In doing research for this article, I went back to basics.

What is a Behavioral Interview?

A Behavioral Interview is one in which the interviewer asks questions about past behavior in the hope of being able to predict how you would handle a situation at their company in the future.

An example of a behavioral interview question would be: Tell me about a time when you set a goal & achieved it.

This and other behavioral interview questions are the perfect opportunities to tell a great story. We have talked before on our blog about telling stories and here is where those stories come in handy.

During your general interview preparation, write out a few stories about specific events or projects which were very successful or fulfilling for you. Even something that didn’t work out perfectly can make a good story if you can talk about what you learned from it.

If you have been preparing for interviews very thoroughly, you will have compiled a list of stories from which to choose and can focus on a few for each interview. Read the job description again and see if any of your stories involve any aspects of that job and practice telling them.

Many people use a technique known as STARR to prepare for these kinds of questions. STARR provides an outline for your answer which ensures that you will hit all the important points and stay on track while telling your story. STARR stands for:

  • Situation – be specific about where you were and what you were doing.
  • Task – what you were trying to accomplish.
  • Action – what you did to accomplish the goal you were working toward.
  • Result – the outcome of your efforts.
  • Reflection – what you learned from your experience.

Practice moving from one of these elements seamlessly into the next. Be sure to point out positive results and reflections.

If you are prepared with a few relevant stories, you will never again be thrown by behavioral interview questions!

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative