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Behavioral Interviewing: Self-Awareness on the Job

Have you ever faced a difficult situation with a co-worker on the job? If so, how did you handle it, and what was the result?


These kinds of have you ever questions are known as behavioral questions, which are typical of most job interviews for good reason. The best indication of how someone will behave (or perform) in the future is how they have behaved in the past.


If you work or want to work in a position with a high degree of contact with members of the public, like sales, reception, and customer service, you are more likely to be asked behavioral-type questions in a job interview.


Social work, healthcare, and teaching are also areas where behavioral questions are important in interviews.


“Interviewers want to know how you will react and connect with students in various situations and want to see if your behaviors will match their expectations, procedures, and policies, so it is wise to do some research on the school before you have your interview,” said Sheila Babb, COO of Edusity’s sister company Professor Services at The Babb Group. Professor Services offers academic job search support to those seeking teaching and knowledge industry positions.


Through the use of behavioral questions, interviews can assess your soft skills. That includes listening to how you communicate, how you work on a team, and how reliable you are.


You can prepare to answer behavioral-type questions in an interview. Prepare 3 or 4 anecdotes from your working life. Then, tell the one that is most appropriate to answer the question. Prepping questions is more manageable than it sounds. The most popular behavioral interview questions fall into a few categories. Interviewers want to hear about how you overcome challenges, work under pressure, resolve or prevent conflicts and solve problems.


While preparing, reduce your anecdotes down to four parts. You want one sentence to describe the situation, another sentence to describe the task you completed, and a third sentence to describe the action you took action. The final sentence details the results. This storytelling method, known as the STAR method, highlights the answer formula: situation, task, action, and result.


Your answers to behavioral questions inform the interviewer how you will fit in on their existing team. The behavioral questions interviewers choose to ask can also reveal a lot about the company’s culture, how the current team is working together, and how they treat their workforce. Being asked a few behavioral questions over the course of an hour-long interview is normal. Being asked several in a row, though, should set off alarm bells. If you are asked three of the following five questions in the same interview, think very hard before you accept the job offer!


Can you tell me about a situation in which you were under pressure?


How do you deal with tight deadlines?


Can you give me an example of how you manage multiple parallel tasks, responsibilities, or projects?


What is your strategy for resolving conflicts in tense work situations?


Have you ever had to implement an unpopular practice or policy?


Interested in learning more? Gain insider information by learning about behavioral interviewing from the interviewer’s side. Take the Edusity online course in Behavioral Interviewing. You can start and finish on demand. https://www.edusity.com/categories/business/behavioral-interviewing-certification-hiring-for-success-52

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Kate Baggott

Head of Content and Communications at Edusity
Kate Baggott is the Head of Content and Communications for the Edusity family of companies that includes Edusity.com, TheBabbGroup.com, ProfessorServices.com and Cudoo.com

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