Identifying and Answering Behavioral Questions

Behavioral interview questions usually start by stating one of the following, so use these as clues to help you recognize this type of questioning:

  • Tell me about a time…
  • Give me an example…
  • Discuss a time…
  • Describe a recent situation…
  • Walk me through a situation…

Once you have identified that it is a behavior based question, refer to your “Key Career Accomplishments/Challenges” notes that you created to start pulling together your STAR response.

  • What is a STAR response?
  • Situation: Describe the Situation
  • Task: Explain Task or Problem
  • Action: Describe the Specific Action You Took
  • Result: Give Specific Consequences
  • By answering a question using STAR, it will help ensure that you completely describe your answer and will “paint the picture” to your interviewer.

Notes on Behavioral Based Responses:

  • Think specific
  • Don’t say “usually, always, or never”
  • Say “I” (this is your personal story you are sharing)
  • Be prepared for negative questions
  • Was the result positive? Measurable?
  • Be concise – Train your internal clock to give a one to two minute response, at that point wrap up your answer. This will allow your interviewer to ask follow-up questions while still fresh in their minds with the limited interview time available.

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