How to Successfully Tackle the Behavioral Interview Approach

In order to tackle a job interview that behaviorally established, you need to develop a fresh understanding of how this interview system works. The Behavioral Interviewing systems that are commonly utilized today involve a method for learning one’s personal competencies / traits / behaviors and how the candidate utilizes these personal skills in getting a job done. This interview method also focuses on past successes in order to predict and assume future success within a certain company / corporation.

Behavioral Interviews - two business people at meeting

In other words, aside from learning and considering a candidate’s general level of expertise that includes their core skills and job / industry knowledge, the Behavioral Interview method focuses on what personal qualities the candidate employs in order to get work done and achieve success. There is always a list of key behavioral / personality competencies that are a necessity in order to fit into, or satisfy, a company culture. Some of these competencies are as follows:

  • Relationship Development & Management
  • Team Work & Leadership
  • Strong Interpersonal Communication Skills
  • Motivating & Caring Professional
  • Influential Leader
  • Goal-Focused

(For a more detailed list of behavioral competencies, read Harvard’s Competency Dictionary.)

These personal / behavioral competencies are a whole different set of skills than that of your basic job skills and level of expertise. In order to succeed in any interview, it is important to understand both sets of competencies / skills and to come to terms with them regarding your individual character and level of expertise.

To prepare for the Behavioral Interview:

  1. Begin by practicing on a verbal level, presenting your best or most relevant behavioral competencies you’ve employed to achieve significant success. Provide a case for a certain competency through a success story which backs it up. For example, if you utilize team leadership as one of your strong points, then come up with a former success story where you employed this skill in order to achieve it.
  2. Be specific on how you employed this behavior and define the individual components of the behavior that were used in order to shoot for, and accomplish a certain company goal. For instance, as a team leader, did you display compassion and respect while overseeing a certain project? Did you enhance staff performance through motivation and assistance? Did you set corporate goals with enthusiasm in order to drive employee inspiration and improve various aspects of business?
  3. Do your research on a targeted employer in order to learn the overall company culture in preparation for a convincing verbal presentation and success in the interview. You need to research and understand their overall vision and goals. Be aware of former corporate accomplishments, and know their clientele, services and products.Following this research, you then need to draw upon and know your personal behaviors / competencies / traits that correlate with the company culture and address the corporation needs. In addition, come up with a SHARE or success story in which you utilized a certain behavioral competency to achieve success and provide growth to an organization.

Behavioral Interviews - wordcloud

The goal for achieving success with the behavioral interview system lies in making sure that you come across as someone who will fit in with the company culture. In addition, you want to be prepared to discuss a few former incidents in which you garnered success through certain behavioral competencies in order to prove to the employer that you will more than likely achieve the same level of success for them in the future. Click here for sample interview questions provided by SHRM.

By following the simple steps provided above, and understanding the difference between your Basic Job Skills and your Personal / Behavioral Competencies, you should be much better prepared for any interview that comes your way. Good luck!

(Updated 1/26/17)

Fred Coon, CEO

At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.