3 Steps to Nail Your Next Behavioral Interview

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By: Rachel Wei / September 10, 2019

Staring at the email on the screen, you can’t decide whether to celebrate or panic. “Congratulations! We’re pleased to extend you an offer to interview for this position.” Of course, you’re happy that you’ve made it to the next round, but at what cost? You can already feel panic rising inside you as you try to take a deep breath and relax.

It’s okay—behavioral interviews are not everyone’s favorite. Oftentimes, it feels like we’re expected to be super pumped about an upcoming interview, and feel like an unappreciative jerk if we voice any complaints. If behavioral interviews make you want to scream and run away instead of jumping with joy, don’t fear! Follow these three steps to nail your next behavioral interview. 

1) Think through your experiences

Although the point of an interview is often to see how you respond to questions or hypotheticals on the fly, thinking through possible questions and creating a rough sketch of your response in your head can help ease your nerves. Similar to preparing for a performance, or studying for a test, preparing content in advance can help you excel when the real thing comes around. Try running through a few key transformative experiences, conflicts, or events. Think about how they have impacted you and led to growth. You can do this out loud, or on paper. Check out this doc with a framework on how to conduct this brainstorming exercise.

Afterwards, try grabbing a friend or a family member to run through your planned responses. Having someone actually in front of you listening to your responses can make your practice session feel more real. They can also give you feedback after, which is another plus. Prepping for a behavioral interview doesn’t have to be tedious—try thinking of it as an opportunity to reminisce and ponder just how far you’ve come. 

Looking up popular behavioral interview questions online can also be helpful. It’s also worth googling commonly asked questions for the specific position you’re applying to, or at least the field you’re hoping to get a job in. Browsing through common questions that are asked, as well as recent, trending questions will ensure that you’re maximally prepared to ace the interview.

2) Research

We all know that interviews typically end with“Do you have any questions for me?” The problem is that sometimes we don’t really have any unique, thoughtful questions prepared in advance. Researching the company’s history, values, goals, etc. is imperative for nailing your behavioral interview. Many recruiters and hiring managers say that a thoughtful question about the company can make a candidate stand out and that more likely to get the job. Make sure you thoroughly browse the company’s website, and if possible, do some research on the interviewer as well. Knowing the company you’re interviewing for can guide your responses to be more focused on the company’s specific goals and values. If you gather information beforehand, you can craft responses that showcase the skills necessary to excel in the company. 

In addition, if you have any questions or concerns about the company, or want to get a feel for how it is to actually work for the company, this is your chance to turn those questions into answers. Don’t be afraid of asking more personal questions (or a few) at the end of your interview.  Everyone loves talking about their own experiences and sharing what they’re passionate about, so take advantage of that. It will not only demonstrate your interest in the company and knowledge of what they do, but it will give them a better glimpse into your personality and understand whether you’re a cultural fit. 

Remember, not having multiple thoughtful questions prepared at the end of an interview can make you seem uninterested or unprepared. With that being said, be sure to have multiple questions prepared in advance. Here are a few questions you can ask your interviewer in your next interview:

  • Where do you see the company going in the next five years? 

  • What is the company culture/dynamic like? 

  • Can you tell me about your experience working with [insert your topic of interest]?

  • Why is ____ a core value of the company? 

  • What surprised you when you first started working for the company?

3) Remember, you got this!

After you’ve done everything you can to prepare in advance, all you have to do is remember that you are prepared for this interview. Especially if interviews tend to make you nervous and you view them as the bane of your existence, remember, you got this! You should feel confident that you’ve done your part to prepare. Now you just have to go into the interview confident, and ready to shine. 

One thing you can do right before your interview to give you an extra boost of confidence is to remember everything you have to offer the company, not only professionally, but personally. Are you funny, always quick to disperse a tense office situation with a clever joke? Remember that before you go into an interview. Do you pride yourself in being able to navigate any tricky situation, and think on your feet? Remember that before you go into an interview.Positive, validating self-talk can be a powerful tool to help you go into an interview and crush it. Check out Heream’s post about books for empowered women for some extra inspiration from confident, successful women. 

Taking deep breaths, making sure you’re hydrated, or watching an uplifting, funny video are also things you can do to relax before you go into the interview. 

Studies show that positive thinking has numerous practical health benefits, and can also boost performance. 

Do you have tips on how to nail a behavioral interview? Comment down below!

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