Behavioral Interview Questions

Referral fees may be earned for purchases made using links on this site. To learn more, see my disclosure.

Behavioral interview questions require you to tell the interviewer a specific story about a time when you handled a specific type of situation. The theory behind these interview questions is that the best predictor of your future behavior is your past behavior.

Employers who ask these questions are trying to assess how you would handle specific situations on the job based on how you've responded to similar situations in the past.

When it comes to answering behavioral interview questions, the biggest, most common mistakes people make are:

1. Being too vague and not telling a specific story. 

Example Question: 

Can you give me an example of a time when you worked effectively in a team environment?


I worked in a team-based environment all the time at my last job.

What's wrong with this answer? 

It's far too vague and doesn't give the employer any evidence that you work well in a team environment. The employer was looking for a specific story about a time that you worked effectively with colleagues as a team. This general response doesn't really answer the question that was asked.

2. Talking about situations that still make you feel angry or did not have a positive outcome. 

Example Question: 

Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult supervisor.


My last supervisor was such a micro-manager. He never trusted me to make any decisions on my own.

What's wrong with this answer? 

The interviewer will see things from your past employer's point of view, not from your point of view. Even if your last employer was a ridiculous micro-manager, the interviewer will likely not feel sympathy for you having to work with a difficult boss.

Instead, that answer will make most interviewers think that if you will bad mouth your previous boss, you will bad mouth your next boss. The interviewer may also wonder whether there was a problem with your job performance which caused your previous boss to monitor your work very closely.

Avoid Making Serious Mistakes in Interviews by Using the STAR Technique

The best way to avoid these mistakes when answering behavior based interview questions is to prepare your answers to several common employment interview questions before you go to the interview.

The STAR interview technique is the best guideline for formulating answers to behavioral interview questions.

Below is a list of several common behavioral interview questions that you can use to start preparing for your next job interview.

Tell me about a time when: 

  • you used effective communication skills to solve a problem.
  • you had to work with a difficult supervisor.
  • you had to work with a difficult coworker.
  • you dealt with a challenging customer or client.
  • you demonstrated effective leadership qualities.
  • you worked in a team-based environment.
  • you failed to meet a goal.

Behavior based interview questions are quite common, but they don't have to be difficult to answer, as long as you prepare your answers before the interview.

Use the STAR interview technique as your guideline, and remember to completely avoid any negativity in order to formulate winning answers to behavioral interview questions.

You Are Here

  1. Home
  2.  ›
  3. Preparing for a Job Interview
  4.  ›
  5. Behavioral Interview Questions