What is Behavioral Interview? – Definition, Importance, Example & STAR Technique


Behavioral interviewing is like when someone asks you questions about things you have done in the past. They want to know that how you perform in that certain situations because it can help them predict how you might act in the future. It’s kind of like when your teacher asks you to show your work on a math problem. 

They want to see how you got the answer, not the answer itself. In a behavioral interview, the person asking the questions wants to know about your actions, the tasks you had to do, and the results of what you get. This helps them to understand how you handle different situations.

A behavioral interview is a type of interview technique used by employers to assess a candidate’s past behavior to predict their future behavior in a particular position. 

Other than asking hypothetical questions, behavioral interview questions ask candidates to provide specific examples of situations they have face in the past and how they handled them. 

The purpose of a behavioral interview is to check a candidate’s skills, abilities, and competencies based on their past experiences. 

By asking candidates to provide real-life examples, employers can gain some data, about how the candidates have show certain skills and behaviors in the past, which can help them determine if the candidate is a good fit for the position.

Definitions of Behavioral Interview

Richard P. White said that “A structured interview technique based on the premise that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior in similar situations.”

Barbara A. McDaniel said that “An interview method that relies on specific past examples of a candidate’s behavior to assess their skills and abilities for a particular job. Questions focus on the STAR model, allowing interviewers to gain specific and concrete information about a candidate’s past performance.” 

Kevin P. Murphy & William I. Hirsh said that “A structured interview process that uses situation-based questions to uncover a candidate’s past behaviors in specific circumstances. By analyzing these past actions, interviewers can predict with greater accuracy how the candidate will behave in similar situations in the future.” 

Timothy T. Baldwin & Daniel R. Ford said that “A standardized interviewing technique that asks candidates to describe specific situations they have encountered in the past, the actions they took, and the results of those actions. This information provides interviewers with aim data to assess a candidate’s qualifications and predict their future performance.” 

Stephen L. Jayich & Gerald L. Hesketh said “A systematic interview method that probes into a candidate’s past experiences to uncover concrete examples of their skills and competencies. By asking into specific situations and actions, interviewers can gain knowledge about a candidate’s problem-solving skills, decision-making ability, and work ethic.”

Importance of soft skills in Behavioral Interviews

Soft skills play a crucial role in behavioral interviews as they are often the focus of the questions asked. Employers are not only interested in your technical skills and qualifications but also in your ability to communicate, problem-solve, work in a team, show leadership, and adapt to different situations. These soft skills are essential for success in the workplace and are valued by employers.

During a behavioral interview, employers use specific questions to assess your past behavior and experiences to predict your future performance. By asking about situations you have faced in past, employers can gain data  into how you have shown these soft skills in real-life scenarios. Your responses provide evidence of your ability to handle challenges, work well with others, and achieve results.

For example

Communication skills may ask you to describe a time when effective communication was critical to the success of a task or project. Your response should highlight your ability to convey information, listen, and resolve any miscommunications that may have occurred.

Problem-solving skills may ask you to discuss a significant problem or challenge you have faced and how you approached finding a solution. Your response should show your analytical thinking, creativity, and ability to make sound decisions.

Leadership and teamwork skills are often assessed through questions about your experiences leading a team or working with others. Your responses should showcase your ability to motivate and inspire others, delegate tasks, and manage conflicts.

Adaptability and flexibility are also important soft skills that employers look for. Questions may ask you to describe a situation where you had to approach different individuals for support or cooperation, highlighting your ability to adjust your approach based on individual differences.

By showcasing your soft skills during a behavioral interview, you can prove your ability to grow in the workplace and contribute to the success of the organization.

STAR Technique in Behavioral Interview 

The S.T.A.R. model, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result, is a framework used to provide structured and detailed responses during behavioral interviews. It helps candidates communicate their past experiences and behaviors to show their skills and abilities.

Situation: In this step, you describe the specific situation or context in which the challenge or task occurred. It is important to provide enough detail for the interviewer to understand the background and circumstances.

Task: Next, you explain the task or aim that needed to be accomplished in that situation. This helps the interviewer understand the specific goal or outcome you were working towards.

Action: Here, you describe the actions you took to address the situation or complete the task. It is important to focus on your individual contributions and actions, even if it was a team effort. Be specific and provide details about the steps you took and the strategies you employed.

Result: Finally, you explain the outcome or result of your actions. This could include the impact of your actions, the achievements or successes, and any lessons learned. It is important to quantify the results if possible, such as percentages, numbers, or specific achievements.

Top 10 Behavioral interview Questions for 2024

These questions are designed to assess your past behavior and how it relates to the skills and qualities required for the position. Here are some examples:

  1. Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure to meet a deadline. How did you handle it?
  2. Describe a situation where you had to resolve a conflict within a team. How did you approach it?
  3. Can you give me an example of a time when you had to adapt to a new or unexpected situation at work?
  4. Tell me about a project or task that required you to use your problem-solving skills. How did you approach it?
  5. Describe a time when you had to take initiative to solve a problem or improve a process.
  6. Can you give me an example of a time when you had to work with a difficult coworker or client? How did you handle it?
  7. Tell me about a situation where you had to make a difficult decision. How did you go about making the decision?
  8. Describe a time when you had to lead a team or take on a leadership role. How did you motivate and guide your team?
  9. Can you give me an example of a time when you had to focus on many tasks or projects? How did you manage your time?
  10. Tell me about a situation where you had to communicate to achieve a desired outcome.

Remember, when answering behavioral interview questions, it’s important to use the S.T.A.R. model (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to provide a structured and detailed response.

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