Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Behavioral Interviewing - Become a STAR

I recently received a question regarding behavioral interviewing from one of my clients and thought this would make a great topic for a blog! As the job market gets flooded, it’s an employers’ ballgame when it comes to choosing who they draft for their team, and thus the interviewing and selection process usually becomes quite more involved.

Behavioral interviewing is a method of interviewing where the interviewer asks a question where you are supposed to provide a successful example of how you did something above and beyond what was asked for, showed that you had an excellent skill, tactfully solved a problem, etc. It is not new by any means, but it is becoming increasingly popular, as studies show that the most proven method of predicting future performance is by focusing on past performance and behaviors.


“Can you tell me about a time when you dealt with multiple priorities and how you handled them?”

“What have you done in your past position that was above and beyond expectations?”

“Describe a time when you successfully dealt with an extremely difficult coworker (or customer/boss/vendor)”


Make a list of the top 10 or so most commonly desirable qualities in your line of work. Not sure of what those are? Start looking for keywords in ads for positions you’re interested in (especially the ones you’re interviewing for!) and key in on commonly-used terms that are stressed as being important qualifications for your line of work. Look for words like fast-paced, multi-tasking, problem-solver, independent, proactive, organized, detail-oriented, team player, self-motivated, etc.


Take your list of qualities and keywords and come up with stories that show your excellence within these areas. Think of times that you have made a difference within your company, volunteering pursuits, or accomplished something else great. Look over your resume and job descriptions for ideas that related to your responsibilities and achievements.


Make sure when you tell your story or example you are explaining out each portion that the employer needs to hear – Situation or Task, Action, and Resolution. They need to understand what was going on, why it was a problem, what did you to solve it, and what the outcome was. Keep the STAR acronym in your mind to quickly get to the point and stay on track with your story, as you don’t want to ramble on and on.


Don’t wait until you’re asked behavioral interviewing questions to begin utilizing these fantastic accomplishment-rich answers either. They make great answers if you can find a way tie them into regular questions, because you’re not only telling the employer that you have a certain desirable attribute or skill, you’re giving them a visual of you actually using it.

Happy interviewing!

1 comment:

  1. This is a great blog. I think behavioral questions are the most common questions asked when applying for jobs, whether the company is using a PEO to administer tests or they just call you in for an interview. I have never come across a job interview where a question like that has never been asked.