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Ace the Interview: 30 Behavioral Questions for Practice and Preparation

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Posted On Jun 11, 2024 

As you gear up for a job interview, you've probably practiced your elevator pitch, identified how the job aligns with your goals, and evaluated how your skills and background fit the role. That's a good start! However, by practicing a variety of interview questions, you not only prepare for specific inquiries but also boost your confidence in handling open-ended questions.


Practicing behavioral questions serves a dual purpose: it helps you prepare and boosts your confidence when it's time to answer. These types of questions can indeed be challenging and have the potential to throw you off. So, being well-prepared allows you to navigate these questions effectively and sets you up for success.


What exactly is a behavioral question?


When interviewers ask behavioral questions, they’re typically looking for anecdotal responses. For instance, asking you to ‘recall a time when’ you performed (or underperformed) in a certain work scenario. To feel confident in your answers, you should prepare some questions that may come up, as recalling personal anecdotes can be tricky when on the spot.


The STAR method is a tried and true way of answering these kinds of questions. Here’s the format:


  • Specific situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result of the situation


Once you have a solid understanding of the STAR method and have prepared some answers using this technique, your interview will be primed to go smoothly.


The six categories of behavioral questions


Below are the six main categories of behavioral questions you might be asked:


  1. Communication
  2. Work ethic
  3. Teamwork
  4. Time management
  5. Adaptability and response to uncertainty
  6. Motivation and values


Let’s dive in.




1. Can you describe a situation when you had to explain a complex concept to a colleague, client, or superior? How did you approach the explanation so that they would understand, and how did you know when they had a grasp of it?

2. How do you influence colleagues to embrace your vision or ideas? Provide an example of when you effectively persuaded a person or team member to support your direction on a an important project or decision.

3. Give us an example of a presentation you were exceptionally proud of. How did you achieve it?

4. Can you share a time when modifying your communication style helped resolve a problem you were having with a colleague? How did you recognize the need to make this change, and did you adjust your approach to working with other colleagues as a result of this experience?

5. How do you react to feedback? Tell us about a time you received or had to deliver negative feedback and how it influenced you.


Work Ethic


6. What is a long-term goal that you are currently working towards? How do you stay on track to achieve this with competing work priorities?

7. Can you share a time when you recognized a complex issue that you knew would take a lot of time and resources to resolve? What prompted you to pursue it?

8. Recall a time when you took on a big responsibility outside of your job description. Why did you make the decision to take it on, and what was the outcome?

9. Tell us about a time you worked on a project you did not enjoy doing. How did you stay motivated to get the job done? Did your dislike affect your ability to handle it professionally?

10. What was your first job, and why did you pursue it?




11. Tell us about a time when you had difficulty building a significant relationship in the workplace. What actions did you take to surmount this challenge, and how is that relationship now?

12. Describe a scenario when you held a different viewpoint on a decision from a team member or colleague but chose to support their choice without creating conflict. How did you evaluate the importance of making the right decision versus preserving relationships with others? Looking back, do you regret not voicing your opinion, or do you believe it was the correct decision?

13. Tell us about a time you strongly disagreed with your manager or superior. What was the scenario and how did you handle it without ruining the relationship? Or was there a fallout?

14. Tell us about a time you saw a peer struggling and stepped up to help. What was the situation and the outcome?

15. Recall a time when you successfully improved your team's productivity and/or motivation. What measures did you take to achieve this? What were the root causes of the issues, and how did you ensure that your solution would prevent similar problems down the line?


Time Management


16. Describe a situation where you had to complete a project in a narrow timeframe. What compromises did you need to weigh in order to meet the deadline, and how did this affect the final result? How did you determine what to prioritize?

17. Give an example of when you had to juggle multiple projects at once. How did you manage your time to get it done?

18. Generally, how do you manage interruptions to your schedule? Whether it’s your own, or a project’s schedule?

19. Is there a time you had to wait on a team member in order to move forward on a project? How did you spend your time while waiting?

20. Have you ever felt, during a workday, that you had no work to do? If so, what steps did you take to productively fill your time?


Motivation and values


21. In your opinion, what is your greatest personal achievement?

22. Give an example of a problem you identified and took the initiative to solve.

23. Has there been a time when you were unhappy with the outcome of your work? Why so?

24. Recall a time when you made a commitment and later realized you wouldn’t be able to fulfill it. How did you handle communicating with stakeholders, and how did it make you feel?

25. Give an example of when you were given creative freedom to solve a problem at work. Did you enjoy it, or do you prefer a more structured, systematic approach?


Adaptability and response to uncertainty


26. Share an instance where you were already working on a project and realized that you were actually working towards the wrong objective. What actions did you take to address this?

27. Can you describe a situation where you had to take a risk? Why was it risky, what did you do to minimize the risk, and what was the result?

28. Tell us about a time you made a bad decision, and learned from it to make a better decision again, in the future.

29. Describe an instance when you sacrificed short-term benefits for a long-term goal, even when the best choice wasn’t certain. How did you come to this decision, and was it the right one? If not, what did you learn from the experience?

30. Are you a self-starter? Give an example of a time you achieved something without much supervision from your manager.


Spend some time on these behavioral interview questions and prepare to shine


Simply by reading this article, you’ve already taken the first step to ace the interview. Well done! Now, it’s time to apply that same level of commitment by practicing responses to these behavioral questions, as you will likely encounter them during your interview.


Take the time to reflect on your personal and professional experience. Try to recall moments that stood out to you during your career thus far, whether good or bad. Writing down short anecdotes or statistics to have on hand is a great way to feel extra confident when the time comes. Remember that the best rule of thumb is to be authentic and honest in your answers. Good luck!


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