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Behavioral interviewing is known as a style of interviewing which was developed in early 1970’s by industrial psychologists. It is believed to be a process in which one is asked questions about how one acted in particular situations. And like traditional interviewing method, behavioral interviewing includes not only hypothetical responses to questions but you are asked to describe in concrete what you actually did when faced with certain challenges. It is a mode of interviewing that believes your past performance in a vastly specific situation is the best indicator on how you respond to future situations.

Behavioral interviewing style is believed to be more concerned with one’s past actions than ones’ believes about oneself. The answers to behavioral questions are characteristically brief stories about a situation where you took action, accomplished a task as well met an objective or one formulated an interpersonal response. In such responses, they are believed not to take more than three minutes of recount depending on the complexity of the situation and amount of the positive information one can provide to the interviewer. Although describing personal situation seems to be appropriate on occasion, responses that focus on one’s professional and academic life is the best way to go. There are several ways of answering behavioral questions but the best way of going about this is the use of SAR which stands for (Situation Action and Result) model.

Before coming up with behavioral interviewing questions, there are several tips that one can use in order to be able ton answer question in an appropriate manner using the SAR technique. These tips are like: been able to recall the accomplishment you described on the resume in the SAR format and if by any chance overcome unpleasant circumstances to achieve them, one should describe how he/she did it.

One should vary stories in addition to class work and employment; give examples of action one took while in community service, participating in sports among other things.

Another thing is to reflect upon the events and situations that helped define your professional and academic life and situation where you handle challenging interpersonal situation with awkwardness. In this case, one should compose description of such events in the SAR format to make the flow uncomplicated.

Other methods include quantifying one’s result when possible as well as discussing special accomplishment like promotions, academic or in any case athletic achievement.

After having the tips on how to go about answering behavioral questions, here are examples of behavioral questions with answers using the SAR format.

Question: Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Answer: (Situation) I was captain of my intramural volleyball team that was playing for the all campus championship. The team we were playing aligned with had much taller players, and some were graduate students who had played on their college teams. a number of of the players on our team assumed we had no possibility to win and even talked about forfeiting.

(Action) I recognized how challenging the game would be. But I also talked to the troupe about how many tough matches we had won to get where we were. And as sort of a joke I offered to clean my teammates’ cars if we won.

 

(Result) We played really enthused volleyball and we hardly lost to a much taller and more bodily gifted team. We came simultaneously as a team during that match and each person supported one another. On some occasions I was reminded about how many cars I’d be washing if we won. I cultured how well people respond when you are willing to make individual sacrifice to help the team succeed.

Question: Tell me about a complex decision you made in the past year.

Answer: (Situation) I had several professors encourage me to extend my commitment to graduate school for two to three years to obtain a Ph.D. They explained the opportunities and the esteem that go with holding such an advanced degree in my field, and they let me know that they were confident I would be successful in their program. But I had not previously planned on being in school that long and was anxious to assume some professional responsibilities.

(Action) I talked the situation over with the people who matter most to me in family, and also with my former boss who has always mentored me. I also made a list of the pros and cons of staying in school. While going through the process, I realized that I could always work on my degree while working or return to school in the future if I believed that would be to my advantage.

(Result) I decided to stick with my original plan and seek a professional position where I can have an immediate collision on the local community. But I’m glad I had the opportunity to evaluate the benefits of a Ph.D. because I now have a much better understanding of my professional options and potential strategies for growth in the future.

Question: Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.

Answer: (Situation) I was participating in a class project that required gathering and interpreting a considerable amount of data relating to human behavior. Our objective was to develop a predictive response model for how people cope with stress. The data did not appear to corroborate our hypothesis, and we had a lot of confidence that it should.

(Action) We focused primarily on the validity of the data we gathered. We went back to source documentation to ensure everything had been input to the model correctly. We double checked the computations and found nothing wrong. It was only late in the process that a member of our team began questioning the statistical methodology we had used. It became very clear that a different type of analysis would have been more pertinent to the problem and would have yielded results that supported our hypothesis.

(Result) We did formulate the solution in time to act upon it. We changed the regression technique within the model and re-ran the data. It required an all-nighter or two, though. We did receive the highest possible grade on the project.   

Other questions of Behavioral interviewing include: What are the necessary skills to do this job? What makes a successful candidate? What would make an unsuccessful candidate? Why have people left this position previously? What is the most difficult part of this job?

From this experience I learned never to assume or take for granted that the quantitative aspects of a project are correct, and I always work closely with statistical teams to understand their rationale for using the quantitative methods they prescribe before moving forward or answering any question and behavioral method of interviewing have made questions unproblematic.

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