This page was last updated on 10th of March 2017
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Many of the questions that you are asked in various interviews won’t be black and white. There are many shades of gray -and that is intentional. The interviewer is trying to find out what your behavior might be based on various scenarios –or, what your behavior was in a past situation. They are looking for someone with certain characteristics and the Behavioral Based and Situational types of questioning helps them to find someone that is a good fit.
At least, that is the theory.
McDonald’s French Fries are uniform whether purchased in Wichita, Kansas or Cairo, Egypt because they are manufactured, prepared, cooked and served in accordance with strict written procedures published at the corporate level and adhered to at every McDonald’s Restaurant.
And, so it goes with corporate HR and the procedures the interviewer is bound to.
No longer can the interviewer, regardless of how experienced, old or wise, exercise his or her discretion and best judgment about whether a candidate is a good fit for the position. No longer can someone say about a new hire, “I just liked the ‘cut of his jib’” –as someone said about this writer once, years ago.
Some might say that the upside is, once you know the system and the name of the game, you can game the system.
There is nothing preventing you from learning all you can about the interviewing strategy, creating several scenarios, and committing them to memory; then going forth to the interview as if you were Samuel L. Jackson showing up to shoot a scene in a Quentin Tarantino movie.
“Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club.” –Jack London
By that I mean, to get through the interview successfully, you go into it with the frame of mind as if it is “ShowTime.”
The Brain Trust at corporate HR would be Frothing at the Mouth and brimming with Fear and Loathing if they read the preceding paragraphs.
If it is not within you to go the route described above, I give you the sanitized version that corporate HR would rather see published, as follows below.
However, to sway the odds in your favor, the smart money would take the road less traveled. For more perspective on getting through the mire of interview questions and answers, consider the above method, implemented within the format explained in the “Guide to Interview Answers” by Bob Firestone –found HERE. After your review of the guide, you can review this writer’s review of the guide, found HERE, if you like.
The Sanitized Perspective | Preparing for Behavioral Interview Questions
When it comes to behavioral interview questions, you want to relax and answer them honestly. If you don’t understand the question, it is fine to ask for clarification. Make sure you answer all parts of a question too. Be honest with your answers; don’t give the answer that you think they want.
Ethical and legal dilemmas may be part of what is covered. With many of the questions there is more than one right way to handle it. What they are looking for is your reasoning to back up what you are claiming you would do.
Open Ended Questions
There will also be several open ended questions for you to answer in this type of interview. For example, you may be asked to give an example of when you had a conflict with another employee and how it was resolved. You may be asked to give an example of how you have handled tight deadlines in a given scenario.
This is where your past experiences on the job are able to come in and help you complete your answers. If you don’t have any such scenario that you can recall, don’t invent a solution. Instead, politely tell the interviewer that you haven’t faced that type of situation in a work environment yet. They may prompt you from that point to tell them what you would do if it occurred or they may just move on to the next question.
Behavior Based Competency
This type of interview helps them to decide if you have the right skills to do the job. They want the work done efficiently, but they also want good in-house relations. Behavior based interviews often occur when you will be doing work where there is lots of variables and often lots of interactions with other people.
By showing that you are open to new ideas, that you listen, that you are a team player, and that you are cool under pressure, you give them plenty of good things to consider before hiring you. They want to know the person they hire is going to be able to do well in a variety of situations.
What they don’t want is to spend time and money on training and then find it isn’t work out. If you haven’t been in a job interview for a while, this concept may be new to you. Understanding how it works and the value it offers can help you to feel relaxed and to do your very best answering the questions.
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