GIVE YOURSELF EVERY OPPORTUNITY OF PUTTING YOUR BEST, AND MOST AUTHENTIC FOOT FORWARD
Behavioural interview questions can be some of the most difficult to answer ‘correctly’ and are often the biggest source of fear in our candidates’ eyes before an interview! We totally get it! Sometimes it feels like hiring managers are out to trip you up with those ‘there’s really no right
answer’ type questions!
In order to ensure you’re AS prepared as possible, we’ve pulled together a few examples from some popular interview questions we’ve had in the past!
Each question is followed by an explanation as to why the interviewer would be asking you these types of questions and best ways to go about answering. Think about what YOUR answers will entail possibly using the STAR Model; Addressing the: Situation, Task, Action and Result to formulate a well-rounded answer for each.
attention to detail
Q: DESCRIBE A PROJECT YOU WORKED ON THAT REQUIRED VERY CLOSE ATTENTION TO DETAIL.
A: Look for hard evidence of the candidate’s ability to keep track of details. A good response will detail the different information that the candidate was required to stay on top of and will show how he or she managed to keep track of it all.
Q: HOW DO YOU STAY ORGANIZED?
A: Someone who pays attention to details generally has an established way of keeping track of things. A good response will show that the candidate has a system for staying on top of things and makes staying organized a major part of his or her work.
Q: CAN YOU PROVIDE SOME EXAMPLES OF INSTANCES WHEN YOU’VE DISCOVERED ERRORS IN YOUR WORK OR SOMEONE ELSE’S?
A: Look for concrete examples of the candidate noticing things that slipped by others. A good response will show that the candidate has a tendency to check and double-check things.
Q: HOW DO YOU KNOW IF A PROJECT YOU ARE WORKING ON IS GOING WELL?
A: A good response will show that the candidate does not rely just on his or her own gut feeling of how things are going. Rather, the applicant will have specific, measurable milestones that allow him or her to track his or her own progress and that of the entire project.
ORAL/WRITTEN COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Q: WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN TERMS OF PRESENTING TO LARGE OR SMALL GROUPS? CAN YOU DESCRIBE A TIME WHEN YOU WERE PARTICULARLY SUCCESSFUL MAKING A SPEECH OR PRESENTATION?
A: Look for evidence that the candidate is comfortable and skilled at presenting arguments to
others. Follow up by asking about his or her preparation before presentations and the general response that those presentations received. Ask what the candidate has learned from past presentations and if there are any aspects of presenting that he or she thinks need improvement. A good candidate will always be striving to improve his or her communication skills
Q: WHAT DIFFERENT APPROACHES DO YOU TAKE IN TALKING TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE?
A: This question gets at how observant and flexible the person is about communicating with different types of people. Ask the candidate to explain how he or she might approach people differently depending on different people’s personalities.
Q: WHAT KINDS OF WRITING HAVE YOU DONE? CAN YOU GIVE EXAMPLES?
A: This question allows you to assess how important written communication has been in the candidate’s previous jobs. Ask the applicant for details about the amount of time he or she spent writing as part of his or her daily tasks. If necessary, ask for writing samples.
Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST DIFFICULT WRITING ASSIGNMENTS YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN OR HAVE TAKEN ON YOURSELF?
A: Use this question to discover the types of writing the candidate has had difficulty with in the past. A good response should detail how the candidate worked through difficult assignments and what he or she learned from the experience. Ask if the candidate was satisfied with the end results.
Q: DESCRIBE SOME RECENT DECISIONS YOU’VE MADE WHICH CARRIED MORE THAN THE USUAL ELEMENT OF RISK.
A: Different candidates will be comfortable with different levels of risk. Use this question to understand how averse to risk the candidate is. Follow up by proposing a risky business decision and ask the candidate what would be his or her approach to solving the problem. A good response will show that the candidate would take the time to consider carefully all possible actions before making a decision.
Q: TELL ME ABOUT A TIME WHEN A PROBLEM WAS NOT SOLVED THE WAY YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED.
A: This question can help you gauge the candidate’s ability to deal with problems. Probe the candidate about the method in which the problem was solved and why he or she was dissatisfied with the result. Ask him or her what lessons were learned from the experience. A good response will show that the candidate learned from the experience and will apply what he or she learned to problems encountered in the future.
Q: GIVE ME THREE EXAMPLES OF THE TYPES OF PROBLEMS YOU LIKE TO SOLVE.
A: Compare the candidate’s answers to the type of problems he or she will face in the position for which he or she is applying. Then present a sample problem that the candidate likely would face on the job. Ask how he or she would approach it, and gauge whether the candidate’s approach would make sense in the position for which he or she is applying.
Q: HOW DO YOU APPROACH SOLVING A PROBLEM?
A: Use this question to get an understanding of the candidate’s thought processes. How does he or she like to attack problems? Take note of the resources and time involved in the candidate’s approach. Does his or her problem-solving method make a good fit with your company’s culture and resources?
Q: DO YOU SET PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR YOURSELF, AND, IF SO, HOW?
A: This question will help you assess the candidate’s personal standards. Good responses will detail how the candidate measures success for himself or herself. Ask for an instance when the candidate put a lot of effort into completing a project that he or she was satisfied with. Listen to gauge the candidate’s sense of ownership and pride in his or her work.
Q: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE IN YOUR CURRENT OR PAST POSITION TO IMPROVE YOUR ORGANIZATION’S KEY METRICS?
A: This question is designed to identify candidates who take strong ownership of their work. Good answers will detail concrete examples of how the candidate has had a direct impact on his or her company’s bottom line. Compare the candidate’s response with what you expect from the position for which he or she is applying. The candidate’s response should be confirmed through reference checks.
Q: TELL ME ABOUT A TIME WHEN YOU WEREN’T PLEASED WITH YOUR PERFORMANCE. WHAT DID YOU DO ABOUT IT?
A: This question helps you assess how well the candidate deals with failure or disappointment, and how he or she measures workplace success. Press the candidate to learn about lessons he or she has learned from times when the candidate feels he or she didn’t perform well, and about any changes the candidate has made in the way he or she does things to make sure the candidate doesn’t make the same mistakes moving forward.
Q: DESCRIBE A NEW SKILL YOU LEARNED RECENTLY.
A: Top performers will take the initiative to learn new skills on an ongoing basis. Have the candidate explain the circumstances under which he or she learned a new skill. A good response will detail the skill learned and how it impacted his or her job performance. This question can also give insight into how quickly the candidate learns and under what circumstances he or she learns best.
Q: DESCRIBE A TIME WHEN YOU HAD TO ARRIVE AT A COMPROMISE OR HAD TO HELP OTHERS ARRIVE AT A COMPROMISE.
A: This question allows you to assess how the candidate views his or her role within a team. Does the candidate view himself or herself as a consensus builder? How would his or her teamwork skills work in the department for which he or she is interviewing?
Q: GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF AN INSTANCE WHEN YOU WORKED WITH SOMEONE YOU FOUND IT DIFFICULT TO GET ALONG WITH. HOW DID YOU HANDLE THE SITUATION?
A: This question will help you assess how the candidate has handled difficult interpersonal relationships in the past. Good responses will show that the candidate has had experience dealing with various personality types and is comfortable with his or her ability to handle such situations. Pay close attention to the candidate’s attitudes toward dealing with difficult people. Is he or she open and understanding, or easily annoyed? Looking back, how does the candidate feel today about “difficult” people from his or her past?
Q: TELL ABOUT A TIME WHEN YOU WORKED WITH A COLLEAGUE WHO WAS NOT COMPLETING HIS OR HER SHARE OF WORK. WHAT DID YOU DO?
A: Use this question to find out how the candidate deals with an under-performing co-worker. Press the candidate to name specific actions he or she took to try to improve an employee’s performance. How successful were those actions? The candidate’s response should be confirmed through reference checks.
Q: DESCRIBE A FAVOURITE WORK EXPERIENCE AND TELL ME WHY IT WAS SATISFYING.
A: Compare the experience the candidate describes to your company’s own working environment. Pay close attention to how the candidate interacted with his or her co-workers in the example provided. Would the candidate have similar interactions within your company?
AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW REMEMBER TO SUMMARISE AND CLOSE:
- Qualifythe process from here, including time frame, how many other stages?
- Ask if they have any concerns about your ability to succeed in this role? If there are some concerns this will give you the ability to discuss and dismiss them on the spot.
- If you are keen to move forward make sure you thank the interviewer for the opportunity to meet with them and reiterate your enthusiasm for the position by indicating you are very keen to move forward and look forward to the opportunity.
Once you’ve finished your interview, give your consultant a call to discuss. The feedback you provide will be vital in giving your potential employer some feedback and if there were any areas where you feel you could have improved, this feedback can be conveyed quickly and efficiently. You can also expect formal and honest feedback from your consultant after he or she has spoken with the client and next steps can be arranged!
To Your Success!