Behavioral Interview Questions

Use STAR behavioral questions to hire your next awesome employee.

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Why behavioral questions are key

Behavioral questions (or STAR behavioral questions as they’re known in the biz) reveal how candidates behaved in past work situations—so you can tell how they’ll behave with your company.

These questions will help you spot candidates who look awesome on paper, but fail to deliver the essential qualities for the role.

You’ll find out about their teamwork, problem-solving attitude, leadership skills, communication skills and time management. Plus you might find that extra make-or-break insight to help make your final decision. 

Whether it’s measuring leadership skills or testing reactions towards client complaints, these questions will help find candidates that fit your core values and role-specific qualities. 

Behavioral interview questions

  • No one likes to deliver bad news. Describe a time you’ve taken on that role and what happened.
  • How would you communicate effectively with a difficult colleague?
  • How would you explain [this term] to someone outside the industry?
  • If a team leader encouraged competition over collaboration, what would you do? 
  • Tell us about a time you aced project efficiency and explain your process. 
  • Have you ever missed a deadline? What happened? What would you change next time?
  • Have you ever missed a deadline as a team? How do you overcome that?
  • What’s your prioritization strategy?
  • How do you handle stressful situations at work? Give us an example.
  • What happens if you and a colleague don’t see eye-to-eye? How do you overcome that?
  • How do you handle client complaints?
  • How do you handle unfamiliar tasks?

How to ace your behavioral interview questions

  • Give them time: Past experience questions take time to perfect. Give your candidates that luxury by letting them know there’s no rush. 
  • Think of alternatives: If they can’t think of an answer, ask them to give you an example from somewhere else.
  • Ask follow-up qs: Get the best results by delving deeper into one-dimensional answers. 
  • Give them ideas: Entry-level candidates might not have a ton of work-related experience. Remind them they can use examples from non-professional environments like study groups, athletic teams or volunteer work.
  • Pay attention: Ask yourself what kinds of examples your candidates choose to see how they define a challenging situation.
  • Don’t rely on their answers: People make mistakes and learn from the past. Take candidates’ past behaviours into account but remember they might have changed too.

Candidates to avoid

  • Quick, generic answers: If a candidate can’t describe specific situations, they’re probably trying to avoid answering the question. Look for candidates who back their answers up with examples. 
  • Hypothetical responses: If your candidate is vague, they probably don’t have examples to back it up.
  • Silent candidates: If a candidate can’t perform in an interview, it’s unlikely they can perform in another difficult situation.
  • Lack substance: Candidates who can’t back their story’s up with hard results, probably aren’t worth your time. Relate their past behaviors to performance to find the ultimate fit.

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