As I mentioned in one of my previous writings, last year I was in between jobs for some time. It was a time of reflexion and rediscovery which I totally need it, but also a time to check the professional market and see what the expectations are in terms of recruiting.
I went to several interviews with different companies and what all had in common is the subject of this article: using the behavioural type of questions during the recruitment process.
Behavioural interview is a type of assessment which focuses on the ways someone is dealing with a situation in order to solve it or to get the results needed. It doesn’t apply only to corporate environment as it’s meant to predict your future behaviour based on past experience so it can be applied to all industries.
Even if the above is the case, the responses should always be tailored to the company/job you’re interviewing for.
One efficient way of structuring your answer, without babbling off topic, is to use the STAR method.
The acronym stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result of the situation you’re presenting. More importantly, it’s about keeping your answer specific and to the point.
Now, let’s explore it more in detail:
Situation – refers to the context in which you were when you had to perform the actions you’re describing. You need to present the situation detailed enough for the interviewer to understand the setup.
Tip: Be specific and don’t generalise. Pick one situation, not a summary of your overall professional experience.
Task – refers to the goal you were working to achieve
Action – refers to the steps you took in order to reach your goal. Describe the logical sequence of actions you worked on to accomplish the desired outcome.
Tip: Focus on what you did to solve/improve a situation. Describe your contribution. Use the “I” pronoun and avoid using “we”. Modesty is a virtue, but you’re not talking about the team’s achievements. It is about what you actually did.
Result – refers to the outcome of your work. What changed/got improved? Present several positive results and include some lessons learned if that’s the case. Use specific data if applicable.
Tip: Take credit for what you achieved. I noticed a tendency in women to minimise their contribution and present the results as a team effort. As one of my (female) friends puts it – and I totally agree to her approach – it’s not bragging if it’s true! So, don’t be shy in describing your achievements.
From experience I can tell you that if you have 3-4 examples at hand, you can basically cover the behavioural questions if you present them from the angle the recruiter is asking you to.
I won’t give you any predefined scenarios as I believe it’s more important to understand the technique behind presenting any situation and these examples should be authentic and describing your own behaviour.
I hope this is helpful if you think about changing your job or even going for a promotion and need to prepare your case. The above still applies even if you work for the company already. It’s a great way to promote yourself.
Now go and nail that interview!