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13 Behavioral Questions & Tips to Answer Them Like a Pro!

“Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?”—Hasn’t this been one of the most daunting questions to answer during an interview? Well, you are certainly not alone if you are stumped by a question like this, which has no right or wrong answer. In this article, we’ll discuss tips and tricks on how to prepare and respond when you’re asked such behavioral questions at an interview.

What are Behavioral Questions?

Unlike the conventional way of interview conduction, interviewers are now looking to hire candidates beyond their academic qualifications and technical knowledge. Behavioral interview questions are formulated by presenting a workplace situation of crisis, wherein you are expected to demonstrate your vigilant decision-making skills.

Additionally, your responses to these questions reflect your mindfulness and ability to take effective actions to resolve a problem.

Why Do Employers Ask Behavioral Questions?

While technical questions are imperative to gauge your knowledge and expertise to perform a job, behavioral questions help interviewers in understanding your personality and workplace ethics. Employers ask behavioral questions to understand who you are, how you think, and how you approach real-world dilemmas. Your answers to these behavioral questions help them gauge how you may or may not complement the current team and the role you are being interviewed for.

These questions are designed to learn the following:

1. How do you respond to specific workplace situations?

2. How do you solve problems to achieve a successful outcome?

3. Are you aware of your capabilities and shortcomings?

4. How are you willing to get better at work?

5. How could you be an asset to the institute/organization other than your academic knowledge?

13 Behavioral Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

There is no right or wrong answer to a behavioral question. However, one must follow certain rules while responding to them. Here are 13 most asked behavioral questions asked in an academic interview and how to answer them.

1. How did you work effectively under pressure?

If your role demands working under pressure and taking important decisions, the interviewer will want to know how well you can work under such a situation. The best way to answer this question is by giving a real-life example of how you’ve dealt with pressure for a successful outcome.

2. Did you ever face a challenging situation? How did you handle it?

Regardless of your job, things may sometimes not go as planned. When asking this question, the employer wants to know how you will react in a difficult situation. Hence, focus on how you resolved a challenging situation when you respond. Furthermore, consider sharing a step-by-step outline of what you did and how you came out of a situation as such. This helps the interviewer decide on your team-building, adaptability, problem-solving, and leadership qualities.

3. Did you ever make a mistake? How did you handle it? 

To human is to err! So don’t shy away from admitting that you did make a few mistakes. The interviewer is interested in knowing how you rectified your mistake. Be honest and highlight your soft skills and how you took responsibility for the mistake. More importantly, highlight how you learned from it and avoid repeating it.

4. How do you set goals?

With this question, the interviewer wants to know how well you plan and set your goals to accomplish them. Here, you must speak about your professional goal which you decided to achieve to gain a promotion or to gain knowledge. Furthermore, describe how you planned it out and managed it between heavy workloads to achieve it successfully.

5. How have you worked as part of a team?

Most jobs require working as part of a team. Thus, the interviewer wants to know how well you work with others and cooperate with other team members. It’s best to give an example of you coordinating with your team members to execute a group project or assignment.

6. Did you ever make a decision that wasn’t popular? How do you handle implementing it?

Sometimes, one has to make difficult decisions, and not all employees agree when a new policy is put in place. With this question, the interviewer wants to know your process for implementing change. Hence, a strong set of ideas and a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of the decision is a must while responding to this question.

7. How do you handle disagreements at work?

This question seeks insights into how you handle issues at work. While answering this behavioral question, focus on how you’ve solved a problem or made peace when there was a workplace disagreement.

8. Give an example of how you motivated your peers at work.

With is a question, the interviewer wants to gauge your motivational skills. Here, you should describe instances where you helped your peer to come back stronger at work with your motivational talks or gestures.

9. Have you handled a difficult situation at work?

Here, the interviewer wants to know if you could be given a responsibility to handle difficult situations at work. Therefore, you must describe a situation where you were given an important project or task and how you delivered it successfully.

10. How well can you handle criticism?

The interviewer will ask you this question to gauge your attitude towards stressful situations and receive feedback from seniors. While responding to this question, you need to highlight how well you received both, harsh as well as constructive criticism and improved your work. Furthermore, tell them how much you appreciate such criticisms without getting defensive about it.

11. Explain a time when you took an initiative on a project.

While you may want to focus only on how you thought of brilliant idea and executed it, don’t forget to give credit to your team. The best way to answer this question is by giving examples of how you went beyond your usual role to take on extra responsibility.

12. Tell me about a time when you used creativity to overcome a difficult situation

This is your chance to display your creative side and let the interviewers know that you can come up with offbeat solutions for a problem that couldn’t be solved in a standard format. Any unexpected “out of the box” idea that solved a problem at work.

13. Tell me about a time when you were consulted for a problem by your supervisor.

With this question, the interviewer wants to know if you are remembered as a problem-solver or an advisor. So, this is your opportunity to describe an experimental or administrative problem at work where you were approached to streamline it and make the process better.

Key Tips to Keep in Mind While Answering Behavioral Questions in an Academic Interview

1. Position yourself in the best possible light.

2. Each response must reflect your self-awareness.

3. Describe your journey as an exponential graph of growth with learning.

4. Highlight your willingness to help others at work.

5. Be real. Do not bluff or create fictional scenarios.

Final Thoughts

Hope you won’t be petrified with the thought of behavioral questions as you face them at your next interview. The easiest way to get through with it is to prepare for some good storytelling (of course factual and realistic!) and do not be intimidated. All the best! Let us know how it went in the comments section below!


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