Behavioural Style Interviews

Before attending behavioral style interviews make sure you have the best possible interview tips and advice and have prepared answers to as many interview questions as possible. Behaviour style interviews are designed to elicit information from interview candidates about relevant past behaviour and performance. The key word is “relevant”, meaning, how you performed in similar job situations in the past. This is based on the premise that past behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour.

Before the interview, the interviewer will have noted all the necessary skills required for the job and prepared a list of behavioral style questions to draw out evidence of these skills. Each question is framed in such a way as to determine what you did, how you did it and the outcome. For example, the interviewer may say: “Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.” This differs from the question: “Tell me how you would prioritize your tasks if you had too much to do.”

The first question determines specifically what you did in a particular situation, whereas the second question merely asks you to describe what you might do - the second question is not concerned with outcome. Behavioral style interviews are often used when interviewing for a corporate Personal Assistant position because initiative is just as important as skills in this type of role.

Clearly it's essential to prepare for this type of interview. One way to approach it is to write down all your major successes at work within the last 5 years. The list should include solid examples of your experiences. You should think about how they relate to the role you are interviewing for. Look at the duties performed by a PA and use it to determine which examples are most relevant.

For the PA role you would focus on examples that demonstrate how you planned, organised, wrote, managed, delegated, etc. You would also aim to show that you are effective, organised, self-motivated, and a good communicator. You should also come up with an instance where you failed in a task. Show why you failed and what steps you have taken since then to ensure that the situation does not occur again, such as better systems or training. Don't offer this as a response unless it's asked for.

Show how you have added value in your past roles. A good example is to show how you have taken on some of your bosses duties, or how you have implemented a system that has made a monetary difference in your organisation. Be ready to give a percentage figure that shows the degree of improvement achieved (it's also good to include this type of achievement in your CV or resume). Search on Google for examples of behavioural style interview questions and where applicable, practice your response to those questions. Keep your responses brief but comprehensive.


- Take 2 or 3 illustrative stories to the interview

- Link them to the skills-set of the role

- Illustrate the use of your skills in the task

- Include examples about your loyalty, tenacity and trustworthiness

- Take at least one story about a failure

- Say what you would do differently next time


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