Behavioral Interview Questions And Answers 101 (+ Free PDF)

By Mike Simpson

Imagine you’re sitting on a black folding chair in the middle of the hiring manager’s office at your very next job interview.

You want this job. Bad.

You’re eye to eye with the hiring manager…

The hiring manager takes a long pause and after what seems like an eternity finally leans forward and says:

“Tell me about a time when a group project you were working on failed….”

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This guy has been trying to prepare for behavioral questions (he clearly hasn’t read this post…)

Uh oh. One of the dreaded behavioral interview questions.

So, considering your future career aspirations may hinge on your answer…

What do you say?

Do you have a “success story” that highlights the exact qualities that particular company is looking for in an employee, and are you ready to talk about it smoothly?

Or are you sitting there dry-mouthed with a confused and rather silly look on your face as you try and come up with a stall tactic?

Don’t worry if you fell into the “confused and rather silly” camp because this article is going to demystify behavioral interviews and hand you a clear blueprint or plan for coming up with fantastic answers that will wow the hiring manager and leave your competition in your dust.

You are going to get actionable stuff that you can immediately apply in your next interview. No wishy washy info here.

Start by downloading our “Behavioral Interview Questions PDF Checklist” that gives tips on how to answer 25 common behavioral questions CLICK HERE TO GET THE BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW CHECKLIST

Behavioral questions definitely take a little practice to get the hang of, but this article is going to take you step by step through the process of getting prepared.

There are various components to a behavioral question that we we need to break down piece by piece…

Ok let’s get cracking…

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What The Heck Are Behavioral Interview Questions Anyway?

In case you aren’t completely clear on what exactly behavioral questions are, here’s an explanation.

A behavioral question (also known as STAR Interview Questions or behavior-based interview questions) is a question that aims at learning about your past “behaviors” in specific work situations.  

How you have “behaved” in certain situations in the past will give them clues on how you’ll behave in those same situations when working for them in the future.

Behavioral questions can be asked at any time, but are often asked as part of a second interview.

Why do hiring managers insist on asking behavioral questions? (Don’t they know job interviews are hard enough??)

Hiring managers ask behavioral questions for a very specific reason.

They are trying to see if you possess specific qualities that they need for the particular position you are interviewing for.

Remember, as Jeff and I always say: “It’s not about you, It’s about them”

In other words, if they are looking for someone with good leadership qualities, they may ask you a behavioral question to see if your past behaviors demonstrate leadership.

An example of a behavioral question that is looking for you to demonstrate leadership qualities could be:

“Tell me about a time when you took the lead on a difficult project?”

So that begs the question, how can you demonstrate to the hiring manager that you can be a great leader?

The answer is: With Success Stories

BONUS PDF CHECKLIST: Download our "Behavioral Interview Questions PDF Checklist" that gives tips on how to answer 25 common behavioral questions CLICK HERE TO GET THE BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW CHECKLIST

Why You Need “Success Stories” To Give Fantastic Answers To Behavioral Questions

A success story is a short story from your past that highlights a specific “quality” or “competency” that you possess.

Usually a success story revolves around a past work experience. However, for recent grads or those with little work experience a Success Story can be taken from other events in your life such as school clubs, athletic teams, volunteer work etc… The point is it must highlight the quality they are looking for.

For example, let’s go back to our leadership question: “Tell me about a time when you