The Master Guide to Behavioral Interview Questions
There’s a lot to consider when you’re hiring a new employee – technical ability, communication skills, cost to company and role.
But perhaps the most important factor is how they’ll fit in at your company.
Culture fit is so important these days that 67% of employers consider it vital to their hiring process. It’s no surprise that recruiters are giving it the attention it demands.
And with good reason, too. You don’t want to hire someone whose values and behavior are diametrically opposite to those of your current employees.
That’s not to say that companies should look to hire near-clones in the name of being homogenous. In fact, differences in belief and opinion strengthen the quality of your company’s output.
Shared values are simply an effective way to ensure respect, compromise and fairness.
This master guide to behavioral interview questions will help recruiters assess candidates for a number of values and beliefs, from honesty and fairness to deeper traits like being self-motivated.
- Tell us about a professional or technical setback you overcame.
- Describe a moment when you knew a project was failing. How did you react?
- Have you ever missed a deadline? How did you feel when that happened?
Teamwork & Flexibility
- How do you react when someone disagrees with an idea you love.
- How did you handle a colleague who didn’t pull their weight?
- What happened when you worked with people you didn’t like.
- Tell us about a time you had to compromise, even though you were right.
- Tell us about an instance where you turned a failure into an opportunity.
- Talk about a project that was implemented because you went the extra mile.
- Is there a time when you stretched yourself to exhaustion? Was it worth it?
- Tell us about a workplace change you helped effect at your last job.
- How would you handle conflict with a colleague in the days before a deadline?
- Tell us about a time you helped mediate a resolution between two parties.
- How would you handle a professional disagreement with your manager?
- Tell us about a time you made a presentation with little notice or preparation.
- Which of your presentations or pitches was most successful? Why?
- What is the weakest facet of your communication skill set? How do you handle it?
- When do you think it’s appropriate to communicate directly? What about indirectly?
- Tell us about a decision you had to make for a manager. What was the outcome?
- How would you handle conflict of interest between you and the company?
- Tell us about a situation or escalation you helped defuse by making a decision.
- What is the most difficult professional choice you’ve made? Do you regret it?
- How would you handle a manager or superior who questions your decisions?
- Tell us about a time you felt overworked. How did you manage the pressure?
- How would you handle a difficult client who refused to listen to logic?
- What workplace situations stress you out? How do you handle them?
- What is your preferred method of reducing stress?
- Define leadership. What’s the difference between a leader and a boss?
- Tell us about your first project in charge of a team. What did you learn from it?
- Who in a team do you believe is responsible when an error is made?
- How would you handle a disruptive or underperforming team member?
- Tell us about a time you found it difficult to be honest. What did you do?
- Would you do something unethical/illegal to help the company or your career?
- Describe a situation in which honesty is not the best policy.
- Have you worked with a dishonest colleague? How did you react?
Breaking Down Candidate Answers
The world is rarely black or white. So too are the requirements of most jobs – and the people who perform them.
That’s why many of these questions do not have right or wrong answers. Some are even designed to force candidates to confront their weaknesses or fears.
While the answers you ideally want to hear will vary based on your company’s business strategy and the nature of your industry, there are some things you’ll want to look out for across the board.
The best candidates will be forthright in their answers. When you ask them to describe a difficult situation or moment of weakness, they will be honest yet positive, showing how or what they learned from a setback.
Top talent will also display consistency in personal beliefs throughout your discussion. People who are truly honest, optimistic, hungry and driven will not put conditions on those values. And they will be the first ones to admit that they aren’t perfect.
These interview/screening questions work best when paired with AI technologies that automate recruitment coordination, identify top candidates using data and metrics, and speed up your hiring process to help you win the war for talent.