Careers

Submitted on Mon, 2014-03-24
By Scott Upp

Many hiring managers use the behavioral interview technique to determine a "best fit" consultant for their project.

Behavioral Interview Questions and the Best Answers

Let's go over four basic rules of thumb on how to ace behavioral interviews. Okay, the hiring manager has started asking you behavioral job interview or competency-based questions and you are ready to prove your potential value to the client. They start reciting questions such as “Tell me about the most challenging project that you worked on and what was the outcome?” or “Describe the most resourceful solution that you implemented to solve a client problem?” or “Describe the most difficult/interesting/rewarding..." or "Give me an example where you..." with a short story. How do you successfully prepare yourself to present your achievements and not let the pressure steer you off course?

Use the STAR Model Technique

The STAR technique is a framework for answering questions that stands for situation, task, action, and result:

  1. Situation: Open with a brief description of the Situation and context of the story (who, what, where, when, how).
  2. Task: Explain the Task you had to complete highlighting any specific challenges or constraint (e.g. deadlines, costs, other issues).
  3. Action: Describe the specific Actions that you took to complete the task. These should highlight desirable traits without needing to state them (initiative, intelligence, dedication, leadership, understanding, etc.)
  4. Result: Close with the Results of your efforts. Include figures/percentage to quantify the Results if possible.

STAR Tips

  1. Keep your STAR story to 1 to 3 minutes at the most.
  2. Emphasize measurable (rather than subjective) results.
  3. Make sure your answers have a beginning (Situation and/or Task), a middle (Action) and an end (Results).
  4. Add a simple positive statement at the end to reinforce the message (e.g., "We worked a lot of overtime, but it was worth the favorable results at the end of the project.")
  5. The most important tip is to make sure your answer is tied back to the character traits the interviewer is looking for (e.g., dedication or teamwork).
  6. Be Specific – Be Honest. When you are presenting your answers, always include all of the significant details. Provide the hard facts and statistics when possible; skilled hiring managers will be trained to recognize embellishments or false answers.

Good luck and enjoy the process!

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