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How do I answer behavioural questions at a job interview?

“How can I answer behavioural interview questions?”— Savannah M.


Behavioural interview questions are designed to review your skills, abilities and personality from past work experiences to see if you're qualified to do the job you're interviewing for.

Some examples of behavioural interview questions include:

  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake with a colleague. How did you handle the situation?

  • How did you go about managing a long-term project to its deadlines?

  • Describe a time you gave a presentation. Was it successful and why do you think that?

The best way to answer behavioural interview questions effectively is by utilising the STAR technique. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. By addressing each of these concepts in your response, you are more likely to provide a thorough answer.

Let's break down the four concepts so you know exactly how to compose your responses:

Situation: Describe a situation that relates to the question you were asked that had a successful outcome. You want to set the scene for the interviewer.

Task: Then, tell the interviewer what was required of you ‒ what you were tasked with. Zoom in on how the situation related to you.

Action: Next, describe the actions that you took to address or resolve the situation. Focus on your actions, not your team's or colleagues'.

Result: Lastly, explain what the outcome was in relation to the actions you took.

It's important to be as specific as possible when answering a behavioural question so you quantify your ability accurately.

When preparing for your interview, try to predict what you'll be asked by reviewing the required skills or experience listed in the job description for the role. Then, write up mock answers using the STAR technique.

You should aim to talk for one to two minutes per question, with most of your response focussed on the actions you took, as this is where your ability is best demonstrated. Make sure you prepare with this in mind for a successful interview.

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