Be On Your Best Behavioral Interview


So you’ve submitted your resume for the perfect opportunity and of course, the company has scheduled you for an interview. You walk in completely prepared for the standard interview questions; strengths, weaknesses, 5 year plan, what you bring to the table etc. But as the hiring manager begins the interview, she has another method in mind, the behavioral interview. If you haven’t been exposed to behavioral interview questions before, you may end staring right back like a deer in the headlights, that is, unless you know how to prepare for these questions as well.

The purpose of the behavioral interview question style is to see how you have performed in the past, not how you would approach the current position you have applied for. This style of question can really catch some people off guard. In order to prepare for this type of interview, first, understand what these questions are looking for and how they are structured, then contemplate your experience for several examples of your performance that you can reach for in this type of interview scenario. Let’s first examine some common behavioral interview questions:

  • Tell me about a time that you to work against a tight deadline, and how you overcame this.
  • Tell me about a time you failed. What did you learn from that experience?
  • Tell me about a time that you had a disagreement on your team and how you handled it.
  • Please describe an example of how you have taken initiative.
  • Give me an example of a time you had to conform to a work policy that you did not agree with.
  • Describe a time that you used persuasion to convince others to see something your way.
  • How do you deal with conflict? Please give me an example.

After seeing the basic form of the behavioral interview question, can you see how someone unfamiliar with this questioning method might be caught off guard? There is really no way to memorize answers for these types of questions. Instead, simply prepare for the interview with these types of questions in your mind. Review your work experiences and think about various times that you were under a deadline and how you felt, how you reacted and what you gained from the experience. Think of team experiences, your interaction with others, specific examples of success and failure.

Describing your values and ideals may not be good enough in the behavioral interview process. You are going to have to come up with specific examples in order to do well on these interviews. As always, if you are prepared, you will do just fine. Another part of the behavioral interview is observing how the candidate reacts under the pressure of these questions. When you are able to simply relate experiences and confidently weave them into the hiring managers questioning, you have increased your chances of walking away with the career move you have been waiting for.

Matthew is an AVP with CPA By Choice, a Human Capital Solutions firm headquartered in Miami, FL. When midsized companies are in need of part time or temporary CFO services for a transformation, M&A scenarios or need financial and accounting management of any kind, they look to CPA By Choice. When seeking out permanent Human Capital Solutions, look to Staffing By Choice.

Feel free to connect with Matthew on LinkedIn and share your interview success story, though the failures are sometimes worth sharing for others to learn from as well!

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