The Final/Behavioral Interview

I once read a thread in which one applicant complained about how difficult and exhausting the final interview was for him. I became intrigued since “tough” is not the ideal term to characterize this process; it will be lengthy, certainly, but it will not be difficult.

Interview questions used to be relatively straightforward: “Why do you want to work here?” and “Tell me about your skills and weaknesses.” and “How can you help this company?” are just a few instances.

Employers nowadays are more interested in how you handled an issue or scenario in the past rather than what you would do in the future. An interviewer will want you to be more precise here, which means that ambiguous replies, running about, or talking your way out of a scenario will not suffice. The interviewer will ask follow-up questions to uncover how your actions that led to the outcome you claimed.

A behavioral interview would typically start with something like “tell me about the time when…”, “Give me an example of when…”, or “give me an example of how you have….”

Here are a few examples:

Tell me about when your manager asked you to do something that conflicted with how you felt.

Give me an example of what you did when you found out that two of your colleagues are not on good terms.

Describe a situation in which you could use persuasion to convince someone to see things your way successfully.

Give me an example of when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.

Please discuss an important written document you were required to complete

How do you prepare for a behavioral interview?

The first thing you should look at is the job description; it will include a list of specific abilities or competences that the employer is looking for; the behavioral questions will most likely be derived from the job description.

Examine your previous work experience in relation to the job description, and then jot down concrete scenarios that correspond to the company’s desired competency/skill. You will be expected to explain how you solved a problem and what happened as a result.

Remember PAR. State the PROBLEM you faced. Outline the ACTION you took to resolve the problem. And then explain the RESULTS you have achieved.

An unprepared applicant for a behavioral interview will almost always fail. I must admit that I did. I could talk my way into a job since I was confident and well-known for doing so. The recruiter was aware that I was looking for scenarios. My attempt to be consistent with what I was “trying” to offer resulted in me shooting myself in the foot; my lack of preparation made me sound inconsistent, unrealistic, and generally foolish. I can only guess what the recruiter wrote on that evaluation form.

Do you remember how you felt after the interview? When you’re wondering if you done a good job or not? One piece of advice if you want to get rid of that feeling: plan ahead of time.

Preparing for an interview is like to going to battle completely prepared. It removes the sensation of doubt; barring unanticipated events (such as the interviewer’s attitude and behavior), it gives you a sense of control and confidence that you will be able to answer questions without fumbling for words or thoughts.

Good luck with your final interview.

Would you mind sharing your stories, comments, suggestions on the comment section?

5 responses to “The Final/Behavioral Interview”

  1. Hi. Thanks for the comment.

    You won’t be confused if you PREPARE for the interview.
    1. Review the job description, find it online. Look for the skills and competencies required.
    2. Once found, think of scenarios in your academic life that made you show that skill. Be very specific, tell the story – what was the problem, solution, action, tecnique, how did you feel, what did they feel? Etc. Use the PAR technique.
    3. The answers you prepare will give you the confidence to answer the questions.

    You cannot skip a final interview question. If, based on your analysis, you do not have the skills and competencies required for the job, then it means you are not fit for that job.

    Preparation is the key.

    Hope this helps.

  2. Hi,
    Im gonna ask you some questions. How am I going to react if during the final interview, the interviewer will ask me some questions like giving scenarios etc. in which I never experience at all. Do I have to pretend that I did encountered it and concoct some stories, whatever! just to chew the fat out of it? Do I have the right to tell him/her that, Im sorry I cannot answer that question, next please!? Im pretty confuse how am I going to respond if I ever be in this type of situation. Hoping to hear from you soon… thanks a lot

  3. I once had an interview at 24/7, I’ve been in this industry for a loong time, not a hopper, long tenureship in my previous company, was very nice on the interviewer, then I got the axe, lol. Of course, I couldn’t believe it but when I look back – just like what you said about “outlining” I knew where I had gone wrong and after that horrible experience my next interviews went smoother than before.. =)

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