As we know, preparing for an interview is essential. It has a direct result in both your confidence and competence and ultimately, your performance. With competition for jobs on the increase, it makes sense to ensure you prepare for the different types of questions an interviewer may ask. Among these, behavioural interview questions are crucial to prepare for. To help, we’ve put together a complete guide to behavioural questions, including what the interviewer wants to find out by asking them and common questions to prepare for.

What is a behavioural question?

Interviewers ask behavioural questions to determine how you might react to an issue or situation you experience in the future. Your answer to a behavioural question will reveal to the interviewer evidence of how you will react, illustrated by examples of how you’ve handled similar situations in the past.

Behavioural questions are very different from other types of questions, like competency and knowledge-based questions. These can be answered by stating the qualifications or experience you have in using, for instance, a specific piece of software.

What an interviewer looks for when they ask behavioural questions

Common behavioural interview questions can be grouped in several categories:

Two women pictured in an interview

How to prepare for behavioural interview questions

To prepare for behavioural interview questions and come up with answers, you should go through examples of behavioural questions and think of a story from your past experience that shows your competence. If you can’t think of a story that shows a successful outcome, consider sharing an example where you failed, focussing on what you learned from the experience and would do differently in the future.

It’s a good idea to prepare a few strong examples that could be adapted to various typical behavioural interview questions. If you can, try to think of a story for each of the following categories of questions. This should allow you to have something to draw from, no matter what type of behavioural question you’re asked.

Remember, an easy way to structure any interview answer is using the STAR method:

As COVID-19 was an unprecedented and difficult situation for both employees and businesses, employers may want to use behavioural questions to determine how you handled these changes personally. They may focus on your transition to remote working or how you helped your company through the challenges they faced. So, it’s a good idea to prepare an answer using an example around this topic if you can.

A businessman and businesswoman are shaking hands while another man smiles on in the background in an office environment.

Examples of teamwork behavioural interview questions include:

Examples of adaptability behavioural interview questions include:

Examples of communication behavioural interview questions include:

Examples of time management behavioural interview questions include:

Examples of values and motivation behavioural interview questions include:

As you can see, behavioural interview questions need a little bit of thought and time to answer. This is why it’s crucial to prepare before the interview. We’ve put together other interview-specific insights to help any jobseekers currently looking for a new opportunity. If you haven’t already, submit your details with us today to start your job search.

Angela Lopes Author Angela Lopes Tiger Recruitment Team