Career Advice-Understanding & Acing the Behavioral Interview

Understanding and ACING the Behavioral Interview
6 Core Behavioral Competencies & Sample Interview Questions
© Irene Becker |  Just Coach It-The 3Q Edge™ | QBlog


What is A Behavioral Interview?

Questions that allow employers/HR hiring managers to gather valuable information on how you may behave in certain work situations, based on past behaviour being the best predictor of future behaviour.  Employers want real life examples that include quantifiable, concrete  accomplishments.

Behavioral Interviewing uses customized questions relating to 5 core behavioral competencies

Competency 1:  Coaching and Team Development =>
Communication  & Mentoring Skills

  • Developing effective, highly motivated  individuals and teams to achieve common goals.
  • Respecting, acknowledging and recognizing the contribution of each individual.
  • Encouraging individuals to develop competencies and support opportunities to use these competencies.
  • Mentoring and sharing experience and  knowledge and provides feedback to improve individual and team      performance.
  • Empowering others through delegation of  responsibility, authority and accountability.
  • Championing new initiatives and  motivating the best in others, even when they need to change.


Competency 2:  Organizational Awareness & Commitment=>
Doing what company wants-ie their goals, objectives

  • Understanding the business and all key relationships in the environment; including the decision makers, partners and stakeholders who influence them.
  • Remaining open minded and flexible when presented with different perspectives.
  • Quickly adapting one’s approach as the requirements of a situation change.
  • Understand the culture of the organization and using this understanding to further critical relationships and focus on goals and objectives.
  • The ability to align your actions and decisions with the mission, vision and values of the organization.
  • Acting with integrity and promoting consistency  among principles, values and behaviors that speak to best practices and  results.
  • Setting challenging personal and  organizational performance standards, pursuing and achieving them with  passion, purpose and energy.

Competency 3:  Relationship Building=>Ability to build relationships that further execution of projects

  • Building effective working relationships; networks of contacts and partnerships with internal and external individuals at all levels.
  • Actively listening to what  others have to say and responding in a clear, concise and diplomatic manner.
  • Adapting your communication  style as appropriate.
  • Understanding how to manage difficult communication and individuals in a way that engages the  challenging party.
  • Being self aware, perceptive and sensitive to the attitudes, feelings and concerns of others.

Competency 4:  Results Orientation=>Execution and Completion of Projects

  • Focusing on quality results, paving the way to success, while maintaining a focus on the organization’s strategic goals.
  • Bringing issues to closure  in a timely manner.
  • Project Management, Delegation, Leadership and Team building skills
  • Striving to continuously  move the organization forward by effectively and efficiently maximizing  the use of resources.
  • Advancing initiatives despite challenges and changes.
  • Creating and negotiating alternative solutions as appropriate.

Competency 5:   Strategic Thinking => Problem Solving

  • Understanding the strategic direction of  the organization.
  • Anticipating and planning for future  events, trends, problems and opportunities and exercises sound judgment.
  • Making timely decisions by taking a  broad range of issues or factors into consideration.
  • Evaluating reasonable risk taking  opportunities.
  • Developing creative solutions, stimulating new ways of thinking and solving problems.


Basic Structure of the Behavioral Interview

An interviewer first reads the lead question for the first competency, and then proceeds to obtain an overview of the event, continuing with questions about each of the other five executive competencies.

Interviewers want to learn about SAR, situation, action and results-HOWEVER, if possible you want to position your answers in RSA – results, situation-actions as the quantifiable results you have achieved will stand OUT.

Sample Behavioral Interview Questions

1.    Coaching and Team Development Questions:  Tell me about a situation where you had to coach an individual, or a group of individuals.  What was the situation? How did you approach the coaching/team development intervention? What was the outcome of your involvement?

2.  Organizational Awareness & Commitment Questions: Tell me about a time when you had to deal with different or conflicting points of view? What was the issue? How did you handle it?  Tell me about a time when you set and achieved a challenging goal at work, one that was important to do, but may have been unpopular. What was your intent in doing so? How did you sell this to others? What was it about? What was the outcome?

3.  Relationship  Building Questions:  Tell me about a time when  you had to truly listen and understand another person’s point of view in  order to solve a problem or to deal with an issue. What was the nature of the problem/issue? What was your approach in resolving it?

4.  Results Orientation Questions:  Tell me about a time when you had to face a challenge such as tight resources during a project you led or an assignment for which you were responsible. How did you handle these challenges?  How did you meet goals and objectives?

5.  Strategic Thinking Questions:  Tell me about a time when you had to anticipate potential obstacles to implementing a strategic  initiative. What were the obstacles? How did you approach the situation?   What was the outcome? How did you handle the challenges?


Tips for Acing the Behavioural Interview

Be Prepared.  Get coached or find someone you can trust to run through typical behavioural interview questions and your responses.

Think of your response as a story make sure it has a beginning, middle and end.

Use fairly recent experiences.

Be sure to have a selection of both positive and negative experiences to share.

If describing a negative experience, make sure to put a positive spin on it by talking about what you learned and how this experience made you a better leader, manager etc.

Listen carefully be ready to talk about an experience and results that demonstrate what you achieved and how you achieved it, however, if you can‟t come up with a true example for a question, then answer with how you would respond to the situation.

Stay positive during the interview, and prep yourself to be positive before the interview.  Brain science tells us that priming our brain to be happy is important to cognition, ideation, emotional wellbeing, physical health.  Take time before you practice your interview questions and before your interview that builds happiness and confidence

Do not over answer.  Address the question directly and if you are stuck simply pause, or ask for a few moments to reflect.

Remember to send an email thank-you note same day or next day

More Career Advice on QBlog?  Yes

Ten Irrefutable Laws of Successful Job Interviewing

Acing the Telephone Interview

The 3 R’s of Great Resume Writing

Career Transition Success Tips Web TV Interview:  Irene Becker-David Grossman Host

Career Satisfaction Audit

BONUSYES We have a Career Transition Toolkit that will help you move forward smarter, faster and happier 
Are you in a senior manager or executive in career transition?  Do you have to prepare members of your team for a career transition?

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Irene Becker | Just Coach It-The 3Q Edge™  | QBlog
Helping smart people and orgs move forward smarter, faster and happier
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