How to Use Stories to Ace Your Behavioral Interview

I’ve never met anyone who loves participating in job interviews. I’m sure there are people out there who enjoy them. I’m not sure what to think about those people though. For the rest of us, we need all the motivation we can get heading into an interview.

What is a Behavioral Interview?

Behavioral interviews are designed to get insight on how a candidate has behaved in the past in a certain situation. It’s by no means a perfect way of assessing past performance, but it does seem to do a better job than standard interview questions such as the good old “what is your greatest strength/weakness”.

A few examples of behavioral interview questions include: - Tell me about a time a customer got upset with you. - Describe a major mistake you made and what you did to correct it. - Tell me about a time when you were right and others were wrong. - Describe a time when you had to adapt to big changes at work.

Preparing for a Behavioral Interview

If you don’t know what questions the interviewer will ask, how can you ever feel confident that you are prepared? Well, hopefully this step-by-step preparation process will allow you to feel more confident when you walk through those doors.

Step 1: Gather Your Stories

Your first step is to brainstorm dozens of potential stories that will eventually be narrowed down to eight to ten. Sit down and just start writing out topics. Go through old performance reviews, emails, or task lists to jog your memory about potential stories.

Step 2: Write Out Your Stories

Once you narrow your list of stories it’s now time to start writing them out in detail. You will want to ensure your stories follow the process outlined below. - Describe the situation - Lay out the problem - Detail the action you took to solve the problem - Finish with the end result and any lessons learned

Step 3: Rehearse Your Stories

When you have a list of eight to ten detailed stories you should be able to apply them to most any behavioral interview question. If you go to your favorite search engine and search “behavioral interview questions”, you’ll find thousands of questions that you can practice with.

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