The Illinois jobless rate was over 10% in October and that means competition for open positions is fierce. One way to stand out is to be prepared for the interview. This article focuses on behavioral interviews which ask questions about your past experience (i.e., tell me about a time when…).
The philosophy behind behavioral interviews is that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Your answers reveal not only what you’ve done but also how you accomplished it.
When presented with behavioral interview questions, stay focused on answering the question that was asked and be concise in your response. Try to limit your answer to no more than 2-3 minutes.
Answer the questions by telling a story using the SAR approach:
- Situation – the situation you were in or the task you needed to accomplish
- Action – the steps you took to address the issue
- Result – the outcome, what happened as a result of your actions
Preparation is key to performing well in a behavioral interview. Identify several examples in which you’ve demonstrated the skills and results an employer might be seeking.
You should have a mix of stories including those that are totally positive and those where you encountered difficulties. For the latter, be prepared to describe how you succeeded in spite of barriers or what you learned and would do differently next time.
The next article in the Job Loss series provides samples of behavioral interview questions.