Behavioural Interviews

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Behavioural Interviews

One of the most common and popular interview techniques is the behavioural interview.

Behavioural interviews focus on your past behaviours in actual work or life situations and are used to assess required competencies for the position you are applying for.

The idea is that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance in similar situations. By asking questions about how you have handled situations in the past that are similar to those you will face on the job, Interviewers can determine how you might perform in future situations.

How will I know if I’m being asked a behavioural interview question?

You will know you are being asked a behavioural interview question when the question begins with:

“Tell me about a time when…”

“Describe a time when….”

“Give me an example of when you….”

“Have you ever….”

Behavioural interview questions tend to cover several common categories, including communication and interpersonal skills, teamwork abilities, leadership and management, time management, customer service skills, attention to detail, problem solving and decision-making.

A good way to identify what competencies or capabilities you might be asked about in your interview is to study the job ad or position description in detail. These documents often provide valuable clues as to the types of questions you will be asked.

The STAR Formula

During behavioural interviews, you will be asked to give specific examples from past experiences in your work, life, school etc. The best way to answer each question is using the STAR formula:

Ensure your responses are specific, concise and do not ramble. Be prepared with responses to potential questions and pause if you need to gather your thoughts.


Q: Describe a difficult situation or problem that you had to resolve in your last job. (Assessing Problem-Solving & Sound Judgement)

A: “The customer service department I worked in at ABC Corporation was getting inundated with complaints about late or missing deliveries (Situation). I was requested to communicate and update customers on their late or missing deliveries (Task) so I discussed the situation with my Supervisor who indicated he would organise a meeting with the Logistics Manager to assess the situation and discuss our concerns.

At the meeting, I explained the high number of complaints we were receiving to the Logistics Manager who explained that there was an issue with stock not coming through on time. I volunteered to liaise with the Inventory Coordinator to find out what was happening. The Inventory Coordinator explained to me that inventory requests were not being processed fast enough and that the backlog was in the Orders department as they were not following up adequately with the suppliers. A system for regular follow up was quickly implemented, allowing the orders department to keep on top of orders status. I liaised with the Orders department to determine order ETAs which I then communicated to our customers (Action). The new system implementation sorted out the stock problems and the delivery staff were able to meet their deadlines, therefore, the number of complaints was significantly reduced and customers were satisfied with the services and communication we provided” (Result)