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  • Writer's picturePenny Langstaff

Guide to Answering Behavioural Interview Questions

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Use this structure to plan your examples

S.T.A.R - answering behavioural based interview questions - Blog by Apply and Succeed Coaching

Behavioural interview questions usually start with “tell us about a time” or “give us an example of” and are the ones that most of us struggle with. We either get memory loss, say way too much or give too little information.

To get yourself prepared, you need to:

  1. Prepare

  2. Think of examples

  3. Structure your responses

  4. Practice, practice, practice

  1. Prepare Examples don’t just have to be from your current role. Consider each job you’ve had and if you’re just starting out, think about your internships, holiday jobs or voluntary work for potential examples.

  2. Think of examples This is where you need to look at the role you’re applying for and what questions you think you’re likely to be asked. Check out more advice and some examples of behavioural questions here to give you a start, but for example, if you're going for a role where excellent communication skills are essential, it's highly likely one of the questions will relate to this. Don't worry too much about providing high level examples. The aim of these questions is to find out how you handle different situations and not about knowing how complex the issue or problem was.

  3. Structure your responses Write down some examples using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action and Result). Putting your examples under these headings can be a good way to get your information structured. Here’s an example of how you might structure your response to a team leader question: Situation In my role at ABC Company, my team was chosen to trial a new process Task I was responsible for ensuring my colleagues/team members followed the process, recorded our progress and kept to schedule. Action We were provided with a timeline for implementation, so I had weekly meetings with the team to check on progress and weekly meetings with my manager to update them Result/Outcome The result was that we successfully implemented the process in the given timeframe and it has now been rolled out across the business You may find that some of your examples can be used for more than one question, but if possible, don’t use the same example twice and remember to try and keep your answer relevant, with just the right amount of detail.

  4. Practice, practice, practice! If possible, sit down with someone and role play or write down the questions and then record your answers. Try to remember that interviewers are interested in your particular input in the example you provide, so try and get a balance between using "we" and "I" when responding. Hopefully, the preparation and practice you do before your interview will give you the confidence to answer any question you get and if your mind does go blank, just tell the interviewers what's happened. I always think it's better to be honest than try and make up something that ends up coming out wrong!

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