Guide To Writing Behavioral-Based Interview Questions

Good Behavioral-Based QuestionsComplete Guide to Writing Behavioral Based Interview Questions.

For the sake of expediency and keystroke-savings, the behavioral based question is known affectionately to us “in the Biz” as a BBQ. Unlike a conventional BBQ, the Accolo BBQ has nothing to do with a grill, with pork or with pork by-products. Be that as it may, the BBQ is the real meat, the real beef, as it were, in a candidate’s online job application.

To start, what is a behavioral based interview question?

Definition of Behavioral Based Interview Question: Interview questions where the interviewee is asked to describe situations where they were able to apply specific skills or traits to solve problems or address challenges.


Accolo CEO John Younger, when discussing the Behavioral Based Question with a Hiring Manager, is on record saying,

“The answers to these questions are like gold. Where else can you get a candidate response that so accurately measures their ability to do the job you want them to do, and to succeed in this role?”

Now for a candidate’s answer to be “golden,” a behavioral based question must be, shall we say, concrete. A well written BBQ is not whimsical, fluffy or ethereal. It’s not intended to allow a candidate to conjecture about their ability to do something. Just as there’s no crying in baseball, there’s no conjecture in in a behavioral based interview question. It should be written so that the candidate can effectively “pay off” the experience in their background, and by their answer demonstrate why they can perform one or more of the key functions required on the job.

For example, if the candidate for a product manager has answered an initial screening question, with a response indicating they have created content for mobile devices, but you do not see the same experience cited on the resume, a behavioral based interview question on this subject makes them cite specifics.

If this concept is difficult, then go rent the movie, Jerry Maguire. Cuba Gooding Jr. could have been talking about behavioral based interviews when he said: “Show me the money! Show me the money, Jerry. Show me the money.” A candidate’s answer to your behavioral based interview questions should be show us the money.

Examples of Great Behavioral Based Interview Questions:

“In what environments have you worked where you’ve had to adhere to the PCI Data Security Standard? How did this standard affect your deliverables, either positively or negatively? “

“Describe your development of algorithms for use in a very low (200MHz) power environment with severe memory constraint. Explain how you accounted for synchronization issues in multi-threaded code.”

49 Examples of Behavioral Based Interview Questions for Every Situation

Below are the most common behavioral interview questions that you should ask your candidates. They’ll uncover detailed information into their direct experience dealing with the situations that matter.

Dealing with Stress

  1. What has been the most stressful situation you’ve had to deal with at work? how did you handle it?
  2. What actions have you taken from preventing a situation from becoming too stressful for you and your colleagues?
  3. When situations become stressful at work, what do you do to alleviate that stress?
  4. Ability to Adapt

  5. How was your transition from college to professional work? How did you handle it?
  6. Tell me about a situation where you’ve had to adapt to changes beyond your control. How did you handle it?
  7. Give me an example of a time where you’ve had to collaborate with someone who had a different working style. How did you adjust to ensure you met project objectives and goals?
  8. Have you ever worked for managers with different management styles? How did you adjust to each?
  9. Problem Solving

  10. Describe a project where you were asked to use your analytics skills. What was the scope of the work and your role?
  11. Tell me about a situation where you had to analyze information. How did you go about creating your analysis? What were your recommendations?
  12. Tell me about a project at work where you had to solve a difficult problem. What did you do? what was your process? What was the outcome? Do you wish you did anything differently?
  13. Attention to Detail

  14. Has there ever been a time where you’ve discovered an error by a colleague? What did you do and how did you fix the error?
  15. How do you ensure that you have the right information for a customer or prospect?
  16. What is your process for doing research? How do you ensure that you do not overlook any details?
  17. Client Focused Questions

  18. Tell me about a time you’ve had to deal with a frustrated or irate customer. What did you do? How did you resolve the situation?
  19. Have you ever inherited a customer? What steps did you take to establish a good relationship?
  20. What is your process for initiating a call with a business prospect? How do you convert them into closed business?
  21. Have you ever gone above and beyond for a customer? What did you do? What was their reaction?
  22. Communication Based Questions

  23. Tell me about a recent success giving a presentation to your team or management? How did it go? What could have been improved?
  24. Have you ever had to present to a person/or group with little time to prepare? How did it go? What were the key takeaways from that experience?
  25. Have you ever had to promote/evangelize an idea to your coworkers? How did you get them to support your idea?
  26. Tell me about an experience where you had to communicate with someone via email where the situation didn’t go as planned. What went wrong? How did you clear up communication and resolve the issues?
  27. Are there any situations where you’ve specifically chosen to communicate in person rather than instant messaging or email? Why did you choose this? and how did the situation turn out?
  28. Questions to Assess Creativity

  29. Tell me about a recent problem that you solved by thinking “outside of the box”? What was the outcome? Were you happy with it? Why?
  30. Have you ever improved upon any existing work processes? What was the process? How did you improve it? What did your coworkers or management think?
  31. Have you ever brought any innovative ideas to your team? How was it received? If the reception wasn’t favorable, then how did you handle that?
  32. Decision Making Questions

  33. Have you ever had to make decisions without all of the information you needed? How did you handle that?
  34. Provide an example of a time where you had to come to a decision quickly. What were the challenges you faced in making the decision and how did you make it?
  35. What’s an example of a business decision that you regretted? How did you come to that conclusion and what would you do differently?
  36. Questions Related to Goals and Initiatives

  37. How do you go about creating short and long term goals for yourself and your team? What metrics do you use to keep everyone accountable?
  38. Provide an example of a time where you had to come to a decision quickly. What were the challenges you faced in making the decision and how did you make it?
  39. Describe a project where you were the owner. What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
  40. Tell me about a scenario where you discovered a problem could become a potential opportunity? What did you do and what was the result?
  41. Tell me about a project you initiated. Why did you initiate it? What were the results?
  42. Questions to Assess Employee Integrity and Honesty

  43. Has there ever been a time where your integrity was challenged? How did you handle that particular situation?
  44. Tell me about a time where you experienced a loss by doing something that was right?
  45. Describe a professional situation where you thought honest was inappropriate. How did you react and manage the situation?
  46. Have there ever been any policies at work that you did not agree with? Why?
  47. Leadership

  48. What is the most difficult team that you’ve had to lead? What was the project? What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
  49. What do you consider to be your greatest leadership accomplishment? How did you reach this achievement?
  50. What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced building/growing a team? What traits do you look for in team members?
  51. Have you ever had to deal with toxic employees that were hurting the effectiveness of your team? How did you deal with that particular individual? What steps did you take?
  52. Interpersonal Skills

  53. What do you think are the most important skills to have to build successful business relationships? How have you leveraged these skills in your career?
  54. Describe a situation where you had a conflict with a coworker and how you dealt with it. What was the outcome? What were the most important skills needed to address the situation? Were you happy with the outcome?
  55. Interview Questions to Assess Sales Skills

  56. Describe a situation where you had to create a customer base from scratch. What steps did you take?
  57. What is your greatest achievement in sales? How did you reach that outcome?
  58. Describe the process you went through to convince a skeptical prospect to choose your product/service?
  59. Tenacity and Resilience

  60. Tell me about a work related setback and challenge that you faced. How did you deal with and move past it?
  61. Have you ever found yourself in a competitive situation at work? How did you deal with it?
  62. When have you see your tenacity and determination really pay off in a professional setting? What was the situation and the outcome?
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