Behavioral interviewing

Behavioral interviewing is a widely used style of job interviewing and is used by employers to evaluate a candidate’s experiences and behaviors to determine their potential for success. Behavioral interview questions ask you to provide an example of a time you were in a particular situation or encountered a specific challenge. It's often used because it is the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation. Behavioral Interviewing is said to be 55% predictive of future on-the-job behavior; Traditional Interviewing only 10%

What the interview will look like


  • Expect a structured interview with set questions. The interviewer will be evaluating you against a pre-determined set of desired behaviors deemed necessary for success at their organization
  • Questioning may contain multiple parts and include follow-up questions for more detail
  • Be ready to relate your experiences and your transferable skills to the position and organization specifically
  • Employers will most likely take notes on your answers


How to answer behavioral interview questions


  • Tell the interviewer about a particular situation rather than providing a general response
  • Keep your answer succinct and focused, while providing enough relevant detail
  • Preparation and practice are essential. Use the list of common behavioral interview questions below to brainstorm examples and practice answering questions.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the employer and imagine how the ideal candidate from their eyes would answer the question
  • Vary your experiences as you answer – don’t just focus on a few experiences
  • Be honest, don’t embellish or simply say what you think the interview wants to hear


Use the STAR method

The STAR method is a way to structure your response to a behavioral-based interview question by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the experience you are describing.
S – Describe the Situation or event, not a generalized description
T – Describe the Task presented – what are you trying to solve or work towards?
A – Describe the Action you took, not the group as a whole
R – Describe the Result of your action – if negative, what did you learn from this experience?

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Division of Student Success
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Box 842007
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2007

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