Behavioural Questions


Behavioural questions are used in interviews to ascertain a candidate’s behaviour in previous jobs as it is believed how they have dealt with issues in the past is an indicator of how they will behave in the future. Candidates are posed with questions to which they have to give real life examples. It is recommended that candidates prepare answers under the following headings to use in the interview.

ORGANISATIONAL SUCCESS

Teamwork/cooperation

  • Gaining the cooperation of others can be difficult. Give a specific example of when you had to do that and what challenges you faced. What was the outcome?
  • Please give me your best example of working cooperatively as a team member to accomplish an important goal. What was the goal or objective? What was your role in achieving this objective? To what extent did you interact with others on this project?
  • Tell me about a time when your co-workers gave you feedback about your actions. How did you respond? What changes did you make?

Commitment to continuous quality/process improvement

  • In your last job, what problems did you identify that had previously been overlooked? Were changes made? Who supported the changes as a result of your ideas?
  • Describe something you have implemented at work. What were the steps you used to implement this?

Creativity/innovation

  • Describe the most significant or creative presentation/idea that you developed/implemented.
  • Describe a time when you came up with a creative solution/idea/project/report to a problem in your past work.

Flexibility/adaptability to change

  • By providing examples, demonstrate that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and/or environments.
  • What do you do when priorities change quickly? Give me one example of when this happened.
  • When was the last time you felt pressure on a job? How did the situation come about? How did you react? What made you decide to handle it that way? What effect, if any, did this have on your other responsibilities?

Continuous learning/development

  • Describe a decision you made or a situation that you would have handled differently if you had to do it over again.
  • What have you done to further your own professional development in the last 5 years?
  • Tell me about a job that you had which required you to learn new things.

Leadership/initiative

  • What are 3 effective leadership qualities you think are important?
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to approach things your way. At what level was the person you had to persuade?
  • What risks did you take in your previous job? Tell me about it.

MAKING PEOPLE MATTER

Interpersonal skills

  • Tell me about the most difficult challenge you faced in trying to work cooperatively with someone who did not share the same ideas. What was your role in achieving the work objective? What was the long-term impact on your ability to get things done while working with this person?

Supports diversity and understands related issues

  • Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a wide variety of people by accepting/understanding their perspectives.
  • What have you done to further your knowledge/understanding about diversity? How have you demonstrated your learning?
  • Can you recall a time when a person's cultural background affected your approach to a work situation?
  • How have you handled situations in which you could not understand a customer's strong accent?
  • Tell me about a time that you adapted your style in order to work effectively with those who were different from you.
  • Give examples of when your values and beliefs impacted your relationships with your co-workers.

Builds trust

  • Keeping others informed of your progress/actions helps them feel comfortable. Tell me your methods for keeping your supervisor advised of the status on projects.
  • If you can, tell me about a time when your trustworthiness was challenged. How did you react/respond?
  • Setting high expectations implies you believe the employee can deliver. Give me an example of having done this.

Positive attitude

  • What 3 specific things about your last job gave you the most satisfaction? Why?
  • What have you done in your last job that makes you feel proud?

JOB EFFECTIVENESS

Planning/organization

  • Give me a specific example of a time when you did not meet a deadline. How did you handle it?
  • Using a specific example of a project, tell me how you kept those involved informed of the progress.
  • Are you better at working on many things at a time, or are you better at working on and getting results on a few specific things? Please give me 2 examples that illustrate this.

Problem solving/judgement

  • Describe an instance when you had to think quickly to free yourself from a difficult situation.
  • Tell me about a politically complex work situation in which you worked.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgement and logic in solving a problem.
  • In some aspects of work it is important to be free of error. Can you describe a situation where you have tried to prevent errors? What did you do? What was the outcome?

Takes responsibility

  • Give me an example of something you’ve done in previous jobs that demonstrates your willingness to work hard.
  • What is the biggest error in judgement or failure you have made in a previous job? Why did you make it? How did you correct the problem?
  • Tell me about a time when your supervisor criticized your work. How did you respond?

Dependability/attendance

  • We all face times when personal issues pull us away from work responsibilities. If possible, tell me about a time when your dependability or attendance was challenged. How did you handle it and/or remain accountable or involved in work? How long did the situation last?

Have you read our other guides to help you prepare for interview?

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