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Behavioral Interview Questions

Sample Behavioral Questions by Skill Area

Analytical/Problem Solving

  • Tell me about a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation.
  • Describe an instance when you had to think quickly to free yourself from a difficult situation.
  • Give me an example of when you identified potential problems and resolved the situation before it became serious.
  • Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem.

Communication

  • 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).
  • Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication skills in order to get a point across.
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to handle an irate customer.

Creativity/Innovation

  • Tell me about a problem that you've solved in a unique or unusual way.
  • Describe the most significant or creative presentation/idea that you developed/implemented.
  • Tell me about a time when you created a new process or program that was considered risky.
  • Give me an example of a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company, class or organization was facing.

Decision Making

  • Tell me about a difficult decision you had to make within the past year.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed.
  • Discuss a time when you had to make a quick decision.
  • Give me an example of a time when there was a decision to be made and procedures were not in place.

Goal Setting

  • Give me an example of an important goal that you have set and tell me how you reached it.
  • Tell me about a goal that you set and did not reach.
  • Describe a specific goal you set for yourself and how successful you were in meeting it.

Flexibility/Adaptability

  • Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to changes over which you had no control.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a classmate's or colleague's working style in order to complete a project or achieve your objectives.
  • By providing specific examples, demonstrate that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and/or work environments.
  • Tell me about a situation when you had to be tolerant of an opinion that was different from yours.

Integrity/Honesty

  • Tell me about a time when you experienced a loss for doing what is right.
  • Give a specific example of a policy you conformed to with which you did not agree.
  • Tell me about a specific time when you had to handle a tough problem that challenged fairness or ethical issues.
  • Tell me about a time when you challenged the status quo to do what you felt was right.

Interpersonal

  • Give me an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with.
  • Describe a situation where you had a conflict with another individual and how you dealt with it.
  • Tell me about the most difficult challenge you faced in trying to work cooperatively with someone who did not share the same ideas.

Leadership/Initiative

  • Tell me about a time when you were able to provide a co-worker with recognition for the work they performed.
  • Describe a leadership situation that you would handle differently if you had it to do over again.
  • Tell me about a time when you were in a leadership role and were faced with resistance.
  • Tell me about a time when you showed initiative and took the lead in a team project.

Organization/Time-Management

  • Describe a situation that required you to do a number of things at the same time.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you were unable to complete a project on time.
  • Give me an example of a recent assignment that required the greatest amount of effort with regard to organization.
  • Tell me about a time when you got caught up in the details of a project.

Strengths/Weaknesses

  • Tell me about a time when you did not live up to your full potential.
  • Describe for me a time when you failed at something and how you responded.
  • Tell me of a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.

Teamwork

  • Tell me about a time when you worked on a team and a member was not doing their share of the work.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work in a team in which the members did not get along.
  • Describe your involvement with a team project.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were working on a project and the others disagreed with your ideas.

Probing/Follow-up Questions:

  • What steps did you take?
  • What action did you take?
  • What happened after that?
  • What did you say?
  • How did he/she react?
  • How did you handle that?
  • What was your reaction?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • What was the outcome?
  • Were you happy with that outcome/result?
  • What did you wish you had done differently?
  • What did you learn from that?
  • How did you resolve that?
  • What was the outcome of that?
  • Why did you decide to do that?
  • What was your logic?
  • What was your reasoning?
  • Who do you think was at fault?
  • Where were you when this happened?
  • What time was it?
  • Who else was involved?
  • Tell me more about your interaction with that person.
  • What was your role?
  • What obstacles did you face?
  • What were you thinking at that point?
  • Lead me through your decision process.
  • How did you prepare for that?
  • Why?
  • How?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • What?

Content gathered from the following sources. Used by permission.
1) Michigan State University, Human Resources. Behavioral-Based Interview Questions.
2) University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business, Society for Human Resource Management
Student Chapter. Sample Behavioral Interview Questions Grouped by Skill.
3) University of South Carolina, Career Center.