5 strategies for answering those behavioral competency questions

Interviewers always use behavioral interview questions to learn more about how candidates behave in and handle difficult situations. These behavioral competency questions usually begin with a line like ‘tell me about a time when..’ Or ‘give me an example of when…’. While these questions induce fear and anxiety that is not the intention of the employer. Interviewers need to gain a sense of what kind of an employee you are and more importantly if you are not only right for the role in question but the organisation too. So what are they looking for when these ask these sticky questions? The answers interviewers are typically looking for should demonstrate the candidate’s personal qualities and illustrate soft skills. Employers are generally searching for a handful of the following skills: problem solving, crisis management, good judgement, motivation, reliability, critical thinking and creativity amongst more. So what do you need to consider when preparing for this type of question? Here’s 5 strategies for answering those behavioral competencies questions:

1.Be Prepared.

Analyse the job description and have your stories and examples ready. Take yourself back to previous days gone by when you had to make a bold decision or came face to face with workplace conflict. Take you interviewer through a brief journey of how you handled the problem from start to finish.

2.Be brief.

Avoid the temptation to go on a 10 minute tangent where your point get’s lost in a whole lot of waffle. Its crucial to articulate your point in the clearest and briefest way possible. Don’t scrimp on the detail but be conscious of a time frame.

3. Be positive.

Focus on your achievements and success where possible. This interview is a test of you and your abilities, so it’s important to highlight your good points without looking too egotistical.

4. Be truthful. 

Although it might be tempting, don’t create fantastical stories. Authenticity is important and also fact checking is a thing. If you’ve provided references, chances are they’ll check them! Truthfulness is key in an interview scenario, read more on that here.

5. Be careful. 

When you’re telling those stories about confrontation or an issue at your previous place of employment you need to be mindful of not naming names. Some information is confidential and more importantly referring to people in too much detail in an interview scenario can make you look untrustworthy and distasteful.

So there you go. That’s your next 5 strategies for answering those behavioral competency questions.

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