102 Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers
A job interview consists of several segments. An interviewer will ask you to briefly talk about yourself, state why you studied your particular subject in school, mention your strengths and weaknesses, state why you are applying at a particular company, and a slew of other questions.
All of these questions are designed to evaluate you; they are used to determine if you are indeed the right fit for the position and, more importantly, the company. Perhaps the most important set of questions that interviewers will ask candidates are behavioral questions.
Often overlooked by many, behavioral questions assess how your past experiences in certain situations will come in handy for the company you are applying to. These questions measure your teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving skills, as well as conflict resolution and failure reflection capabilities.
If you are able to convince your interviewer that you have performed well in the past with real-life examples, then they will trust that you will so again in the future. It can be argued that behavioral questions are the most difficult and most important part of any job interview. They are deceptively more difficult than technical questions, which catches many people off guard.
Fortunately, we have assembled a long list of 102 behavioral interview questions with sample answers to help you ace this segment. Most of them are applicable in almost any industry, so you will have all bases covered when you read the entire list.
USE THE STAR SYSTEM TO ANSWER BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Using the STAR system, you can structurally break down your answer and tell the interviewers a convincing story of your success.
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results. The Situation provides background information of the scenario you were in. The Task describes the requirements and specifications of a particular project you were working on and the goal you were trying to reach. The Action explains your contributions and what skills you applied to reach the goal. The Result outlines what the outcome of your actions were and how successful the entire endeavor was.
The STAR system is a proven working method of successfully answering behavioral questions in a job interview. With all of these sample questions and answers in your hand, you will have the utmost confidence to pass this difficult phase with flying colors.
BEHAVIORAL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR PREPARING YOUR NEXT JOB INTERVIEW
#1. Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
“I once worked as a librarian and most of my colleagues, as you can imagine, were very bookish and kept to themselves. I worked with a new recruit who was very social and talkative and although I was very quiet, he was always interacting with me and asking questions. He was new to the job, so it was nice to actually teach somebody else about our tasks. It made me realize that I can open up and communicate quite well.”
#2. Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
“I worked on a task where we had to create advertising banners for a car dealer. We all pitched our ideas and one of my former coworkers made some snide remarks about my idea. We butted heads for a bit, but quickly realized that it was not leading us and the team anywhere. I told him that it was unproductive to argue over petty things and move on to find the perfect idea for the advertisement.”
This video covers an interesting perspective on how you can get along with difficult people.
#3. Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?
“On a previous project, my team collaborated with another team in the firm to create designs for a new product. While most of us got along with our different approaches to design, I had a difference of opinion with the leader of the other team. We were just different designers and liked different types of designs in general. It was challenging to work with someone who views things so differently. However, he was the team leader and had more years of experiences than I did, so he come over to me and convinced me that his particular design would be better for consumers. I understood where he was coming from and got on board his vision.”
#4. We all make mistakes we wish we could take back. Tell me about a time you wish you had handled a situation differently with a colleague.
“About a year ago, I worked with someone whose personality was very different from my own. I had more of a type A personality, whereas he had a type B personality. I was more competitive and aggressive than he was, and at times was impatient with his more relaxed style of working. I quickly realized that he was delivering excellent results on time. I noticed that you need both types of personalities in a team, to gain different perspectives on how to work. Now I am more open-minded to working with people who do not think like I do.”
#5. Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who was not very responsive. What did you do?
“As a Management Trainee, I had to learn various parts of the supply chain at the factory I was working at from different people in charge of different departments. Some were more compliant than others. Being the new kid on the block, I was not given much time when I initially met some of the managers. Afterward, I compiled a questionnaire that was brief and direct, so that I did not waste the manager’s time the next I met them. I did my homework before asking questions, so that at least I had the bases and they only needed to give me specific details, saving them time.”
#6. Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did you do?
“As the new teaching assistant at the institute, I wanted to incorporate some new ideas in the curriculum to increase student participation and learning. My professor was initially reluctant to these ideas, since the previous system was successful for years. However, I convinced him with evidence and facts that having more laboratory work and presentations every week will help the students. I outlined the structure of the course and persuaded him to let me do this. Fortunately, it was a success.”
#7. Tell me about a time when you worked with a colleague who was not doing their share of the work. How did you handle it?
“During my Bachelor thesis, one of the 4 members of our team was slacking off and not doing their share of the work. Our professor delegated the tasks to each of us and we diligently worked on them, making periodical progress reports. However, one of the members was not. We talked to him about the issue and got to the crux of the problem. We motivated him to work on the task and helped him accomplish the goal, because we were a team and we shared the load whenever we could. At the end of it all, our thesis was a success.”
#8. Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or help others to compromise. What was your role? What steps did you take? What was the result?
“When I was working on my Master thesis, I was tasked to determine the qualities of a novel material. I told my supervisor that using older techniques would not be a wise idea, but my supervisor wanted to use those methods as a means of comparison. I tried to use those older methods to determine some characteristics, but they were unreliable. My supervisor was adamant that this way had to work. I worked with the data I had to acquire results. Eventually, my supervisor understood the drawbacks and we compromised on which data to retain and omit.”
#9. Tell me about a time when you had to work on a team that did not get along. What happened? What role did you take? What was the result?
“I was promoted and tasked to assemble a team of diverse individuals to work on a project. My boss wanted me to get people from different backgrounds to work together, to test my leadership and teambuilding skills. There was some friction between some of the members, and I had to find ways to get them to cooperate. I understood their misgivings and showed them that when people with nothing in common work together, they are able to achieve great results. It was the motivation they needed to work effectively.”
#10. What was the biggest mistake you have made when delegating work as part of a team project?
“As a project manager, I once delegated my task to a team of 8 members. Since I was new to the company, I only knew them by their job titles, but I did not know their strengths and weaknesses. After a few days, I realized the productivity was low and we were behind on our progress. I convened with the entire team and got to know them better, professionally and personally. This helped me reassign them to tasks they are more comfortable with and I got the most out of my team on the project.”
Learn how to delegate work packages.
#11. Tell me about a time when you had to settle a dispute between team members. How did you go about identifying the issues? What was the result?
“I was working on a trade deal and we had to write some legal documents. A couple of team members writing the trade document got into an argument on what to include and how to write it. It escalated to personal attacks, which is completely uncalled for in a professional environment. We talked to the two conflicting members and worked out what was actually going wrong. We took both of their ideas into consideration and wrote a document that was better than we imagined. They settled their differences and understood that it was all petty in hindsight.”
#12. What have you found to be the difficult part of being a member, not leader, of a team? How did you handle this?
“In some situations, being a member means that you have to relinquish your power and leave the decision making to your superiors. I love communicating with my colleagues but I find it difficult to have my hard work judged by someone who has not seen my efforts. However, I quickly realized that it is not a criticism of my work, but rather it is a review to give me constructive feedback, to improve my work to make me better. All of the progress I have made thus far is because of my team leader reviewing my work.”
#13. Describe a time when it was especially important to make a good impression on a client. How did you go about doing so?
“As a merchandiser in the garments industry, I had to secure a new client to conduct business with us. After inviting the client to our offices, I presented all of our products and designs, and ensured them that my company will deliver the highest quality goods in a short amount of time. I was very courteous to them, to show them that we take our business relationship seriously and want a long-term one. I sealed the deal and we began producing goods the next week.”
#14. Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
“I had shown my clients the work that I did on a particular design for a website. Unfortunately, they did not like it very much and wanted me to change many things. I took all of their critiques into consideration and understood their vision for the website appearance. I went back to the drawing board and redesigned the website. This time around, my client was very pleased as I met all of their requirements.”
#15. Tell me about a time when you made sure a customer was pleased with your service.
“When working with a customer, you must always put their needs first. Whatever they want, you must deliver. One of my clients wanted a table designed in a particular way with a particular type of wood. I listened intently to all of their requirements and made sure to adhere to them in the construction process. I kept the client up-to-date every day to let them know where we stood on the process. After a few days, we delivered a table that met their criteria and they ordered many more from us afterward.”
#16. Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?
“Some customers are more difficult to please than others. There was this one case where I had to create colorful tapestry for a customer to hang in their home. They let me use my creativity in the design process, so I came up with several patterns for their tapestry. Sadly, they did not really like any of them. So I directly asked them what they wanted, and they were kind enough to give some sample designs. I told them that I can get it done and within a few days, I had some tapestry ready for them, which they really liked. What I learned is that it is best to ask a client what they want from the get-go, so that it saves time and they are happy from the beginning.”
#17. When you are working with a large number of customers, it is tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. How do you go about prioritizing your customers’ needs?
“When I have multiple contracts from multiple clients, I prioritize them based on their delivery dates. I work most on the job that needs to be completed earlier, while still dedicating some time to the other ones. I once worked on three different writing jobs, and put more time into the one that needed to be delivered first, while still working on the other articles, albeit with less time. I informed my clients that I had a lot on my plate and they understood that I kept them informed about it. I delivered everything on time and they were pleased with my work.”
#18. When have you had to deal with an irate customer? What did you do? How did the situation end up?
“I once had a customer who was livid with the designs we made for an evening dress. We presented many ideas, but all of them were rejected. They criticized everything we did, and it was a big blow to us. We asked them exactly what colors and prints they wanted and after getting more information, we went back to designing dresses with those in mind. When the customer saw our new designs, they appreciated the fact that we listened to their requirements and desires. They were pleased with the final outcome.”
#19. Tell me about a time you have “inherited” a customer. What steps did you take to establish rapport with them? What did you do to gain their trust?
“At my previous company, I inherited a client from one of my colleagues because he fell ill and could not work for some time. It was a big challenge, but I brought myself up to speed on that client and that particular job. I interacted with the client from the day I got their job, asking specific questions to understand what they expected from us. I provided daily reports to show them my progress on their task. This built a lot of trust.”
#20. How have you handled a situation in the past where your client has changed the brief or “changed the goalposts”?
“Recently, I delivered sample goods to a client for testing purposes and before testing them, the client said they had a change of heart and wanted something else now. Working several weeks on something, only for it to be changed on a whim is not a good feeling. I told them that contractually, we were tasked to do a particular job that was agreed up by both parties – my company and their company. They understood this, but still wanted something different. Being a customer-oriented company, I placed the client’s need first, so we went back to work and designed a new product that would please them. They were quite pleased with our compliance.”
#21. Give an example of a time you went well out of your way to ensure a customer received the best possible service from you and organization. What was their reaction?
“As a website developer, I need to take every single requirement of the client into consideration, to deliver a great user experience. I once showed a client daily progress of my website design. This showed my dedication to the task and gave them a peace of mind that progress was always being made. They provided immediate feedback, and I quickly improved my website in those areas while making progress in others. Frequently asking for feedback made me aware of what they expected, so that I can deliver exactly what they wanted. Moreover, I added some perks to their site, which they surprisingly enjoyed. They decided to retain them.”
#22. When have you ever gone out on a limb to defend a customer? What happened?
“When I was working as a customer support engineer, I once had a client come to our head office and complain about our products and services. I listened very carefully to all of his complaints and understood that he was very disappointed. I agreed with him, to show compassion. When working in customer support, you must always side with the customer, because you are there to support them and only them. We informed our engineering team of the problems and we were able to provide service to this client to remedy their problem.”
#23. Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?
“While I was working on my Master thesis, I was also working as a teaching assistant at the same institute. I had to work on two different projects simultaneously, working on my own research and teaching students in the laboratory. It was hectic at times and it took a lot of time in my week. Nevertheless, I structured my workweek in a manner that allowed me to utilize my time with efficiency. This made me very productive while not experiencing burnout. My supervisor and professor were very cooperative and gave me more time to work on my thesis.”
This is how you can deal with stress.
#24. Describe a time when your team or company was undergoing some change. How did that affect you, and how did you adapt?
“At my previous job, the upper management decided to restructure the company, merging some divisions and making some obsolete. My advertising department was merged with a marketing division. My team created commercials while the marketing team was responsible for studying demographics. Initially, we did not get along so well because we were too different, but quickly realized we could learn a lot from each other. Hence, we were able to improve the advertisement by learning about who was being targeted. A great team is a diverse team that learns from each other.”
#25. Tell me about the first job you’ve ever had. What did you do to learn the ropes?
“As I was a Master’s student, I interned at a semiconductor company as a design engineer. Although I learned the basics of hardware design from teachers, it was not enough to design complex electronic circuits. I asked my experienced colleagues about some tips and tricks in designing circuits, and they were kind enough to help me. I also took time every evening after work to learn on my own, to implement those things the next day. This kept me ahead of the curve and I made a good impression on my employer.”
#26. Give me an example of a time when you had to think on your feet in order to delicately extricate yourself from a difficult or awkward situation.
“One time, I was at a party on a Friday night and, as you can imagine, some people were intoxicated. There was someone at the party acting very rowdy and creating unnecessary commotion. At one point, it felt very unsafe for everyone, so my friends and I informed the authorities at the club and they swiftly came over and dealt with that individual. When in times of danger, it is best to let somebody else take care of it, especially when they know how to deal with it.”
#27. Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with this situation?
“When I was working on a project at school, my teacher and I agreed upon a particular goal to reach. I conducted several experiments to attempt to attain certain results, but it was to no avail. I just couldn’t acquire the results I wanted. After much contemplation, I told my teacher that it was impossible to get those results that we thought were possible. In science, a negative outcome is viewed poorly. However, I convinced my teacher to change the scope and goal of the project. This time around, I got results which were more realistic and I could work with it to derive a conclusion. It was not a failure, but a learning experience.”
#28. Tell me about a situation in which you have had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle it?
“At my last school, the principal decided to change the entire teaching structure. Normally, I teach a handful of subjects that I was qualified and experienced to teach. However, due to a shortage of personnel, all teachers had to take various more classes. I normally taught sciences but after the reshuffle, I taught math as well. The upside was that I was able to revise my math knowledge, which is also important for science. I adapted quite well to this change.”
#29. Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a colleague’s working style in order to complete a project or achieve your objectives.
“While working as a process engineer, I worked very closely with a colleague who was very knowledgeable and productive in the office. Whereas I was more proactive and assertive, he was more reserved and did his own thing in his own way. I did not want to tell him to be more assertive because he was very good at what he was doing, doing it his own way. I toned down my type A personality traits and made him aware that although we were quite different, we could get along and get the job done. We successfully completed all projects and developed a good friendship.”
#30. How was your transition from high school to university? Did you face any particular problems? How did you handle them?
“In high school, I knew everyone very well. I knew my friends since elementary school, so I always had a tight-knit group of pals that were like my second family. I was looking forward to university, because I could meet new people from various backgrounds. While it was daunting at first, I quickly introduced myself to others and got to know many great people who I can proudly call my friends. When the studying pressure was building up, I could rely on them to cheer me up and give me some encouragement.”
Time Management Skills
#31. Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities.
“When I interned at Ford, I had two tasks – learn about the automobile manufacturing process at the factory and order car parts from suppliers at the head office. In addition, I had to write a report of everything I learned at the factory. To utilize my time efficiently, I jotted down notes in between breaks at the factory, since all of the information was fresh on my mind. As a result, I was already preparing the report as I was working in the factory. When I was at the head office, there were some breaks in between emailing and calling suppliers. That is when I continued writing my report. I made sure to use all the time available to me to work and complete tasks punctually.”
Learn more about being more productive and time management.
#32. Describe a long-term project that you managed. How did you keep everything moving along in a timely manner?
“As a teaching assistant, I taught student how to fabricate a sensor. The semester lasted 4 months, so I segmented the entire fabrication process into several steps that had to be completed over the entire semester. Each week, we dealt with one particular step, starting with silicon processing, moving on to pyrex processing, and finally ending with wafer bonding. Each week, students presented the results of their experiments in the form of a presentation. This was used to assess how much they actually learned.”
#33. Sometimes it’s just not possible to get everything on your to-do list done. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?
“When I was working as a Sales Executive, I had various tasks to accomplish in a period of 6 months. I had a project plan that outlined what had to be achieved. After the first couple of months, when I faced a few hurdles, I realized that reaching every single milestone might not be feasible in such a short amount of time. I had to reassess which were the most important aspects to consider and focused entirely on those things. I still arrived at excellent results at the very end of the time frame.”
#34. Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
#35. Give me an example of a time you managed numerous responsibilities. How did you handle that?
“As a teacher at middle school, I taught English, coordinated the spelling bee, and managed the biannual sports event. I am an English teacher by trade, with a degree in English. I wanted to hold spelling bee tournaments at the school to get students interested in learning new English words. So I took on that responsibility and taught students the format. I myself am a very sporty person and I wanted to take charge of the sports events at school. I managed the entire event and coordinated with other staff members.”
#36. Describe a situation that required you to do a number of things at the same time. How did you handle it? What was the result?
#37. How do you prioritize projects and tasks when scheduling your time?
“When I have multiple projects to deal with simultaneously, I evaluate them based on time and effort. I complete the ones that take the least amount of time first, so that those clients receive their work as soon as possible. If a job takes more time and effort based on my estimation, I inform those clients and give them a complete breakdown so that we agree to deliver it on a later date. As a result, I am never lost and always know what to do on which day.”
This is how you prioritize.
#38. Tell me about a project that you planned. How did your organize and schedule the tasks?
“As the chief architect for the new headquarters of a major tech firm, I wanted to take my time to understand the company and incorporate their culture and mindset into the building. I outlined the entire project duration and segmented it into several parts – research the company, design the building, construct the building. I worked with several other engineers and delegated tasks to save a lot of time so that I could focus on what I was good at – overseeing the entire construction process. We completed the project on time and the tech firm was pleased.”
#39. When has a project or event you organized not gone according to plan? What happened? How did you feel?
“I am an event organizer for concerts and there was one incident where a concert did not go according to plan. The inauguration ceremony of the concert was supposed to have a fantastic orchestra with fireworks and a video playing on a large screen. Throughout the performance, the music was playing and the fireworks were exploding, but the video never played. Due to technical difficulties, the audience never got to see the amazing footage we shot. I felt very bad at the time, because all that hard work went down the drain. However, I learned from this experience and prepared extra hard for future concerts.”
#40. Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
“When I received my first promotion at my previous company, I had the opportunity to work alongside line managers at the factory. When I was working under them before, I noticed there were some processes that could be streamlined and optimized further. Now that I was a line manager like everybody else, I presented my case to the rest of them and showed factual evidence on how to improve the production process. They were initially reluctant but soon came around and saw things my way.”
#41. Describe a time when you were the resident technical expert. What did you do to make sure everyone was able to understand you?
“I was in charge of the Engineer Management Trainee Program at my previous company. Since the recruits were fresh graduates, they relied on me to learn technical things of the semiconductor industry. I provided reading materials to all the trainees so that they can learn things in their spare time. Whenever they had questions, I was open and ready to answer them. I wanted them to feel welcome to clarify their doubts and since I have the knowledge, I wanted to impart it to them.”
#42. Tell me about a time when you had to rely on written communication to get your ideas across to your team.
“I once had to send emails to my entire team describing what had to be done in the coming weeks since the deadline was pushed one week ahead of schedule. Emails can be a tricky medium of communication to get your message across. I made sure to be polite and respectful while still being assertive in informing my team members why they needed to put in more time and effort. I did not want to come across as a mean boss that demands things from their employees. I expressed how I would also work extra hours with them to get the job done on time.”
#43. Give me an example of a time when you had to explain something fairly complex to a frustrated client. How did you handle this delicate situation?
“I once had to explain the significance of a particular electronic circuit in automobiles to a partner in Daimler. They have complete knowledge of automobiles, but rely on us to deliver electronic components for their cars. I had to convince a representative of Daimler why they required these parts from us. I kept thing very simple after I realized a lot of the technical information was going over his head. I connected the components to the benefits that both the company and the drivers of cars will gain. They quickly realized that they required this circuitry in their cars and ordered a large volume of it.”
#44. Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.
“In my early 20s, I had the privilege of presenting my academic work at an IEEE conference. At such a young age, it was an excellent opportunity to display my presentation skills to many esteemed guests. Since I knew my topic inside and out, I wanted to guide the audience through the presentation with a story of how I learned about it. This made my presentation of the results more personal and looking at the faces of the audience members, I knew it was a success. They appreciated my efforts greatly.”
Want to learn how to present like a boss? Watch this video.
#45. When have you had to present to a group of people with little or no preparation? What obstacles did you face? How did you handle them?
“When I was a Graduate Trainee, I was once asked by my supervisor to present new results to clients my firm was working with. I was responsible for working on a task in a particular sector but since I knew the language the clients were comfortable in, my company wanted me to represent them in a meeting. I had an hour to prepare, to look at the findings we had at the time. After the quick research, I talked to the clients and made them well aware that I was the new kid on the block. However, I presented all of the results I knew with confidence and the clients were quite pleased. My company was quite impressed how I gave an impromptu presentation and since then, I was relied upon for presentations.”
#46. Have you ever had to “sell” an idea to your co-workers? How did you do it?
“Before I created my first app with my colleagues, we brainstormed many ideas to see what would be the best thing on the market. With social media platforms abound, my partners wanted to create another competitor in that sector. Rather than going down that route and competing with other big names, I wanted to be a trendsetter and make a fintech app, one that handles people’s finances. I convinced the team why it would be beneficial to society and how we need to manage money properly. They understood why this was necessary and we then started to create our first fintech app.”
#47. Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
“I am a very charismatic and outgoing kind of person. Being very social, I love talking with people to get to know them. However, I understand that there are many people who are not as talkative and more of an introvert. One of my classmates did not necessarily like my personality because he thought it was overbearing. I tried to befriend him and wanted to get to know him, but he was quite reserved. I decided that it would be best to not be so forward but rather talk to him in a calm manner. He really appreciated that and he actually opened up more, expressing himself more.”
#48. What obstacles or difficulties have you ever faced in communicating your ideas to a manager?
“As an intern, I had to conduct market research on cosmetics, determining which products sell the most in different parts of the nation. I gathered a lot of statistics and created charts and graphs of the data. I discovered that some products were selling well in particular areas, although the company did not market them heavily in those areas. I talked to my manager about how we can improve the marketing of products in these areas to increase our revenues. My manager was quite hesitant to listen to me, perhaps because I was just an intern. However, after I presented all of the evidence, it became quite evident to him that this is what needed to be done.”
#49. Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication skills in order to get an important point across.
“Working as a customer support representative at Amazon, sometimes we have to inform customers personally that a product cannot be delivered for various reasons. To ensure excellent customer satisfaction, we always send an email to buyers who will not be able to receive their purchased goods. I explained very clearly why Amazon failed to deliver this particular product and sincerely apologized for any inconvenience the customer experienced. As a gesture of good faith, I offered this customer a coupon of the same value to purchase another product in its place.”
#50. When have you chosen to communicate a particular message in person as opposed to via email even though the email channel would have been a lot faster?
“When my previous company decided to restructure the organization of the firm and merge some of the divisions while getting rid of a few, I decided I needed to inform all of my team members personally. It would only be fair since I worked with them for years. It was difficult, but I explained the entire situation from the very beginning and outlined what would happen to the personnel in this division. Maybe an email would have been easier, but personally interacting with people you have worked with for years shows that you care about the working relationship.”
#51. Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.
“When I sealed a sweet deal with an investor on Wall Street. As a stockbroker, I pick up phone calls every minute and secure the buying and selling of stock from big shot investors. I once had a famous investor call me to potentially buy stock. I explained the stock, which company it belonged to and how the company was fairing. The investor was hesitant as the company was fairly new, but I ensured him that tech startups are booming now and that they will grow exponentially. After several minutes convincing, I got confirmation to buy a large amount of stock. It was the biggest deal I made in my career and it set me up for success later on.”
#52. Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
“As a student, I participated in a microsystem technology course and conducted a laboratory experiment at the very end of the semester. The next semester, I was hired as a teaching assistant to teach the exact same subject. I had many ideas to improve the teaching style of the lab course. I suggested that instead of doing the practical work at the end of the semester, it would be more beneficial to work every week in the lab and implement the theoretical knowledge. Also, I recommended that students should deliver presentations of their results. This increases student participation and learning.”
If there is one thing you should convice the hiring manager about it’s this. Be proactive!
#53. Tell me about a time when you worked under close supervision or extremely loose supervision. How did you handle that?
“As an intern at an automobile company, I worked under a supervisor who was extremely busy and could not provide me much guidance as I was learning the ropes. It was challenging to learn things when my mentor was not able to tutor me properly. I understood his predicament so I did not bother him much. Instead, I conversed with my colleagues who knew the trade very well and learned a lot from them. Since some of them were once interns as well, they gave me very good guidance and supervision to help me excel in this position.”
#54. Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
“As a graphic designer, I have to always be creative to find the next big idea that will be visually appealing to both the client and the consumers. I once had to design a background image for a website and I had complete freedom to do whatever I want. I wanted to explore many different options and use full creativity to get the right design for this website. Sometimes it is difficult to know where to go when a client does not provide some instructions, but it is very rewarding when your own efforts are appreciated by the client.”
#55. Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your work. What could have been done to make it better?
“As a writer, there are some days when I perform very well and ideas come flowing out of my mind. Other times, ideas just don’t appear and I have to forcefully write something down. I had to write an article on a video game, but I did not play that game or was interested in that particular genre. I had to read other sources and act as if I played that game passionately. Although my boss liked my writing, I was not satisfied with it because it felt pretentious. I then decided to only write articles on games that I played, because it feels more authentic.”
#56. What has been the most stressful situation you have ever found yourself in at work? How did you handle it?
“As a PhD student, I had to make a discovery and find new results for a novel material to be used in semiconductor chips – graphene. Many people have not yet fully understood this relatively new material. I wanted to find something out but for months on end, I could not make any headway. I always kept on hitting a brick wall, which was very stressful. I was falling behind on my schedule. I decided to cleanse my mind and refresh everything. I took a different approach this time around and I made a new discovery, making progress towards my goal.”
#57. What have you done in the past to prevent a situation from becoming too stressful for you or your colleagues to handle?
“As a supply chain manager, I have to oversee the entire supply chain – from gathering raw materials to creating the final product. As a merchandiser, I need to know every single aspect because I need to find ways to reduce cost while still delivering an excellent product. Oftentimes, things don’t go the way you want them to; a machine malfunctions or are there far too many defective products. It can be very stressful when the deadline approaches and you feel like you need more time. I always find ways to meditate and find a place of calm when I think everything is going under. I reassess the situation and find ways to solve these problems within the time given.”
#58. Describe the project or situation that best demonstrates your analytical abilities. What was your role?
“My job as a market researcher puts my analytical skills to the test. On one of my tasks, I had to conduct market research for our company and determine where certain products sold very well and did not sell so well. In addition, I had to found out if the advertising and marketing campaigns in those areas justified the sales generated. After careful analysis, I realized that some products were doing well without much ads while some products had many ads but did not sell enough. I suggested that we change the advertising on the products that were heavily marketed but not selling well, so that more units can be sold to offset the expenditure.”
#59. Tell me about a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation. What kind of thought process did you go through?
“While working on my thesis, I conducted several experiments to determine if a material was crystalline or amorphous. After several sets of experimental parameters, I obtained many graphs. I had to analyze and scrutinize each graph along with their respective data set to find out if it was one or the other. Since the material was not well known, I had to make some assumptions in my inference. After looking at graphs at other materials, I could finally arrive at a conclusion if my material was crystalline or amorphous. My supervisor liked my train of thought.”
#60. Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem. What did you do? What was the outcome?
“As an HR Manager, I once had the difficult task of restructuring the company. My team had to determine which divisions to merge and which to retain, while also deciding which divisions to axe from the company. The company wanted to shift from motorcycle manufacturing to automobile, specifically car, production. We had many engineers who were experts in motorcycles but sadly, they did not serve much of a purpose for cars. On the other hand, we had marketing executives that could come in handy for our new products. It was difficult letting people go, but at the end of the day, the organization benefitted greatly from the restructuring.”
Difficult problems can be overcome by structuring your thoughts and perceptions, then analytically find a solution.
#61. What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a decision? Why?
“Whenever I face any problem, I look at it from many angles. When I was in charge of a team to design a new football shoe, I had to evaluate every single model that we were selling at the time and what they were missing. I got in touch with some athletes to get their feedback on the shoes they were and what they wish could be improved. I took that feedback into consideration and with the design team, we came up with some designs for our new shoes. Whenever faced with a problem, I always ask others for their opinion and see if those are feasible in comparison to my own. If I lack experience, I make it up by getting other’s knowledge on the matter.”
#62. What process do you use to check that you have the right details from a customer?
“As a web developer, I need to extract as much information I can from my client in order to meet their criteria the first time around and finish the job on time. I ask my clients several questions to determine what they want from their website – the color palette, style, use of media, etc. I need to know from the get-go if they want a minimalistic style of a webpage or one that is very complex with many features. Once I have acquired all the information necessary, I then proceed to designing the site.”
#63. Give me an example of a time you discovered an error that has been overlooked by a colleague. What did you do? What was the outcome?
“When I was working with a team of process development engineers, we had to process silicon wafers using various techniques. I noticed that one of my colleagues faced an issue with one of the machines and without properly rectifying the issue, continued the processes on the wafers. This was a major concern as the final product could have some defects. I told him that we needed to shut down the entire process flow and perform maintenance checks on the defective machine. After fixing the machine, we can then resume the production process to prevent defects in wafers.”
#64. Tell me about a time that you were confused by a customer’s request. What steps did you take to clarify things?
“One of our past clients did not make certain requirements and specifications very clear in an email. We received an order to fabricate transistors of a certain type. While there was a lot of details in the email, there was no information on the width-to-length ratio of these transistors. This was just an important to know as everything else in the email. I emailed the client to specify their requirements and asked about the width-to-length ratio. In addition to confirming everything that was stated in their first email, they also stated the missing information to finalize the order. After that, we were able to confirm the order.”
#65. When was the last time you thought “outside the box” and how did you do it? Why?
“When I was in the design team of a company manufacturing glasses and cups, we were tasked to think of ergonomic designs to revolutionize how we hold these drinking containers. I thought that instead of having smooth surfaces, glasses and cups should have undulate layers on the outside to fit our fingers. With our fingers nestled inside, the grip will be better, making it more comfortable to hold. We eventually designed these cups that had 4 grooves one the outside to make easier to hold.”
#66. Tell me about a problem that you have solved in a unique or unusual way. What was the outcome?
“I once had to use an instrumentation device in the lab that had a particular set of connector ports that were very unusual and did not match with anything we had in the facility. Our wires could not be directly attached to this device. I had to find a way to manipulate the wires I had to make them fit and connect. I extracted the inner part of the coaxial cables and wrapped them around the connector ports to establish a fixed connection. As a result, electricity from my sample was flowing in the measuring device and I could see readings. It took me a while, but I found this workaround to this problem.”
#67. Give me an example of when someone brought you a new idea that was odd or unusual. What did you do?
“When working in a team, you always hear fascinating and odd ideas from coworkers. One of my colleagues once came up to me and pitched a weird idea for an umbrella, one where the outside part will collapse inward. It took me aback because I have always seen and used umbrellas where the inside part collapses inward. When I thought deeper about it, his idea actually made sense because the outside part is wet and the water lingering stays inside, keeping everything outside dry. Within a few months, we launched this ingenious product and it was successful.”
#68. When have you brought an innovative idea into your team? How was it received?
“As a product development engineer, we had to think of a fitness device that people could wear while exercising to monitor their progress. Wearable tech at the time was still in its infancy, so we did not have much to inspire us. I noticed I was wearing a watch and I instantly thought that we could wear a fitness bracelet or band to monitor our health levels. It was received positively, surprisingly. We went into production and now many health conscious people are wearing our watches to check their exercise progress.”
Decision Making Skills
#69. Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed. How did you handle it?
“I was the manager of the biggest electronics store in the city, and one of my biggest responsibilities was to visually arrange the merchandise to draw attention to them. We had a section of the store empty after Black Friday and needed to restock the store with other goods. We were not sure what to place in that particular corner of the department store, but we needed something there the next day to clear our inventory. What was once a section filled with television sets was now occupied by paintings. Radically different, I know, but it had to be done.”
#70. Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision. What obstacles did you face?
“Working in the IT industry, there is a high chance that something can go wrong at any time. One of our servers once experienced some issues and went down for several hours. The company could not conduct business during this time, meaning that they would lose a lot of money. I had to find a quick way to get the servers up and running by the end of the day. Fortunately, we had backup servers that were storing all of the data. So I quickly hooked up this server to the existing network so that the company could resume normal business seamlessly.”
Decision-making is such an important skill; you should definetely invest in becoming better at it.
#71. What is the most difficult decision you have ever had to make at work? How did you arrive at your decision? What was the result?
“Being recently promoted among the team, I was to lead a group of engineers, many of whom I would call friends of mine. It is always a bit weird to lead your own friends in a professional setting. Two of my team member, who were always friends, came up with interesting ideas separately and presented them to me. Both of them were quite fascinating and could be useful for the construction of an airplane, but I could only use one due to budgetary constraints. It was a difficult decision because they could take it personally, as if I was favoring one person over the other subjectively. I talked to both of them and explained my decision very carefully. One of them was very understanding and cooperative. It was the best result I could hope for.”
#72. Give me an example of a business decision you made that you ultimately regretted. What happened?
“As the co-founder of our first mobile app, my business partner and I thought that it would be good to sell our app for $100,000. Since we were quite young and did not know the exponential growth potential of apps, we were quite pleased with the large figure and wanted to earn money to help fund our future projects. While that money did come in handy for our current app, the original app quickly grew in prominence and is now valued at well over $10 million. Over 100 times the value at which we sold it! I regret not having faith in our mobile app and still being behind the helm of that great app. Now I know to not sell to make a quick buck, but to persevere.”
#73. Give me an example of an important career goal that you set yourself and tell me how you reached it. What obstacles did you encounter? How did you overcome the obstacles?
“Ever since I was in high school, I always gravitated towards physics and electronics, so I wanted to be an electrical engineer. I aimed to study at the best electrical engineering program in my country, and I got that opportunity. I learned a lot, graduated with excellent grades, and published my first scientific paper at a very young age. Afterward, I got an internship at a semiconductor company and learned about the entire semiconductor manufacturing process. It was all daunting to me initially, but I worked very hard to overcome the hurdles. I learned on my own and I learned from experienced engineers to hone my skills. After the internship, I got a full-time position at the same company to put my skills to the test and use my creativity. I am proud of what I have accomplished, but I know I have so much more to offer.”
#74. Tell me about a professional goal that you set that you did not reach. How did it make you feel?
“I am a graphic designer, so I use tools like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to create art. Most of the time, it is for websites. I thought I would give website development a shot, since I can incorporate my graphic designs in my own websites. I attempted to learn how to code, but I could not connect with the syntax. Unlike graphic designing, which is where I thrive due to creativity, I found website design tedious. Maybe it is because I could not properly wrap my head around programming with those languages. I felt at first, but I realized that I am a very good graphic designer, so I still design amazing art. Perhaps later, I will return to programming and learn how to design websites properly.”
#75. How have you gone about setting short-term goals and long-term goals for yourself or your team? What steps did you take along the way to keep yourself accountable?
“While I was working on my thesis with my team members, we realized that we had something great in our hands and that there was a possibility to publish our results in IEEE. So we set our short-term goal as delivering an amazing thesis to get an amazing grade and our long-term goal as getting our results published in IEEE. After working 6 months on the thesis and discovering many new things, we got a good grade upon delivery. We then shifted our sights to further developing our model to get even more interesting results to get a publication. After another 6 months, we got the good news that our paper was published in IEEE. We were elated to make our dreams come true. We achieved the goals we set out a year in advance.”
A brief recap on how to answer behavioral questions like a pro.
#76. Describe a project or idea (not necessarily your own) that was implemented primarily because of your efforts. What was your role? What was the outcome?
“My friend and I decided to go out of town one weekend and enjoy the sun and sand while chilling out on the beach. I had the brilliant idea that we should go hiking, too. Many of my friends just wanted to relax and soak in the sun, but I really wanted us to be more active and experience more of nature. I talked to the locals and hired a local guide to accompany us on our trek through the jungle. I convinced my friends that we should definitely do this, to make it a weekend to remember. We did in fact hiked the entire day and although we were exhausted when we returned to the hotel, we had no regrets afterwards. We were fully rejuvenated.”
#77. Describe a situation in which you recognized a potential problem as an opportunity. What did you do? What was the result? What, if anything, do you wish you had done differently?
“In my thesis, I ran into a problem where I could not properly use a particular machine with the electrical setup I had. After preparing my test wafers and electrical circuitry, I brought it to the machine and realized that my particular circuit could not connect to the machine. I did not anticipate this major problem. However, this presented a problem that I needed to resolve using my creativity. I thought long and hard, and I found a way to work around this issue. I modified my electrical circuit to make it compatible with the machine, and I was then able to proceed to conducting my experiments.”
#78. Tell me about a project you initiated. What did you do? Why? What was the outcome? Were you happy with the result?
“As one of the long-standing electrical engineers at the company I was working at, I wanted to add more spark and diversity to the hiring process at our organization. I spoke to the HR department and the Chairman of the company, and presented a plan to start a Graduate Trainee program, one that would hire and train people from various backgrounds. It was a risky move, but I presented many cases where firms have benefitted from hiring personnel who did not generally fit the mold. Sometimes, they are the ones who excel the most. I proposed that I would be in charge of this program and would decide who would be hired to be trained by me personally. I successfully hired a diverse group of individuals and trained them to learn our industry. In return, we have learned a lot from them, too.”
#79. Tell me about a time when your initiative caused a change to occur.
“When I was hired as a teaching assistant, I wanted to make a good impression and the best way to do that was to change things up. I looked at the current teaching system and I saw that there was room for improvement. Rather than having the laboratory session at the very end of the semester, it would be more beneficial for the students if the lab sessions took place throughout the semester. I outlined the entire plan for the semester and showed how student interaction and participation will increase. My professor was surprised with the results. He noticed a change in the students’ enthusiasm and really liked my assertiveness.”
#80. What has been the best idea you have come up with during your professional career?
“As a website developer, I am always looking for ways to be creative with my designs to craft amazing user experiences for clients. It is all about pushing the boundaries and finding the next big thing. I have always used graphics in my background, like pictures. However, there was one client who wanted something that did not exist before. I had to think deeply about it, and after learning some new tricks online, I incorporated a video in the background of a website. This was the best and most creative thing I did as a webpage developer. My client was very pleased with the ingenious and unique design.”
#81. Discuss a time when your integrity was challenged. How did you handle it?
“At my previous job, I was working in tech support and oftentimes, I needed to make several printouts and photocopies of documents, so I frequently went to the printing room and copy room. Legal documents are very long and I had to use a lot of paper and other materials. One of my colleagues presumed that I was stealing some of the materials while I was there, since the materials were expended rather quickly. I don’t know why, but this person presumed that I intentionally used more office materials than necessary. I talked to him personally and showed him everything I printed and copied, and gave reasons why. I talked to my boss about this and he said he would talk to this colleague.”
Integrity is super important; also at work.
#82. Tell me about a time when you experienced a loss for doing what is right. How did you react?
“After delivering a large number of goods to one of our customers, they sent a complaint a week later. They stated that some of the products malfunctioned and that it was harming their business. Since Amazon is all about delivering quality products to ensure our customers are always satisfied, I had to decide whether to replace the goods free of charge or stick by what was written in the transaction contract and give no refunds. I thought about the bigger picture – how would our company be perceived? I wanted to show customers that they can depend on us, even when the products are faulty. So I decided to send this customer a new set of goods free of charge, as a gesture of good faith to show support. We did lose money doing this, but I know that we gained a happy customer.”
#83. Tell me about a business situation when you felt honesty was inappropriate. Why? What did you do?
“We once got an order to create and ship a large number of chairs and tables for a customer. Given the deadline and the specific materials they wanted in their chairs and tables, it was near impossible for us to complete the job in time. However, since I was personally speaking with this customer, I did not want to turn down the order. Rather than telling them our problems, I told them that we will get the job done in time. I was quick on my feet and decided to lie, to secure the deal. I got in touch with one of our partners to help us out on this one, giving them a sizeable share of our salary for this task.”
#84. Give a specific example of a policy you conformed to with which you did not agree. Why?
“In my early days of being a mechanic, we always listened to music on the radio to keep up motivated and energized on those sweltering days when we just wanted to take frequent breaks. To get the cars repaired in due time, we had to continue working and the rhythm of music kept us going and added some levity to the room. However, our manager thought that having loud music blasting from speakers was disruptive and not conducive to productivity. He told me, and the rest of my team, that he wanted to maintain a professional working environment with no distractions. I understood where he was coming from because I put myself in his shoes. I realized it would be best to work without listening to music.”
#85. Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. How did you handle it? How did the relationship progress?
“There was one time when we had a colleague in my team who was always taking things a bit too personally and arguing with others when he felt that his opinions were not being valued. We did a lot of brainstorming sessions together and whenever our boss did not decide to take his idea, he was always disgruntled and it set a bad environment for everyone. He felt threatened and did not cooperate with the rest of us. My boss eventually called in the whole team and explained that in life, not all of your ideas will be appreciated, but that you can learn from others and find ways to improve. He took this lesson to heart and since then, he became more cooperative and easy to work with.”
#86. Describe a situation where you found yourself dealing with someone who did not like you. How did you handle it?
“When I was recently added to the sales team in my previous job, the existing members were very reluctant to have a newcomer enter their team who. Some of them were very warm and welcoming, but one individual considered me as more of an inconvenience. I wanted to bond with my new coworkers so I got to know all of them over the course of several weeks, including this one person who had something against me. I talked to my boss and this person privately and we settled the issue. I understood where he was coming from, since it was a competitive industry, but he eventually realized that we had to get along to be successful.”
#87. Describe a recent unpopular decision you made. How was it received? How did you handle it?
“As the manager of a department store, I have to always keep certain goods in stock in particular times of the year, especially Black Friday. This particular holiday after Thanksgiving is famous nationwide, but there are many issues I have with this practice. People standing in line for hours the night before to grab a TV or any other discounted product. One year, I decided that we will not be giving large discounts on electronics and other products to prevent a disaster from occurring. My team was behind my decision, but many people did not like this. They threatened to not come to my store ever again. Fortunately, we still had a good turnout that day and still had a positive turnover. We were proud of this unpopular decision.”
#88. What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients in guiding and maintaining successful business relationships? Give me examples of how you have made them work for you.
“I believe that trust, loyalty, and integrity are integral components of a successful business relationship. When establishing a connection with someone, you must have the integrity to do the right thing and do what you said you will do. This helps establish trust. One of our clients once wanted a t-shirt of a particular design. We guaranteed them that we will get the job done, and we showed them samples well ahead of schedule. That showed them that we were serious about this deal and wanted a long-term business relationship. This creates loyalty.”
#89. Describe a situation where you had a conflict with another individual, and how you dealt with it. What was the outcome? How did you feel about it?
“As a nurse, I work with patients every day and I become emotionally attached to some of them at times. I ask them questions about their life to understand more about their condition and it humanizes these patients. There was one time when one of the other nurses overheard what was happening to a particular patient I was tending to, and I did not like what she said about them, how they have no chance or hope to live. I took it very personally because as nurses we need to always take care of patients even when it looks very bleak. I got into an argument with this coworker and explained to her that it is not an appropriate thing to say. She understood that she stepped out of line and apologized. I always urge nurses to not be too emotionally attached to their patients, but to never give up on them.”
#90. Tell me about a team project when you had to take charge of the project? What did you do? What was the result?
“The city of Hamburg planned to have its own philharmonic built by the year 2012. The project started in 2009 and we had a strict budget to adhere to. Due to poor project management by the project manager, we could not complete the building by the deadline and it kept getting postponed, with issues being raised every year. This was extremely infuriating and I had a couple of good ideas to help accelerate the project. I was given freedom to implement these ideas and I rallied my teammates to follow my vision. Just last year, we completed the project, much sooner than had I not been in charge.”
#91. Describe a leadership role of yours outside of work. Why did you commit your time to it? How did you feel about it?
“One of the biggest factors that contribute to my success thus far is my practice of yoga and meditation. Sometimes, work can be very stressful and one technique that lets me disconnect, relax, and recharge my batteries is practicing yoga. I started a yoga class years ago at a local fitness studio, where I taught others the wonderful benefits of doing yoga. I had learned about it before and I wanted to spread the word to others. Every weekend, I would teach yoga. It was not like a job really. It felt natural to me because I was helping people. I noticed from people’s feedback that they felt happier and improved their working productivity because of it.”
#92. What is the toughest group that you have ever had to lead? What were the obstacles? How did you handle the situation?
“I once had to lead a diverse team of engineers and marketers. These two groups have very different working activities and trains of thought, but it was necessary for our tech company. The marketing team needed to know which engineering designs people would actually like and buy. However, the engineering team sometimes took it personally when their creative ideas were not fully appreciated by a team that did not completely understand engineering. I talked to both teams at length about how the synergy between them will help the company and we will be able to design amazing products that people actually want to buy.”
#93. What has been your greatest leadership achievement in a professional environment? Talk through the steps you took to reach it.
“In a world where most of the cars run on fuel like oil, I wanted to spearhead a project where we would build a fully-functioning car that runs on electricity and solar energy instead of oil. It was an ambitious project and we had no clue if it would be a success or not, but that did not stop me from explaining my vision to my team. We had a mission – to change the cars we drive. After working on it for over a year, we finally mass-produced cars that run entirely on electricity and uses solar energy to recharge its batteries. This was my proudest accomplishment, since I had a dream and I was able to make it a reality.”
#94. What have been the greatest obstacles you have faced in building/growing a team?
“When creating a team, it is not always about finding the most qualified personnel or finding people who have the best potential to grow into something special. What is difficult to overcome is to find a group of diverse people that will actually work well together. Personality differences are a big barrier in building a great team that will be successful. You can be great individually, but it does not mean much if you are not able to be a good team player and cooperate with others. I interview all of my potential hires to get to know how they work. That gives me insight into their mindset and helps me evaluate if they will be great for my team.”
#95. Describe a time when you were not only responsible for leading a team of people, but also for doing the same job as your team members? How did you balance your time?
“When I was working on my thesis with a team of 4 students, there was one among us who was not putting in their share of the hard work. In comparison to the rest of us, he was slacking off and was always behind the deadlines of milestones. As the team leader, I had to do something about this, so I decided to take his responsibilities under my care and somehow complete them. I was worried how I would do this, but I analyzed what I had to do and allotted a certain amount of time for each portion every week. As a result, I never experienced burnout and found a good way to balance my work and his. Moreover, we completed the project on time and did very well.”
#96. Tell me about your previous success in building a customer base from a standing start. What steps did you take?
“When you are a newcomer in any industry, it is always difficult to gain customers because you do not have a portfolio or a track-record to showcase. The first couple of clients turned us down because we had nothing to show them. These may be seen as failures, but these were great learning experiences to improve my negotiation skills. Eventually, I was able to negotiate with a client and successfully convince why they should conduct business with us and promised them excellent results from us. We delivered on our promise and never looked back since them. We have grown a much larger customer base since then.”
Become better at negotiation, thereby realize better business deals and a higher salary.
#97. What is your greatest sales-related achievement to date? What steps led to the final outcome?
“When I was a salesperson earlier in my career, I had to sell garments and textiles to foreign clients. It was a very competitive job because the goods are made with very little cost, so it is very difficult to sell them and earn a very high profit. One of our long-standing clients wanted a particular type of fabric in their clothes and I knew that our company was the only one in the country that could offer this. So I used this to my advantage. I pushed the price up as high as I could because I knew this client did not have any other nearby options. After successfully negotiating, I secured the biggest deal of my career and increased the sales of my company by 25% because of this deal.”
#98. Describe a time when you convinced a resistant customer to utilize your services.
“We live in a digital age where people look for information online rather than in newspaper or in the yellow pages. Being an SEO expert at an SEO firm, my job was to find older firms who were looking to transition into creating websites for their businesses. I talked to one such company who was a bit reluctant and hesitant to accept our services, because they did not fully understand what SEO actually was. I carefully explained the benefits of using SEO to improve the website’s popularity in Google searches, and how that would increase their exposure and sales. They eventually saw things my way and realized they required our services. I had just landed a big customer for our relatively small company.”
#99. What was the most stressful professional negotiation you have been involved in? How did you handle it?
“Mergers and acquisitions are some of the most stressful and significant moments that can take place in the course of a company’s expansion. I was on the board of managers that had to talk to executives of another company we were negotiating with for merging. Both companies wanted to take their platforms to the next level and a merger was the best way to approach this, since we had a lot to gain from each, utilizing both of our resources and strengths. The issue was who controls which division and the amount of shares distributed. After hours of negotiation, we were able to come to an agreement after presenting all of the facts. I was able to negotiate that our company would be in charge of the engineering divisions whereas the other company would handle advertising of the products.”
#100. Tell me about a particular work-related setback you have faced. How did you deal with it?
“When I was working on my thesis, I faced many obstacles and I had to always find a way to overcome the hurdles. There was one incident where a particular method or technique was not working well for my samples. Although it was the most reliable method in the scientific community, it was not suitable for my materials. I had to contemplate on how to face this setback. I decided to tweak the machine I required to suit and work well with my samples. It was a risky move, but fortunately the machine was still functioning and I could proceed with my experiments.”
#101. When have you ever found yourself in a competitive situation professionally? How did you handle it?
“When I was a merchandiser working in the marketing division, there was a lot of competition to be the best merchandiser, one who could convince buyers to conduct large volumes of business with us. All of the merchandisers were in competition with each other, as the one who secures the most deals will be promoted faster to a managerial role. I thrived in this environment, because I knew who was doing better and worse than me. This competitive working environment made me aware of my abilities and what I had to do to gain the upper hand. I relished the experience and I faired very well, being promoted to a manager in just under two years.”
#102. When have you seen your tenacity or resilience really pay off in a professional setting? What was the outcome?
“When you are a stockbroker on Wall Street, you need to be persistent to seal the deal. Every single person who is calling to potentially buy shares needs to be hooked into actually buying a large number of shares. That is how we get our commission. The more we are able to sell, the more successful we are as stockbrokers. When the average Joe is calling to step foot into the world of buying and selling stock, I need to continuously persuade this person to make the best decision of their life. I never let go of my buyers. Whenever I notice an inkling of doubt in their voice, I reassure them that the stock will grow exponentially and they can sell it in the future to make a tremendous profit. Being tenacious is a necessary quality of being a successful stockbroker like myself.”
As you can see from the comprehensive list of behavioral interview questions of answers above, interviewers are able to go into your mind with these questions and predict how you will perform on the job before even starting. In addition, you will notice from the answers that the best way to approach these behavioral questions is to use the STAR system – Situation, Task, Approach, Result. By using STAR, you will shine in the interview.
Never forget to craft your compelling story to convince your interviewer that you are the perfect for the job. Behavioral questions look beyond your qualifications. Theyare used to assess your experiences and your performance in difficult situations.