Behavioral interviewing involves asking a series of questions to determine how you accomplished something in a previous job or activity. This technique allows the interviewer to assess your skills, knowledge and experience using real world examples. The logic behind behavioral interviewing is that the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior.
Behavioral interviewing follows the STAR acronym (Specific Situation or Task, Actions and Results). Using STAR, an interviewer might ask, “Give me an example of an idea that you had to improve your organization’s processes or procedures. How did you develop this idea? What was the final result?”
Let's take a look at using the STAR method for an open Administrative Assistant position. Among the job responsibilities are:
• Heavy management of Outlook calendars and scheduling appointments for Senior Leadership Team Members & respective departments.
• Organizes team offsite meetings/conferences by arranging facilities, catering, WebEx details and preparing agendas/materials needed.
• Types memos, creates/modifies PowerPoint Presentations, Excel Spreadsheets as needed.
Now, let’s look at some behavioral questions that might relate to these.
1. Give me an example of a high visibility meeting or conference that you had to arrange. Take me through the steps you followed to coordinate the facility, logistics and meeting materials. Tell me about the result of these activities?
2. You say that you are proficient in creating PowerPoint presentations. Explain the types of presentations that you created in your previous position. Who was your audience and how did you tailor your presentations to their needs?”
It helps to be prepared with STAR examples for all of the job responsibilities and qualifications that are listed in the open job description. You may not be asked about each of them but it is better to be prepared than not.
One of my previous blogs mentioned preparing your resume by charting the job description and noting your activities and accomplishments as they relate to them. Not only will this exercise remind you of your activities and accomplishments, it may also reinforce your self-confidence in the interview.
For more STAR questions and a listing of free job search resources, please see the Resources section of my website.