Home >> Blog >> Interviewing – How To Answer Behavioral Based Questions

Interviewing for a job can be stressful. You must convince a complete stranger that you’re qualified to do the job while explaining the tasks and accomplishments of your prior jobs. And to top it off, sometimes the person interviewing you will ask you questions that they consider “clever”, such as “sell me this pen”, “why should I hire you?”, or even, “why should I not hire you?” (I’ll admit, I’m still trying to figure that one out).

That being said, there is a method of interviewing that is very prevalent today. It’s called “behavioral based interviewing”. It’s based on the premise that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in similar situations. The interviewer is attempting to predict how you will perform by asking how you have handled similar tasks in your prior jobs. The question typically starts with, “tell me about a time when you…” For example, if you’re applying for a customer facing position, the interviewer may ask, “tell me about a time when you offered excellent customer service as a plumber?” Your response to that question should provide a specific example of how you effectively handled a customer complaint.

The best way to answer behavioral based interview questions and thus get the job you want, is using the STAR method. STAR stands for Situation Task Action Result. Let’s break this down. First, explain the situation, or context in which the job was performed. For example, going back to the customer service question, you could explain that you were sent to a customer complaining about a backed-up drain in the basement. Next, you want to explain the task, or your responsibility in the situation. Going back to the example, you could explain that you informed the customer that you were going to run a camera through to check for clogging and possible root damage. You then want to explain the action that was taken to solve the problem. In our example, you could explain that after running a camera through, you found the drain to be in fairly good shape but discovered that it isn’t set on a decline and therefore wasn’t draining effectively. You informed the customer and offered to install a water jet to push the water through. The customer consented and you installed it. Finally, you will explain the result of your actions. Going back to the example, after installing the water jet, you found that the drain was working properly and showed the customer how it worked. The customer was happy and gave you great reviews!

That is how you answer a behavioral based interview question. I encourage you to find examples of these questions and practice. Just google “behavioral based interview questions” to find examples. Understanding how to answer these types of questions and practicing will give you the confidence you need to crush the interview.