Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Behavioral Interview Techniques

Last week I wrote about behavioral interviews and tried to clear up misconceptions. This weeks blog is again on behavioral interviews but specifically techniques for answering questions.

Last week I gave a very vague example of a behavioral interview question, this question was open-ended. That question: "Tell me how you would handle a situation where ______________." Is a perfect example of what you're up against in most behavioral job interviews regardless of whether it is with a Police Service or a corporation.

Be a S.T.A.R. STAR is an example that is most often used for behavioral interview responses. It follows the following formula, S: Situation, describe briefly when and where the incident occurred and who was involved. You are setting the scene. T: Task, what were you trying to achieve, what was the problem or issue to be dealt with. A: Action, what action did you take independently or to assist others to get to a positive outcome. R: Result, what was the outcome of your actions, state your success and any positive feedback received or what you learned if the outcome was different to what was anticipated. Explain what you would do differently in the future. Alternatively you could include information sharing as a competency here for result. For instance, how I shared this experience to better my co-workers.

STAR is a good formula and is an excellent way to get used to answering behavioral questions, if you cover all your STAR basses in the order they appear: Situation, task, action, result. Result is the one most people overlook. Result could be hyphenated as follow-up. The reason for this is because it's very important to articulate what you learnt from the situation you described and how you curbed your approach to similar problems or thought processes after that event.

A good example of Star in action taken from You are asked: 'Can you tell me about a time when you had to organise a major event?' Using the STAR model, your answer might be something like this:

'Yes - earlier this year I had to organise the UTS Careers Fair.

'To do this, I was required to market and advertise the Fair to both students and employers. I also had to organise venue hire, catering and booth construction, and exhibition equipment.

'To market the Fair to students, we had a postcard designed and mailed out to our target audience. We also used banners, flyers and posters to advertise. In the week leading up to the Fair, we used a video wall for the first time.... [Describe succinctly each of the other tasks for which you were responsible.

'We had 65 employers at the fair, which was the largest number of employers to attend to date. And there were over 2500 students, which was also a record number.'

The above example is a perfect, smooth example, all it leaves out is sufficent information about the exact time, which is a detail you would input yourself, specifically who was involved and also a really concrete follow-up, "In the future, I did __________ to make sure other volunteers and organizes knew of this successful method to bring more people to the job fair."

Again, simple but very effective, this formla for answering questions will become very natural for you eventually, with practice.

Next week we'll have more on behavioral interview techniques so send in your questions, the forum is down right now but I will answer emails, private messages and feel free to leave questions in the "comments" section of this blog.


Thiep said...

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Peter said...


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Chaya Danzinger said...

Firstly I just came across this blog and there's been so much useful information- thank you!
My question is: As a 19 year old applicant with little volunteer experience the past 2 years, and not many scenarios at work or school I am wondering what I would do if I am asked a question on something I have not experienced. For example the one mentioned in this post about organizing a major event. I can speak about a small birthday party, but it is a little irrelevant, don't you think?
So in a case like this, would you recommend just saying I'm sorry I have never experienced that, or rather try to come up with SOMETHING how ever small and insignificant it seems?
Thank you!

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Stepherd said...

Such a nice information through this. And i hope this will let the people those who are ready to face the interview. And please keep update like this.

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