Behavioural Interview Questions To Get Top Hires

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    When hiring new staff, traditional interviews focus on testing technical skills. But it is soft skills and personal qualities like problem-solving, leadership, and communication that often determine if a person can excel at the job. Behavioral questions that test soft skills will only improve technical skill-based interviews.

    Behavioral interviews are becoming popular because they can be effective in selecting the right candidates. Businesses use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) technique to gather candidate information. By looking for specific answers, the interviewer can find out how the candidate would react in a certain situation. Find out more about why behavioral interviews can find the right candidates and how to use them to get good results.

    What Purpose Do Behavioral Interview Questions Serve?

    Behavioral interview questions help understand the candidate’s personality and thought process. They are based on the principle ‘past behavior is a strong indicator of future behavior.’

    These questions will predict how a candidate behaves in a real-world situation. For example, if a candidate exceeded sales targets in their previous company, there is a good chance they would do so again. Therefore, the questions’ focus is on knowing the outcome of past actions.

    Here are some common examples of the questions that can be asked in a behavioral interview.

    1. Discuss an incident when you made a mistake at work and how you reacted to it.

    2. Tell us about a situation when you had to complete a task against a tight deadline and how you completed it.

    3. Describe a situation when you took responsibility beyond your job description.

    4. Discuss a time when you had to finish many tasks at once, and how you completed them well.

    What Soft Skill Sets Do Behavioral Interview Questions Test?

    An employer can use behavioral interview questions to screen candidates for soft skills like positive team spirit, strong work ethic, or great leadership qualities.

    Businesses need to match a set of skills to a certain role. Tech companies might look for solution-oriented candidates who can reduce costs and save time. Sales companies look for candidates with people skills. Asking the right questions can help the interviewer assess the candidate’s suitability with the current team.

    The important soft skills required in today’s workplaces can be broadly grouped into 4 categories:

    1. Problem-solving

    2. Collaboration

    3. Stress handling

    4. Leadership


    Problem-solving is an essential soft skill for most roles. People who are good at problem-solving can identify the root cause of a problem and use critical thinking to produce ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions.

    Such candidates are flexible and make good decisions. While answering the following questions about their past behavior, candidates reveal their thought processes. This helps interviewers understand the candidate’s problem-solving ability.

    1. How did you work around a big change at work?

    Employees often have to deal with new and unexpected challenges: new staff, projects, and management policies. They must be able to make changes quickly. This question can identify the candidate’s ability to deal with constant changes and ways to resolve conflicts.

    2. How did you deal with an instance where you had to make a tough decision at work and how did it work out?

    Managers often have to make tough decisions, like choosing whom to promote among many good employees or deciding where to cut expenses. The candidate’s answer reveals how they think while making difficult choices.

    3. What steps would you take to resolve an issue that your coworker had in your presence?

    Team leaders have to regularly solve issues between employees. This ability can be assessed only through real-life examples. The candidate’s approach also shows their leadership style. What actions they take if they are unsuccessful can also say a lot about their team management styles.


    Collaboration is encouraged in most businesses because it benefits the company and employees. Therefore, the HR team seeks out team players whose people skills improve team bonds and productivity. They usually have good communication skills.

    Here are some questions that interviewers can use to understand if a candidate is good at teamwork.

    1. Do you prefer to work alone or be part of a team?

    This question helps understand if the candidate’s personality suits the role. The job may require independence, teamwork, or a mix of the two. If a role needs more group work, it is best to select suitable candidates.

    2. Tell us about a team experience you have had. What role did you play? What skills did you use when working with the team?

    These questions help understand if the candidate can work well in a team situation. They aim to assess if the candidate has basic team-building skills like active listening, communication, and conflict management.

    3. Describe a situation when you disagreed with another team member.

    With this question, the interviewer can understand how well the candidate handles workplace disagreements. They should ideally be able to demonstrate good communication and conflict-resolution skills.


    Stress can be a constant element of many jobs, especially those that present sudden challenges. This is crucial as job stress will affect employee performance negatively.

    Listed below are some interview questions that can shortlist candidates who are better at handling work-related stress.

    1. Tell us about a situation where you took a risk and failed.

    The objective of this question is not to reject unsuitable candidates. Instead, it is to check if they are honest about their failures by seeing how they think and react in any situation.

    2. How do you complete tasks when faced with a tight deadline? Give us an example.

    For roles that have tight deadlines, candidates must like the idea of working under pressure. This question can also give insight into the candidate’s time management and organization skills.

    3. Describe a time when a client was unhappy with your organization’s policy. How did you handle it?

    The answer will check if the candidate can, in difficult situations, act keeping in mind the company policy and customer satisfaction. The candidate must explain why the policy is in place, understand the customer’s concerns, and look for an alternate solution.

    4. Have you had a difficult situation with your immediate supervisor? How did you handle it?

    Needless to say, disagreement with an immediate supervisor is common in workplaces. The potential daily occurrence of such situations can also be very stressful. Checking if the person worked through it or gave in to the pressure can reveal a lot.

    Leadership Skills

    Behavioral interview questions are especially vital to leadership roles. The right candidate can add to staff morale and company culture. A key part of an executive hire is assessing whether they have long-term goals they can plan for. People with strong leadership skills can also get people to agree with their vision. They are also able to assign tasks and build teams effectively.

    Here are some questions that are often asked for leadership roles.

    1. Tell us how you delegate tasks.

    The answer can reveal a lot about the person’s leadership style. They should be able to demonstrate the skill to seamlessly delegate and manage the day-to-day functions of the team.

    2, Tell us of a time when you took the lead in a work project.

    The answer to this simple question can reveal many things about the candidate. Are they a self-starter? Do they look for opportunities? Do they go beyond the job description and take on extra responsibility? Do they give credit to other team members?

    3. Tell us of a time that you brought in a change in a company. How did you take it forward?

    Senior leaders need to make strategic changes in an organization. Can the candidate correctly understand the scope of change, build a plan to implement it, and get everyone to collaborate? The response to this question can shed light on these aspects.

    4. Describe a time your staff opposed your plans. What strategy did you use to convince them?

    Employee resistance to change is not new. However, it can also create severe issues in the organization. The interviewer needs to assess whether the candidate could reduce its impact. What action did they take? Did they explain what was changing or did they simply enforce the change?

    Final Thoughts

    Traditional interview questions ask the candidates what they did in their previous jobs. However, behavioral interview questions focus on asking how and why they did it.

    These questions have no right or wrong response. Understanding the applicant’s soft skills is the goal. It is difficult to quantify soft skills like communication, adaptability, critical thinking, and leadership. Candidates may claim to possess soft skills. But how does one assess them?

    A structured interview process is the best way because it provides one-on-one communication. Candidates may not intentionally employ the STAR technique, but their responses still provide the necessary information.

    Therefore, plan a good hiring system, choose an appropriate interview technique, and ask the right questions.

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