Nailing the Behavioral Interview


As you make your way through the interview process, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself going through what is known as a “behavioral interview” at least once.

A behavioral interview simply is an interview strategy in which the interviewer/hiring manager works to find out how you behaved in certain workplace situations in the past. The premise – and it’s usually true – is that how we reacted in the past/what we did in the past is a good gauge of what we’ll do/how we’ll perform in the future.

Some examples of behavioral questions are:

  • Describe the most stressful work-related time of your life and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about the time you had to deal with an unhappy client and how you resolved it. Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
  •  Have you ever had to persuade someone to do something he or she didn’t want to do? Describe it for me.

In order to do well with a behavioral interview, you need to prepare. (It’s best to assume that you could be asked behavioral questions at any time during any interview, so be prepared for them at all times.)

To prepare well, you should research the company as much as you can. This is pretty easy to do today via Google and the company’s own website.

Take a look back at your own professional experience for examples of the following:

  • When you tackled something very difficult and had a successful outcome.
  • When you had to deal with extreme pressure or obstacles and how you successfully overcame them.
  • How you were able to persuade someone to do something he or she didn’t want to do (particularly applicable for sales positions).
  • How you handled an irate client or colleague.

Aim to come up with a beginning, middle and end of each of the scenarios. Tell a story (one with a happy ending, if possible, or with lessons learned, if not).

If possible, practice some tough behavioral questions with a trusted friend or mentor.

If you’d like more help with interview techniques, contact a recruiter at RealStreet Staffing. We can help our IT, architecture, engineering and construction candidates get ready for their interviews with our clients – some of the top businesses in these sectors in the Washington, DC area. We look forward to hearing from you!

A career in construction administration and management can be (and for me has been) one of constant transition. It’s rather common that employment with a given company starts and finishes with each successive project; you’re a new hire as it’s just getting “out of the ground,” then finished and looking for a new project (and Read More…

Greg Wangler, Pentagon Construction Management Division

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