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Undergraduate Catalog

Graduate Catalog

Behavioral Interviews


The behavioral based interview is founded on the premise that the best predictor of future performance is past performance. Rather than asking you directly if you have a particular skill or trait (to which you would probably answer "yes!"), the interviewer asks you to provide an example of a time when you demonstrated the skill or trait that they are seeking. These questions will often begin with phrases such as: "Tell me about a time when..." or "Describe a situation in which...".

An effective response to a behavioral based interview question will possess certain characteristics. It will be specific in describing the example situation or problem, clearly spell out the action taken by the candidate to resolve the situation, and state the result of that action or intervention.

The following are examples of behavioral based interview questions listed under the area that the interviewer is trying to probe:

Professional or technical knowledge
Q. Describe a situation where your professional/technical expertise made a significant difference.

Decision making
Q. Tell me about a time when you took a public stance on an issue and then had to change your position?

Q. Describe a situation where you handled decisions under pressure or when time limits were imposed?

Q. Relate a scenario where you were responsible for motivating others.

Q. Describe a really tough or long day and how you dealt with the situation?

Personal attributes or qualities
Q. Tell me about a time when you set and accomplished short term, medium range and long term goals? What were the differences in your approach to each?

Unpleasant situations
Q. Relate a personal story in which you persuaded someone to do something that initially did not appeal to them.

Team Work
Q. Tell me about a time when, if it hadn’t been for teamwork, your goal might not have been achieved.

Q. Describe a scenario in which you have gone above and beyond what was expected of you.

Q. Describe a time in which you took initiative rather than waiting to be told what to do.

Q. Narrate a situation during college in which you experienced a particularly high level of stress.

Q. Describe a project or goal that has caused you frustration.

Q. Tell me about a time when you did your best to resolve a customer or client concern and the individual still was not satisfied. What did you do next?

Q. Describe an opportunity in which you’ve had to make a presentation to a large group. Describe an opportunity in which you’ve had to make a presentation to a small group. What did you do differently to prepare for each?