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Behavioural Interview Questions

It’s interview day. Deep breathes. Relax. Remain calm. There’s nothing to worry about. It’s reasonable to assume that the employer has been so impressed by your CV and cover letter that they believe you’re able to carry out the role on a daily basis, but they want to interview you to see if they can work with you and if you’ll fit into the company well.

Interviews are made up of lots of different little parts, from deciding what to wear, dealing with nerves and requesting feedback. However, during the interview itself you may be asked some behaviour questions. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be asked how many lunchtime detentions you served at school. Rather, behavioural interview questions are designed to test how you would respond to a situation that could arise at work.

Behavioural interview questions are designed to test the following:

- Your ability to handle, and deal with, stressful situations

- Your ability to adapt to changing situations

- Your analytical and problem solving skills

- Your attention to detail

- Your customer service skills

- Your communication and creativity skills

- Your initiative and ability to make effective decisions

- Your interpersonal and leadership qualities

- Your time management and teamwork skills.

Wow, quite an extensive list, right? Want some example questions so you can practice? Of course you do!

Picture yourself in the interview. You’re stressed out enough as it is, only for the interviewer to ask “Tell me about the most stressful situation you’ve ever experienced at work. How did you handle it?” Whatever the situation may be, it’s important that you communicate clearly and explain the situation. Though you may be able to picture that awful, awful day in your mind, the interviewer may not be able to. Communication is key, as is explaining the steps you made to counter the stress.

The questions may not all be about your work experience too. For a part-time or graduate job, you may be asked “How did you find the transition from sixth form to university? How did you handle any challenges?”

The classic question that will test your problem solving skills will be along the lines of “Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a problem? What did you do? What was the outcome? Would you have done anything differently?

You’ll also be asked if you’ve ever had to deal with an angry or dissatisfied customer. “What did you do? How was the situation resolved?”

The employer will also be keen to know how you work under pressure and may ask for “an example of a time when you had to make a quick decision. What obstacles or considerations did you have to bear in mind?”

Finally, you may all but certainly be asked about your time management and teamwork skills. It’s highly likely, after all, that the role you’re applying for makes up part of a team in one way or another. Also, with most roles carrying a variety of responsibility, you may be asked “How do you prioritise projects and tasks?” You may also be asked to “Describe a situation where you had to reach a compromise. What was the result?”

All these behavioural interview questions are likely to come up in your next interview. Prepare rough answers and have situations in mind that are straightforward to describe and showcase your skills to the max. Good luck!