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Behavioral Interviews

Show 'Em What You Know


Job interview with senior business team
Buero Monaco / Taxi / Getty Images

What is a Behavioral Interview?

A behavioral interview is an employment interview during which a job applicant is asked to demonstrate his or her knowledge, skills, and abilities, also known as competencies. The applicant must tell about specific experiences when he or she demonstrated these competencies. The purpose of a behavioral interview is to allow the interviewer to determine whether a candidate possesses the competencies to perform a particular job.

How to Prepare for a Behavioral Interview

  1. Determine what competencies the employer is looking for:
    • Read through the job description.
    • If you're working with a recruiter, talk to him or her.
    • Research the company to learn more about it.
  2. Come up with examples of how you've demonstrated those competencies on past jobs. Try to answer some of the sample questions that follow, using specific examples.

Sample Questions

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with two co-workers who didn't get along with one another.


  • Describe a situation when you had to get a job done in spite of an unforeseen problem.


  • Discuss a time when you had to use your powers of persuasion to get someone to do something.


  • Give me an example of a time you had to convince others to conform to a policy you didn't believe in.


  • Tell me about a time you made a successful presentation to a prospective client.


  • Describe working on a project with a team of people who didn't always see eye to eye.


  • Give an example of a time you had to make a decision quickly.


  • Tell me about a time you did not properly handle a disagreement with a co-worker well.

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