A behavioral-based interview is a non-technical interview, where you are asked about how you solved or confronted a real problem/situation at your past work/internship (education/personal/volunteer if you have no prior work/internship experience). The premise is that how you acted in the past will provide insights into how you may act as a potential employee.
Often, this interview is conducted by an HR or senior management, such as the VP/Director. Behavioral-based interviews often begin with an open-ended question, such as “Can you describe a situation where you had difficulties with your colleagues?”. Based on your answer, the interviewer will narrow down with more probing questions, such as “How did you convince your colleague to adopt your approach instead?”
- Describe a situation where you had to overcome a difficult situation in the workplace.
- Describe a situation where you achieved your goals
- How do you work under pressure?
- Did you have a situation where you had conflicts with your colleagues? If yes, how did you resolve it?
- How do you overcome failures/objections?
Answer by using STAR technique
We recommend you answer behavioral-based questions by using the STAR approach. STAR stands for
- Situation: set the scene by providing the interviewer with context around the situation. For instance, “As a Software Engineering intern at a FinTech startup, we needed to develop a minimum viable product within 5 weeks and we had conflicting ideas on what features were deemed essential.”
- Task: describe your purpose/responsibilities in the situation. For instance, “My responsibility as a Software Engineering intern was to provide insights on what features were necessary and possible to build within the 5-week deadline.“
- Action: explain what you did to overcome the situation/problem. For instance, “I set up a survey through Reddit and Instagram to better understand what features our customers felt were essential. Based on survey results, I conducted meetings with Senior Engineers to narrow down on how long each feature would take to implement. Based on the survey and the meeting, I proposed a list of features that our customers wanted that we could realistically implement, and ‘cool-to-have’ list of features that should be rolled out in future versions but not in the minimum viable product.”
- Result: share the outcome of your action. For instance, “Through my list, we were able to create a minimum viable product containing only the really essential features that our customers were satisfied with. This generated great initial interest. We followed up with version 2 with all the ‘cool-to-have’ features, which received excellent feedback from our customers and increased our userbase by 35%.”