing wrong with this.”

When I finally presented my model of saying you “We’re going to make money of this deal. The client is going to love it!” The very first thing that they do is they printed it out, took a red pen, and cross an X all the way through it…

They say “You did absolutely everything wrong that we are looking for! Although you have spent 12 hours, we have to redo this.” This is my first week as an intern, sitting there thinking. “Wow, I spent way more time than any full-time person would actually spin on this, and I did it all wrong! How is this possible? I’m not gonna get a job at all! All my dreams of doing investment making is ruin from this one engagement.

I later realized was the fact that when you come in and, this is what they told me at the end of the summer after I finally received a full-time offer: “When you come in, we understand that you don’t know everything. You are not supposed to know every single thing about investment making! However, we want to see that you are putting forth your full effort going above and beyond, and really trying to do your best in terms of what we had show you and what we wanted you do do.”

So at the end, that same senior analyst who crossed an X directly through, which I will admit it was incorrect, my work, he later said “Ayumilove spent half of the day on this model, she didn’t give up but was determined, confident in her work and what she thought was right, even though it ended up being wrong, that same determination was what helped her to be a perfect candidate for what we’re looking for a full time analyst.” So although I failed, I did my best and I’ve learned from that experience and ultimately get a return offer to Google Inc.

What Did the Candidate do Well?

Great Detail

First, the candidate provides information about her project of Google Inc, the amount of time and work she put into the project, which helps the interviewer gain a real understanding of her efforts and value of the task.

STAR Technique

Next, the candidate structured her example using the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Results)

  • Situation – Explaining her Google Inc. Summer Internship with the Global Healthcare Group.
  • Task – Explain the merger model she was developing for a client to share Google Inc. financial expectation for the merger.
  • Action – The amount of time and effort she put into the project.
  • Results – The lessons learned from her mistakes and how she overcame these failures to receive an offer for a full-time employment.

Example was focused on specific example.

The interviewed candidate’s story was focused on a specific project and experience, rather than a story about how he generally overcomes failure.

Talked about her work, not a group’s work!

Finally, the candidate story was specifically about her experience and not a shared story about team’s accomplishments.

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