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How to Ace a Behavioral Interview

The first time you go into an interview, it can be really difficult to concentrate and devise really great answers to the questions that are posed. This is becoming even more common since the behavioral interview was developed, in which the interviewer asks questions about specific instances in which the prospective employee used certain traits to accomplish something. This includes traits like leadership, creativity, teamwork, problem solving skills, and work ethic or motivation.

One of the best ways to keep your head clear and create great answers to these questions is to think of some possible answers that you might give ahead of time. If you really think about it, there are only so many different traits that you can really show, which means that there is a set number of questions that the interviewer could possibly ask without you having to repeat yourself. Try to think of certain instances when you used leadership or teamwork, then think about the really important things that YOU alone did to help with whatever was happening. When phrasing your answers, a great technique is to use the STAR method, described below:

S- Situation. Describe the situation in detail- Did you have a problem with a project that you were working on? A difficult customer? Maybe an overdue assignment? 
T- Task. Go over the task that you yourself were given. This could be resolving the problem in order to finish the project, using customer service to appease the customer, or turning in the assignment. 
A- Action. This is the action that YOU performed. It is important that you specify only what you performed, in order to stay on tangent, unless it was directly linked with what someone else was doing. Explain the problem solving steps that you undertook for the project, how you explained to the customer what the problem was, or how you stayed at work/school late in order to complete the overdue assignment. 
R- Result. Explain the result that happened because of your actions. Obviously, you want to pick examples that show positive results because of something that you specifically did. For example, say that you fixed the problem with the project and that it was turned in on time (and received an A+, great reviews, etc.), the customer purchased the item that they were looking for, or that you managed to turn in the assignment without sever consequences.

Using the STAR method is a great way to keep yourself organized and create effective and easy-to-follow answers for the questions in any behavioral interview. The most important thing, however, is to be prepared and rehearse your answers ahead of time, while making them sound natural and complete. Take some time to do research on typical behavioral interview questions, and think of some well thought answers. If you put effort into them, you’ll do great!

BoomersNextStep Guest Author

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