Job Interview Tips – Your English Teacher Prepared You For A Behavioral Job Interview
Remember back when you faced your English Teacher in school? She always handed back your writing assignment, dripping with red ink, challenging you to do better. Did you know that her comments about your writing assignments then could have a huge impact on your success for a job interview now?
Advance preparation is necessary for your job interview; but don’t rehearse a bunch of dry, boring answers to the standard questions. Instead, prepare creatively for those behavioral interview questions that are designed to dig into your past history.
Behavioral Interview Questions
These questions analyze your past behavior and whether it will fit the employer for future success. Interviewers want to find out what you did in the past, the process you went through and the results of your actions.
Think of the standard questions that you could prepare for, and brainstorm your answers to include the following three components. For instance, if the question involved telling about a time when you had to resolve a conflict with other team members, don’t just give any answer without thinking through these areas:
Situation – Summarize the conflict as briefly as possible, in a neutral manner. Don’t gripe about the situation; rather, explain how the situation developed, and do it in a descriptive manner.
For example: “There was a time when we were individually given different instructions about how to finish an assignment that needed each of our input”… and explain a bit about it. Paint a picture (as briefly as possible) so the interviewer can see the conflict as it developed for you.
Action – Next, describe the action that you took to proactively resolve the conflict. Again, prepare your words so that the interviewer can visualize the process or action you took.
For example: “I realized the deadline wouldn’t be met when members of our team started prioritizing tasks differently. The action steps that I took were..” and then explain the steps and how you involved the other team members in a positive manner to understand the differing goals.
Results – This last part is where employers analyze whether you will bring future success to their company.
For example: “As a result of implementing a standardized schedule of priorities, our team completed the project before deadline and under budget. We accomplished this by…” and reiterate some of your steps, along with the results for each of those steps.
Keep these three components in mind when preparing your answers. But, don’t sound like a robot reciting facts. Just as your English Teacher wanted you to use descriptive phrases and comparisons so that she could envision or feel what you were writing about, the interviewer wants to fully comprehend the behavioral situation.
But, how do you know which behavioral answers to prepare for in advance? Look at the skills and qualifications that you are claiming on your resume. While reviewing your resume, the interviewer has already pre-determined the hot spots that need further questioning.
Be prepared to use descriptive answers for questions related to those skills from your resume.