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Behavior Based Interviews

An employer’s ultimate hiring decision is based not just on your qualifications, but the employer’s total impression of you. Since a large bulk of this impression is going to be formed during your interview, it is important to adequately prepare for the types of questions that you might be asked.

Behavior based interviews are the direction that most companies are headed in regards to their interview process. A behavioral based interview focuses on discovering how the interviewee acted in a very specific employment-related situation (ex. tell me about a time when you had to deliver an uncomfortable message to someone?).

From my own experiences with talking to employers, there are three main things that interviewers are looking for in your answer to these questions. Tailoring your answers to fit this structure will increase the quality of your answers and help you leave a better impression on employers.

1. Situation – This is your chance to frame up the challenge situation/challenge that you were facing. Try to be as specific as possible with your answer – interviewers don’t want to hear a generalized description of your past experiences
2. Action – Describe the contribution/action that you made in this particular situation. Be sure to focus specifically on yourself here and not the collective actions of a group or team.
3. Result – Briefly describe the outcome of your actions. What did you accomplish?

As you prepare to graduate and begin your interview process, don’t forget to practice this technique. Concentrating on these three items will help your answer stay focused and professional. Good luck!

Ryan Ehart
Peer Counselor II
Powercat Financial Counseling
www.k-state.edu/pfc

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