Six Types of Behavioral Interview Questions
Most recruiters have been using the same set of outdated interview questions for years to try and evaluate a candidate. Most interview questions are less about trying to find the right person for the job and more about seeing how well the job seeker has rehearsed to answer a series of typical interview questions.
In addition to being prepared to answer the most common interview questions, behavioral situational interview questions are something that many hiring managers will incorporate in the interview. In contrast to typical interview questions such as “tell me about yourself” or “What are your strengths/weaknesses,” behavioral questions seek to understand how you’ve handled various work scenarios that arouse in the past.
Hiring managers are seeking concrete examples of skills and qualifications that are directly related to the position at hand.
Six Types of Behavioral Interview Questions
Although there are hundreds of potential behavioral questions that may be asked during an interview, there are six types of questions that they usually fall under.
1. Teamwork Questions
Teamwork questions are the most common types of behavioral interview questions that seeks to determine how well of a team player a candidate is. Being a team player is one of the most important attributes of any employee, from a minimum wage worker to a C-Suite executive. When answering these types of teamwork questions, be sure to demonstrate your teamwork skills by sharing concrete examples. Three possible questions include:
1) Give me an example of a team project that failed and how you handled it?
2) Discuss a time when you worked with a boss whose personality was very different from yours.
3) Describe a rewarding team experience.
2. Leadership Questions
In any type of leadership role, and even those positions with no direct reports, leadership questions are seeking how well a candidate can effectively lead and delegate responsibility. Leadership questions are concerned with understanding the leadership skills of a candidate including motivating others, developing teams, taking initiative, empowering others, and delegation.
Even if you are not applying for a leadership role, many interviewers may still ask these types of questions to determine your leadership potential. Three possible questions include:
1) Give me an example of someone you have coached/mentored to achieve success?
2) Tell me about a time when you led a project and it failed? How did you handle it?
3) Describe a time when you led by example.
3. Conflict Questions
Hiring managers ask this question to determine how well a candidate manages conflict. As with all behavioral interview questions, you’ll want to provide specific examples of how you handled any situation that you’re asked about. Regardless of what type or level of job you are seeking, a strong ability to effectively handle conflicts is a valuable and sought-after skill. Three possible questions include:
1) Give me an example of when you had to work with someone difficult.
2) Tell me about the most difficult customer/client you had to deal with.
3) How do you handle conflicts at work?
4. Problem Solving Questions
All jobs require problem solving skills in one form or another. Problem solving skills encompass your ability to identify issues, problems, and opportunities and create solutions. Hiring managers are concerned with a candidate’s initiative, creativity, resourcefulness, and determination in finding a solution. Problem solving qualifications also demonstrate a candidate’s motivation and proactiveness in contributing to an organization. Three possible questions include:
1) Describe a situation when you had to solve a difficult problem.
2) Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond to get things done.
3) Give me an example of how you discovered a creative way to overcome an obstacle.
5. Adaptability Questions
Being able to adapt to dynamic situations is a key element of an effective employee. These types of questions are also known as “failure” questions since they may ask about your failures and how you handled them. These questions can be tough since they focus on a negative experience and are comparable to the what is your greatest weakness question. Three possible questions include:
1) Tell me about a time when your company was undergoing change and how did you handle it?
2) Give me an example of when you were under a lot of pressure and how you handled it?
3) What is your greatest professional failure?
6. Motivation Questions
Many interview questions may be trying to determine your overall motivation and work-ethic. Hiring managers want to screen out people who talk a good talk but slack off when they’re hired. Every candidate can claim they have a strong work-ethic and come across as motivated but these types of behavioral questions will seek specific examples. Three possible questions include:
1) Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment.
2) Tell me about a time when you had to manage several projects at the same time.
3) Describe a time when you were dissatisfied in your work and how you handled it?
There are literally hundreds of behavioral interview questions that can be asked during an interview but they generally fall under these six types. Be ready to answer several variations of behavioral interview questions. Preparing yourself for these types of behavioral questions will give you an edge over candidates who just think they are good interviews and don’t need to prepare.