How do I know when it’s appropriate to tell a story or give an example? When have I said too much in a job interview? Or too little? As a supply chain recruiter, these are questions we frequently get from job seekers before they go on an interview with one of our clients.
What’s a Behavioural Question?
Behavioural questions are designed to pull examples from a candidate’s past. The phrasing of a behavioural question typically starts with “tell me about a time when you …” or “give me an example of a time when you …” so if you hear those words, you know you’ll need to tell a story about one of your experiences.
There are other ways that interviewers may phrase a behavioural question. If you hear a question start with, “have you ever …” or “how would you …” chances are good that the interviewer is looking for a specific example.
Why do Interviewers ask Behavioural Questions?
A candidate’s past behaviour is the best way to predict their future performance. That’s why so many interviewers love to ask these questions. One of the keys to effectively answer behavioural questions is to identify the skill the interviewer is looking for, and address that skill in your answer.
Don’t get thrown off by questions that start with “what was the most recent …” or “what was the most significant …” The interviewer doesn’t care if it was recent or significant. Remember: the interviewer wants to know how you behave in certain situations. So make sure your answers focus on HOW you demonstrated whatever skill it is they are really looking for.
Specific examples of things you’ve done carry far more credibility than generalities. Specific examples also allow the interviewer to dig deeper and ask more details about the issue you were facing or how you came up with a solution. For more on preparing examples, please click here: https://www.sclsearch.com/preparing-examples/
Job-seekers are often thrown off when asked for examples of things that happen all the time. For instance, if dealing with customers is something you do every minute of every day, it may be difficult to think of one particular example of when you helped a customer solve a problem. The temptation is to say, “That happens all the time, so what I typically do is …” Please try to avoid this. Instead, give just one example. Maybe it was last month or last week, or even just yesterday. That’s fine, as long as it’s one specific example.
Think of one particular time that you were in a situation similar to what the interviewer is asking about, and simply tell the story. Don’t worry too much about the significance of the example – remember, interviewers simply want to know how you behaved in that situation.
It’s important that you keep your examples structured so you’re giving an appropriate level of detail, and the interviewer can follow the logic of your story. Here’s an article that breaks down the structure that your stories should follow: https://www.sclsearch.com/star-structure/
Looking for more interview or resume tips? Check the blog at SCLSearch.com, or take a look at our jobs page to see what opportunities we have available. Connect with us on LinkedIn. And let’s see if we can help you find that perfect opportunity in supply chain and logistics.