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Nailing That Behavioral Interview

Behavioral interviews are one of the most common interview formats recruiters are using. These types of questions are meant to uncover how you acted in certain situations.  Examples of questions that a recruiter would ask you include “Name a time when you had to work with someone you had a disagreement with,” or “Discuss a situation where you had to work fast to impress a client.” This type of interview can be difficult because it can be hard to quickly dig through all of your past experiences to come up with the perfect answer. Although I can’t tell you what your interviewer is going to ask you, I can help you prepare by teaching you the STAR interview method.

The STAR method is a great way to answer behavioral interview questions. Following STAR makes it easy to discuss your answer in an organized way that is easy for the interviewer to follow. Often times, interviewers will take notes, and if you answer their questions in a concise manner, this will allow them to jot down all of your most important accomplishments. STAR is as follows –

Situation/Tasks: You should start your answer as if you are telling a story. Give background on where you were, who you were with, and what you had to do.  

Action: Go into the specifics of all of the things you did to accomplish your goal. The most important thing about this section is to say “I” instead of “we.” Interviewers are interested in knowing what you did, not what the group did.

Results: Numbers, numbers, numbers! It is important to give a quantifiable result so that the interviewer can see how successful you were in reaching your goals. If your result was more situational and did not have a tangible result, go into the specifics of all of the positive things that resulted from what you did. If something good happened, say it! You never want to leave an interview feeling like you could’ve said something else to impress the recruiter.

Now that your know STAR, the most important thing to do is prepare! Think about all of your past experiences that yielded a positive result that interviewers would be dazzled by. I recommend coming up with between 10 to 20 STARs. The odds of an interviewer asking you that many questions are very small, but at least you will have an answer for any situation you are asked about.  

A lot of students believe that their answers have to be from past work experiences. Many of us are so early in our careers, it would be incredibly difficult for all of our answers to come only from our professional background. Interviewers know this, so it is totally okay to talk about results from extracurricular activities or group projects.  As long as you choose a situation that answers the question and has a notable result, the interviewer will be happy!

Good luck at Business Horizons, CWIB! Interviews can be stressful, but do not worry. As long as you prepare and know your STARs, you will do fantastic!

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