At school, we were taught many different things – how to divide and multiply, how the black death broke out and killed thousands and how complex gases make up the solar system. But, at no point where we taught how to prepare for an interview, or how to answer behavioural interview questions. Interviews have the power to change our lives. If they go well, of course – and for them to go well, we need to prepare.
When we are young and daydreaming about our dream career, we can be naïve. We believe that we can do anything, land any job but as we get older we realise we have to climb what feels like mount Kilimanjaro first – Kilimanjaro being the interview!
Going for an interview can be terrifying! It can cause sleepless nights and unavoidable anxiety. We worry about everything and I mean EVERYTHING – what we are going to wear, how we are going to present ourselves and how we are going to mention all the amazing skills we have! We have all been to one of those interviews which was just like something out of a nightmare. Unprepared, awkward and just an utter mess. But, if we properly prepare, going for an interview can become a breeze.
My first tip – always know exactly how to describe yourself, your wants and needs, your hobbies, your aspirations. It is more than likely that in an interview, the interviewer will say “So tell me a little bit about yourself”. If you’re like me, painting a divine picture of yourself can be incredibly hard and a little cheesy. But, believe it or not, this question is not the worst – the Behavioural Interview Questions are, they are impossible!
Interview questions are usually categorised to ensure each candidate has the skills and attributes desired. These categories are – Teamwork, Client/Customer Facing, Ability to adapt, Time Management, Communication Skills, Motivation and Values. It should also be noted, that depending on the role you are applying to, the Behavioural Interview Questions may vary. These questions are all set out by employers with an aim to assess your responses, skills and attributes in relation to a job post.
Here are the top five Behavioural Interview Questions which I have come across in my own personal experiences. Beware, they can be considered nightmarish!
‘Give An Example Of A Time You Went Above And Beyond To Help A Customer’
This one applies mostly to retail or any other role which involves working directly with customers or clients. Employers want to hear about your experiences, of course, this is the purpose of behavioural interview questions. For this question, employers want to know what you did and why – they want to understand your motives and your reason for helping. Just don’t say ‘well it was my job’, cause if you do, you probably won’t get the job. Don’t fear the Behavioral Interview Questions if you have no or little experience with customers – just look at situations where you have had to help somebody out, like the old lady who lives next door or the pregnant woman who needed a seat on the bus. Show off your compassion.
‘Tell Us About A Time You Had To Use Your Own Initiative’
Now, this is a really important question. It comes up quite a lot in Behavioral Interview Questions.
This question is designed to assess whether you are a quick thinker, whether you can deal with challenging situations and how you will react to such dilemmas. An example of using your own initiative is this – I was working at my local supermarket. It was a Sunday afternoon, just before closing and I was faced with a customer who had picked up broccoli without a barcode. I needed a barcode to scan but the store was about to close and I already had an impatient queue of customers. So, I used my initiative and looked around, I examined the till next to me and found broccoli on the conveyer belt next to me. I scanned that and the customer didn’t have to wait.
This example shows the employer that you are capable of using your initiative to get a challenging situation resolved quickly and effectively.
‘Give An Example Of A Time You Worked In A Team’
Being able to work well in a team is vital to most job positions out there. We are required to interact and work with other like-minded people. This one of the Behavioral Interview Questions allows an employer to imagine what you would be like in a team environment and whether you would fit in with their already-established team. The last thing an employer wants is somebody who finds it hard to work with others.
‘Tell Me About A Time You Remained Calm Under Pressure’
This question is one that I have come across most! This is one of the Behavioral Interview Questions which is incredibly important to employers, it shows them that you are capable of controlling challenging situations, that you are able to remain calm and overcome obstacles. Have a good example prepared for this question!
‘Describe A Decision You Made Which Was Unpopular And How You Handled Implemented It’
This one is one of the Behavioral Interview Questions which is more likely to come up for those who have applied for managerial roles. So, it is less likely to come up in an interview for a trainee or graduate role. This question is designed to show employers whether you are capable of implementing unpopular change or decisions and whether you are capable of taking on such responsibility.
Remember, prepare and rehearse for every job interview and don’t overlook those Behavioral Interview Questions. If you prepare for these, you will breeze through your interview. Good Luck!
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A university graduate, aspiring scriptwriter and part-time script reader, I am always happiest when writing. Whether that be a fictional story or a non-fictional lifestyle article.