Think You Know Everything about Job Interviews? Print E-mail

by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC

If you think you know everything there is to know about job interviews, it is time for you to shift your mindset and re-think your job interview strategies. More and more hiring managers are moving to behavioral interviews to get a better sense of how you will actually perform on the job. Follow these tips to get ready for your best interview ever!

Most people feel confident about their interpersonal skills and think they are prepared for the typical interview. And that may be true for what was once the “typical” interview. However you may be surprised by some of the behavioral questions that hiring managers tend to emphasize in today’s job interviews. The last thing you want to do is draw a blank during the interview because a behavioral question surprises you.

Behavioral Question Format

Become familiar with the format of the behavioral question to be prepared for and comfortable in the interview. Interviewers using this technique will often ask questions such as:

  • Tell me about a time when you avoided going over budget on a key project.
  • How do you manage unexpected delays when under a tight time frame?
  • Give three instances in which you effectively managed challenging personnel issues. How did you decide the best solution?

Hiring managers use these types of behavioral questions to compare your past performance to how they predict you may respond in situations that are routine for the open position. Make your responses as specific as possible to help the hiring manager “see” you as the best possible candidate.

Behavioral Answer Formula

Prepare for the behavioral interview by shifting your mindset to respond as if these types of questions are essay questions. The behavioral interview question creates an open-ended opportunity for you to present your experience and talents in the best possible way to support your candidacy!

A broadly used “formula” for creating effective answers to behavioral questions includes four components, which are:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Response
Including these details in your response helps you remember to include all the necessary information to help the hiring manager recognize your abilities to effectively handle difficult challenges in the workplace. Remember to be conversational in your response. Being too formulaic is likely to work against you, making you appear nervous or unconfident.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Pair up with a job search buddy or family member to practice your responses for the interview. Just as in speech class or oral exams, repetition helps you perform better when it is time for you to think on your feet. Granted you cannot forecast the exact questions you will face, but the process of sifting through your experience for specific examples to potential questions will better prepare you. Being ready with details helps you think more quickly during the interview so that you can combine different examples to showcase your talents and abilities.

Follow Your Resume

Once you practice your responses to behavioral types of interview questions, you may recognize the need for additional changes to your resume. Create a perfect alignment with your brief elevator-style responses and the accomplishments highlighted on your resume to catch and hold the attention of the hiring manager.

Distinguish yourself from the competition by presenting a consistent image of your unique skills and talents in every contact with the hiring manager. By aligning your resume and your responses to highlight specific accomplishments, you will rise to the top of the interview list to land your next job!