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How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

Posted by Goodwill Staff on May 18, 2020

Behavioral Interviews

Today’s job market is extremely competitive. Learn how to answer tough behavioral interview questions whether your interview is by phone, virtual or in person, plus get tips on how to prepare and articulate why you’re the best person for the job.

While it might seem discouraging for job seekers, it’s good to know how to be prepared so you stand out so you’re not asking yourself “Why am I not Landing this Job?

While you’re refreshing your resumé and figuring out what to wear to your interview, take some time to brush up on your interview skills, including preparing for the often-overlooked behavioral interview questions.

Preparing for behavioral interview questions.

While traditional interview questions ask you about previous roles and responsibilities, behavioral interview questions help employers get a feel for your thought processes, problem-solving skills, and general fit within their organization.

The logic behind this type of question is that your past behaviors reflect and predict how you will behave in the future. Hiring managers are trying to determine if your behaviors are aligned with their company values.

Company values are the fundamental beliefs upon which company behavior is based. They are the guiding principles companies use to manage internal affairs as well as their relationship with customers. A company that values honesty might ask, “Tell me about a time when you made a mistake and how you handled it, or tell me about your biggest weakness and how you overcame it.” When asking these types of interview questions, the interviewer wants to know that you can acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them – two very important qualities.

How to prepare for behavioral interview questions

Behavioral interview questions are not meant to trip you up, but rather give hiring managers better insight into who you are. Remember, they’ve likely never met you before.

Some things you can do to mentally prepare for behavioral job interview questions include:

Research the Company

Take time to research the company you’re interviewing with. It will not only make it easier to intelligently answer interview questions, but it’ll also help you customize your answers to highlight the qualities the company values.

Review the Job Description

Reviewing job requirements will help match your experiences with the skills and qualities required to successfully fill this role.

Reflect on Your Behaviors and Personality

Ultimately, you get to decide whether you’re a good fit for the job. While it is a competitive job market, you and your potential employer’s values still need to be aligned. So take some time for some self-reflection:

  • Think about events in past jobs. How did you leverage problem-solving skills? Did you need to act humbly? Did you need to rebuild trust? How do you avoid making that mistake again?

  • Think about interactions with coworkers. Are you an emotionally intelligent person? Emotional intelligence refers to how well a person manages, controls and expresses their emotions, as well as their ability to interact with others empathetically and professionally.

  • Think about who you are as a person. What motivates you? What do you consider your best qualities? What makes you mad

  • Think about why you want this job, why you are the best person for it and why you are leaving your current job.

Prepare Some Stories

Interviews are conversations. Being able to answer an interview question with an anecdote shows that you’re engaged in this conversation. Use the STAR interview technique to turn personal stories into well-thought-out answers.

  • Situation & Task – Describe a situation that you were in, including the task you had to complete.

  • Action – Describe the specific actions (your behavior) you took to complete the task.

  • Result – What were the results of your efforts, actions or experience?

Other Helpful Tips:

  • Stay positive!

  • Don’t talk about how much you hate your last job, boss, co-workers, etc.

  • Don’t ask about salary, vacation time and benefits, (unless the recruiter mentions salary or benefits).

  • Be confident in yourself.

Goodwill Workforce Connection Centers are Here to Help

Whether you’re new to the job search or still trying to land gainful employment, Goodwill Workforce Connection Centers can be invaluable resources in your hunt. In addition to advising you on how to answer behavioral interview questions, we can show you modern resumé writing techniques, help you understand applicant tracking systems, prepare you for Live and On-demand interviews, and teach you how to leverage tools like LinkedIn in your job search.


Written by Goodwill Staff

Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440