If you are looking for a fool proof way to prepare for your next interview, this is it! One of the biggest buzz words in the interview space is behavioral interviewing. While it isn’t a new trend, these questions are by far the most popular. All you need to do is learn how to answer and you will hand deliver a recruiter exactly what they want to hear every time. It’s simple.
Behavioral interview questions will generally jump out at you because they start with phrases like “tell me about a time” or “describe a time when” or “give an example of”. When using these types of questions, the recruiter is seeking specific examples or stories from your background. These stories will provide them with insight into how well you will perform on-the-job. The idea is that past performance predicts future success.
All of the best recruiters and hiring managers are trained to ask behavioral interview questions. They provide consistency during an interview, and each candidate is asked the same list of questions. This sets the stage for all candidates to be evaluated fairly. When you learn how to properly answer, the company will learn more about you, which helps them see you as the perfect hire.
When you learn how to craft every interview question response in the right way, you set yourself up for success. The secret though is mastering the process and using it to your advantage with every interview question. Not just behavioral. So let’s talk about the process.
When a recruiter asks a question, they are looking for specific things to signal a fit for the open job. Some recruiters are better than others at crafting good questions. When you understand the process of answering behavioral interview questions you can easily apply it to any question that is asked. This gives you a leg up in the interview. When the recruiter says, “Tell me about your job at ABC Factory” (not a strong behavioral question), you can provide a STAR response.
STAR is an acronym. It stands for:
- S – Situation – Who, what, where, when, why?
- T – Task – What was your role, assignment or goal?
- A – Action – What did you do?
- R – Result – What happened? How did it end?
Piece together your interview responses by answering each of the questions above. It will provide the most detail with the most relevant information the recruiter needs to know.
If you were answering the question using STAR, you could say something like this: I started working at ABC Factory right out of high school. I needed to get a job right away to start saving for college. The schedule was great at the time because it was set hours and days. That gave me time the ability to keep working when school started because I could work my classes around their set schedule. My role was working on the line. I would take part A and B and combine them. There wasn’t much to it aside from understanding how the machinery worked and following safety guidelines. When the machine went down, I was responsible for fixing it. I stayed on with them through my first two years of college. I left when I accepted an internship in my field of choice.
Most candidates will respond like this: I was just a factory worker there. I worked on the line. It was a good job that let me work while I was in college. I left there for my internship.
See the difference? A recruiter certainly does!
By taking the time to provide STAR answers to your interview questions, you are applying behavioral interviewing techniques to your response. Recruiters love it when a candidate gives the right details up front. It makes their job easier. Otherwise, they have to continue asking questions in an attempt to pull more information out of the candidate. This can be frustrating. If they don’t get what they need, they determine the person isn’t a fit and move on to the next. Don’t be that candidate!
Learning to give interview responses in STAR method takes a little practice. Once you master it, you will notice your interview skills improve.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are steps you can take to anticipate what the recruiter will ask. Download this guide to get inside your recruiter’s head. This takes the guesswork out of your interview prep. Then you can practice your responses and really learn how to interview like a pro.