Being prepared for an upcoming job interview is one of the best ways to make a good impression. That’s why it’s always a good idea to find out what style of interview you should be getting ready for.

Core competencies or behavioural based questions are some of the most common types asked at job interviews – where you’re asked to give examples of what you’ve done in the past and how you handled specific situations. This style of questioning is used so often because talking about your past behaviours can be a good way of determining how you’ll act in future.

While on the surface it might sound simple to turn up to a job interview and start talking about all the things you’ve already done before – don’t underestimate the power of those interview-nerves to suddenly empty your head right of all those amazing examples right at the crucial moment!

To help you prepare for your next job interview, we’ve compiled a list of the types of questions that might come your way in a behavioural based interview. Happy prepping!

Adaptability

  • Tell me about a time when you changed your priorities to meet others’ expectations.
  • Describe a time when you altered your own behaviour to fit the situation.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to change your point of view or your plans to take into account new information or changing priorities.

Client Focus

  • Give an example of how you provided service to a client/stakeholder that was beyond their expectations. How did you know what they expected? How did you respond?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client.
  • Give me an example of a decision you have made which benefited the client but not you.

Communication

  • Describe a situation you were involved in recently that required you to communicate with people at a senior level.
  • Give an example of a difficult or sensitive decision that you have had to communicate to others.
  • Tell me about a time when you really had to pay attention to what someone else was saying in order to understand their message and be able to act upon it.

Problem Solving and Judgment

  • Tell me about a problem you have recently encountered.
  • Tell me about the last problem you could not solve.
  • Give me an example of a problem that required particularly careful thought.

Results Orientation

  • Tell me about the last long term goal you set yourself and how you have achieved it.
  • Describe something you have done to improve your own performance.
  • Give me an example of when recently you have failed to meet a target.

Teamwork

  • Tell me about how you helped the last person to join your team feel like they were a part of the team.
  • Describe a situation where you were successful in getting people to work together effectively.
  • Describe a situation in which you were a member (not a leader) of a team, and a conflict arose within the team. What did you do?

Developing Others

  • Tell me about the last person you coached and how you helped improve their skills or job performance.
  • Describe a time when you provided feedback to someone about his or her performance.
  • Give me an example of a time when you recognised that a member of your team was performing below the required standard. What did you do?

Impact and Influence

  • Describe a recent situation in which you convinced an individual on your team to do something.
  • Describe a time when you changed someone’s mind.
  • Describe a situation in which you needed to change a decision that had already been made.

Innovation

  • Describe the last thing you did to improve the performance and/or productivity of your team.
  • Tell me about the most mundane part of your job. What have you done to make it more interesting or challenging?
  • Tell me about a recent problem in which old solutions wouldn’t work. How did you solve the problem?

Leadership

  • Tell me about a time when you had to take the lead role in a group so that it achieved its objective.
  • Describe a situation where you had to lead by example.
  • Describe a situation where you inspired others to meet a common goal.

Relationship Building

  • Give me an example of a client that you have developed an effective mutually beneficial relationship with. How did you go about building the relationship?
  • Tell me about a time when you relied on another person to help you with a work-related task or problem.
  • Give me an example of a time when you deliberately attempted to build rapport with a co-worker or customer.

Self-Motivation

  • Describe the last time you were under pressure. What did you do to keep the level of stress manageable?
  • Describe the last time you had to pick yourself up from a disappointment.
  • Tell me about how you managed your day the last time your manager was not around to help, advise, give out work or provide discipline.

Strategic Thinking

  • Describe how you have changed the way you normally work in response to changes in your industry.
  • Describe a time you created a strategy to achieve a longer-term business objective.
  • Describe a time when you had to think strategically in order to make a difficult decision.

Initiative

  • Describe when you have had to make a decision by yourself about how something should be done.
  • Give me an example of the last time you were given a piece of work you didn’t know how to do.

Attention to Detail

  • Tell me about a piece of work you have done where you had to ensure the outcome was perfect. How did you approach this piece of work?
  • Describe the last time you were given back a piece of work to do again because it contained errors.
  • Give me an example of a time where you had to balance getting the job done well and getting it done quickly. How did you balance these two factors?

Conflict Management

  • Tell me about a time when you voiced a concern or disagreement to a co-worker.
  • Describe a situation on your team that you had to deal with quickly in order to stop the situation getting worse.
  • Tell me about a time where someone has been unhappy with you or how you work.

Planning and Organisation

  • Describe a time when your schedule was suddenly interrupted.
  • When was the last time that you had to take on extra work at short notice?
  • When was the last time that you had to work to a particularly tight deadline?

Practice working your way through the above list to see if you can answer all the questions! If you find you have some gaps, think about how you would address those if it comes up during the interview.

This is by no means an extensive list of the types of questions you might get, and part of the job interview process is seeing how you deal with ambiguity so it’s not always possible to prepare for absolutely everything!

A final piece of advice: when you’re getting ready for a job interview it’s a good idea to read through the job ad and position description carefully and identify any key areas that you think will likely come up. That way you can start thinking about how you would answer and what kind of examples you might use.

Good Luck!
Kirsty and Nikki

Stay Interviews
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