Top 10 Vital Behavioural Interview Questions [And How to Tackle them]

For employers, selecting the right employee has meant resorting to newer and robust interviewing techniques. Behavioural interview questions and answers have been one such methodology that has gained widespread popularity as a means to assess them.

But tackling behavioural interview questions and answers have never been an easy task. It is an ever-important tool used by recruiters. Thus, gaining familiarity with behavioural interview questions and answers can prove to be hugely beneficial.

10 Prominent Behavioural Questions And Answers 

For you to successfully navigate through confusing behavioural interview questions and answers, you need to find out what the interviewer wants to know by posing such questions. The following ten questions form a part of the behavioural interviews and cover different focus areas.

Read: 15 Interview Tips to Stand Out in Your Job Interview

1. Tell me about a time when an employee approached you with concerns or was demotivated with work. How did you handle the situation?

Some employers require you to be able to motivate your teammates when needed. Such behavioural interview questions and answers evaluate your willingness and ability to be an informal leader within your team.

Sample response– ‘During my tenure as a part of the backend team, I had a co-worker who felt distant and unmotivated with his work. After reaching out and discussing the problem with him, I realized there was a disconnect between him and his work and the organizations’ vision. I spoke to others in the team, and they had similar problems.

I went to the HR team and asked them if we could have cross-functional events where teams across functions could interact and share knowledge. This helped create a platform within the company where employees were more connected with each other.’

2. Tell me about a time when you made an unpopular decision or handled dissent in a team.

Leadership positions today are fraught with challenges. Interviewers with these types of behavioural interview questions and answers want to know how well you can negotiate and carry everyone along.

Sample response– ‘When moving ahead with the marketing collaterals, I made the final call on the execution strategy that was focused more on the offline channels. It wasn’t a popular view as online channels were preferred within the team.

So, I gathered relevant data about the target audience who were from a Tier 2 city and built a unanimous consensus on the matter with my team members. I also took in their opinions and included those that would improve the final output.’

3. How would you ensure that you’re able to get everything done in your workday? Give examples of how you’ve managed to do this, and what if the workload suddenly rises?

With job requirements becoming diverse, working late hours often becomes a need. These behavioural interview questions and answers are aimed at seeing how well candidates can manage time and should be answered with suitable examples.

Sample response– ‘The quarter-end closure is a busy period for a Fintech company, so I prioritize the relevant work for the day beforehand and reach out to various stakeholders to ensure my work wraps up within the day.

But, in one case, timelines spilt and bottlenecks emerged as one stakeholder was unresponsive. So, I worked on identifying alternate routes to obtain the required information and ensured all work was done within the expected deadline, even if I had to extend that day.’

4. Tell me about a time when you were confronted with a challenging situation at work. How did you manage it?

With these types of behavioural interview questions and answers, the employer wants to assess your skills and behavioural maturity in dealing with unpredictability at work. Your example should clearly illustrate your experience in handling the situation, exhibit a problem-solving mindset, and explain what you’ve learned from it.

Sample response- ‘With multiple IT projects ongoing, a client requested urgent delivery. The duration of completing the task assigned to my team and I was pulled up from ninety days to over sixty days. As I was the lead on the project, I called a meeting with my other teammates and successfully navigated a new timeline with them.

We worked around processes and built a newer and faster workflow strategy. I managed to deliver on the current project without jeopardizing the timelines for the other ones.’  

5. How do you set goals? Tell me about a goal you set and reached and how you achieved it.

The purpose of goal-related behavioural interview questions and answers is to show how well you can plan and set realistic goals. Employers also look for how you break your goal into achievable and realistic tasks. They also want to know if you can keep track of achieving your goals.

Sample response– ‘I was tasked with setting up a business process in my team that aimed at cutting down the time we spent on doing repetitive tasks which could be automated. I began by creating a list of tasks that could be automated and put a clear timeline to the various tasks that were involved in it.

Building on existing previous work already done on the issue, I was able to connect with relevant stakeholders and come up with ways of automating our data entry and processing work. In the end, I was able to achieve an overall shortening of 10 hours per week.’

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6. Give me an example of a time when your mistakes led to you failing to achieve a goal.

For the employer, not making mistakes is not a must. What is essential instead is that you can remain focused on your work while ensuring that the error becomes a vital point of learning for you.

Sample response- ‘Our startup was planning to shift from emails to new collaborating software that would make our work with digital freelancers easier. As a part of the HR team in charge of doing so, I decided to finalize the software without running it by all project managers.

As a result, when the company shifted to working on the new platform, many processes were hit by bugs and workflow delays. It took us a couple of months to restore our average pace, but I learned to pay close attention to detail when working towards a goal.

7. Describe a situation in which you forecasted a problem and prepared a strategy for handling it. How did it turn out?

The employer is interested in knowing if you have the skills to predict problems. Your response should reflect not only the preparedness of the plan but also its ability to incorporate change midway.

Sample response- ‘As a sales manager, my target of the quarter-end fell short. But, looking at market trends and how our digital products had been performing over the last couple of quarters, I had predicted this slump.

I worked with my team to create an alternate advertising campaign that we executed in partnership with other collaborators, and I was able to meet my target.’

8. Describe a time when you found yourself disinterested in your work. What did you do to motivate yourself?

For employers, their new hires must be able to keep themselves motivated. Such questions of the behavioural interview questions and answers require you to explain situations where you motivated yourself to reach the target.

Sample response- ‘The uncertainty within the IT market due to job loss had me demotivated in my work. To address it, I started learning new programming languages through MOOCs and set higher targets for myself. I also spoke to my manager and figured out other areas where I could develop my skills and contribute more to the company.’

9. Tell me about a time when you had to change project priorities quickly. What steps did you take to initiate change?

Adaptability is a vital attribute in today’s volatile business environment. For employers, often a right candidate is one that can adapt in the face of changing priorities.

Sample response- ‘My proposed marketing plans for the campaign came to a halt when the client suddenly decided to change the brief and approach. The aim now was to have a further bifurcated marketing strategy with a focus on more direct targeting services through social media. Since it has become a vital requirement with other clients as well, I was able to tweak our strategy. I also collaborated with an analytics firm to focus more on targeted advertisements.’

10. Think about a time when you have encountered an inefficient process. What steps did you take following this discovery?

Such behavioural interview questions and answers pertain to how candidates work towards bettering company processes. The aim here is to assess your ownership and for the employer to know how invested you were in the functioning of the company. Answer with clear instances where you improved existing processes.

Sample response- ‘During my initial months as a new hire, I saw my colleagues spending numerous hours working without Macros. With my familiarity with the subject matter, I reached out to my manager. Under his guidance, I was able to create shorter pathways of working and training my team in how to use such processes easily.’

Also Read: 5 Must-Have Job Skills You Need to Land on Your First Job

Things to keep in mind

Behavioural interview questions and answers aim to assess how you’ve handled different situations in the past attempting to determine your suitability for the role. Hence, unlike other technical interviews, behavioural interview questions and answers look for concrete examples from your end.

Since the employer is looking at how well you fit the needs of the job, provide a brief story to support your claims. This is vital to tackle the varied nature of behavioural interview questions successfully.

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