How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

Most people don’t know how to answer behavioral interview questions the right way, and subsequently they end up losing the job without ever knowing why. The entire point of these interview questions is to try and predict a prospective employee’s future behavior, so all you need to do is think about what behavior they’re trying to find out about and tailor your response with an answer that reflects positively on you.


1. Listen to the questions carefully, and ask the interviewer to repeat them if necessary. It’s very important that you pay close attention because as the questions are being asked, you need to try and figure out what type of behavior they’re getting at. An example would be “How would you handle an employee who consistently shows up late to work?” In that question, they are trying to determine your behavior in an authority and disciplinary situation.

2. Answer the direct question first, and then elaborate on your behavior. When answering behavioral interview questions, it’s important to answer the direct questions first and then support your answer with details. If you don’t answer the direct question first, it can seem like you are trying to avoid it.

3. Include illustrative examples and stories. Once you’ve answered the direct question, it’s time to use examples to show how your behavior in past situations is what they are looking for. Using the same disciplinary example, you could explain how you’ve dealt with bad employees in the past. Just be careful to choose situations that showcase the specific behavior they’re looking for.

4. Make your answer long enough to cover everything, but short enough to hold the interviewer’s attention. You want to be thorough and answer the question, but you don’t want to ramble on so long that you begin to bore people. There is a fine line, so pay attention to what you’re saying and also to the interviewer’s body language and facial expressions.

5. Don’t lie or pretend to know something. It’s easy for interviewers to tell when someone is lying or making thing up. Make sure that your answers are rooted in facts and that you’re always telling the truth.


Prepare before the interview as much as you can. Looking through sample behavioral interview questions and thinking about how you might answer them is a great way to increase your chances of succeeding in the actual interview. You can purchase interview question and answer books from most bookstores or even check them out at your local library. No matter how you choose to prepare, remember that the more prepared you are the better chance you have at doing well in the interview.

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