Behavior Based Interviewing

Behavior Based Interviewing For Sales Jobs

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If it’s been awhile since you’ve been out of work and interviewing for a job, then you may never have encountered the concept of behavior based interviewing. Or, you may simply be someone that has never interviewed with a company or an employer for whom behavior based interviewing is the standard methodology for screening candidates for sales jobs, whether for full-time jobs or part-time jobs.

Either way, you’ll need to get up to speed on the process in order to perform well in any interview in which the methods are used.

Odds are good, even if you only participate in a few interviews before landing a new position, you’ll experience some behavior based interview questions. In the off chance you don’t, rest assured any practice you put in with honing your behavior based interviewing skills will still serve you well. In fact, practicing methods of appropriately answering behavior based interview questions help job seekers provide more robust and impressive responses to even the most traditional interview questions, like “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Traditional Job Interview Methods

In more traditional interviews for full-time jobs and part-time jobs, employers asked questions that were easier for interviewees to bluff their way through. They may have asked, for instance, “Are you familiar with working in a sales management database in which you track your leads?”

Questions such as these are rather closed-ended and leading in nature. Candidates are able to answer with a simple “yes” or “no,” and in order to get greater detail about the candidate’s experience, the interviewer would need to ask a follow-up question, usually something along the lines of: “Can you tell me a little more about the system you used?”

Now granted, answers to these more traditional questions may provide the interviewer with some details about the candidate’s experience, but a skilled talker, as most candidates interviewing for sales jobs and media jobs will be, could bluff their way through responses with ease. Additionally, these kinds of questions don’t offer a way of determining a candidate’s demonstrated work behaviors.

Essentially, the more traditional methods of interviewing falls short, leaving employers with only partial information about a prospective employee’s real abilities and skills. For this reason, more and more employers, especially those considering candidates for higher level and professional positions have begun utilizing behavior based interviewing methods.

So, in your search for jobs, if you’re applying for or interviewing with an employer who will be considering you for social worker, engineer jobs, or any more professional level position, the odds of completing a behavior based interview session increase significantly.

What’s Behavior Based Interviewing?

Behavior based interviewing techniques are utilized by employers who are looking for greater detail on your demonstrated work abilities. In other words, it is an interviewing method that requires you to give strong, detailed examples to support any claims you make about your skills, abilities and character during an interview or on a resume or CV.

Behavior based interview questions are open-ended and require a candidate to answer in a very structured and specific manner in order to satisfy all requirements for sufficiently addressing the “situation” or “challenge” set forth in the question itself. Here are a few examples of common behavior based questions you may encounter.

  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a very quick decision on a matter of significant importance.
  • How do you typically handle conflict? Give me an example.
  • Tell me of a time when you took the lead on a project or specific task? What were the circumstances? And the outcomes?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with someone with whom you didn’t really like or mesh well with. How did you handle the situation?

Answering Behavior Based Interview Questions

When formulating responses to behavior based interview questions, there are two primary methods which can be used: SOAR and STAR. In each method, your answers will have four parts, with each part representing one of the letters in the acronym which is the title of the method. Also in each method, the entire answer should tell a “story” about you and your work-related behaviors, actions, skills, abilities, and knowledge. Following are the basic frameworks for each method.

The STAR Method

  • Situation – Describe a specific work-related task or situation.
  • Task – What were you trying to achieve or accomplish in that situation or through that task?
  • Action – What action or actions did you take toward achieving your goal?
  • Result – What was the result or the outcomes of the actions you took?

The SOAR Method

  • Situation – Describe a specific work-related task or situation.
  • Obstacle or Opportunity – Describe the opportunity or the obstacle you encountered in the situation or with the task.
  • Action – What action or actions did you take to overcome the obstacle or take advantage of the opportunity?
  • Result – What was the result or the outcomes of the actions you took?

You can apply these whether you want to apply in engineer jobs, sales jobs, media jobs, or social worker positions. Bear them in mind and you’re sure to ace your interview.


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One comment

  1. Both great methods to telling a story in a logical order. I offer for the consideration of those that use this technique when stating the results always be sure to end on a positive. For example, if the story involves a project that was undertaken, the challeges/obtacles faced and the end result was a loss or unsuccessful venture, do not leave it at that. State what was learned and where the improvements will be made for next time.

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