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A Sample of Behavioral Questions and Answers in a Job Interview

In a job interview, behavioral questions allow the hiring manager to gauge how a candidate would perform in a certain situation by having the candidate explain how she behaved in a similar scenario in the past. Within this interview format, questions can vary significantly, but all share the element of having the candidate provide a specific anecdote about the past. Questions can deal with handling conflict, working within a team, demonstrating leadership and solving problems.

Handling Conflict

Questions about how the candidate has handled conflict in the past are commonplace in behavioral interviews. Sample questions within this area of discussion include questions about how the candidate dealt with a professional conflict with a co-worker, how the candidate handled a time in which he didn't agree with a supervisor and how the candidate reacted to an upset customer. Candidates benefit from being as specific as possible with their answers. For example, a successful answer to a question about a conflict with a co-worker could be an anecdote about meeting the co-worker after work for coffee, discussing the disagreement and sharing feelings, and then coming to a mutual understanding.

Working as a Team

Hiring managers often look for candidates who can work within a team structure and will ask questions on this topic. Suitable questions include asking about a project the candidate handled as a member of a team, a time in which the candidate's team earned a notable accolade or award, or how the candidate reacts to constructive criticism from peers. To satisfactorily answer questions about teamwork, the candidate should draw from recent experience. For a question about an accolade or award, the candidate could explain how a five-member team of which she was a part managed to land a highly coveted advertising client in a competitive market, and then provide details about how the team accomplished the feat.

Leading Others

When a candidate interviews for a leadership position, she can often expect several behavioral questions about scenarios she's faced holding other leadership roles. Questions that ask the candidate about her leadership style, experience with delegating, skill in running a meeting and how she has led by example all allow the candidate to paint a picture of her leadership expertise. In addressing her leadership style, the candidate could explain that she likes to give her staff clear instructions and be available for questions but also trusts the team to work independently.

Solving Problems

Whether the candidate is interviewing for a management or entry-level position, the hiring manager will want to know about how the candidate solves problems. Questions that might arise include asking the candidate about a significant problem she encountered and how she overcame it, a time in which the candidate made a smart change to a project to avoid a potential problem and even a time in which the candidate failed to solve a problem. To successfully answer the last question, the candidate should provide a scenario but also emphasize what she learned from the situation and how it helped her deal with subsequent problems.



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