One of the most common interview questions is “Tell me about a time when you…” or “Give an example of a time when you…” These questions are designed to get you to tell the interviewer about a time when you faced a problem, made a decision, and had to solve the problem or make a decision. The interviewer is trying to see if you have the skills needed for this job and if you have the experience needed to do the job well. What are “behavioral interview questions”? Behavioral interview questions are questions that ask you to give examples of past behavior to see if it is something that you would do in the future. For example, the question “Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a dispute between people” is a behavioral question. These questions are different from other types of interview questions.

The following behavioral interview questions are some of the best interview questions for assessing candidates.

Behavioral Interview Questions: What’s it?

Candidates are asked in behavioral interview questions to give examples of specific circumstances in which they have used certain skills—especially soft skills—or to describe how they have handled particular types of scenarios. These questions are popular with interviewers because they can give them a more accurate and nuanced impression of how you operate.
Additionally, it gives them a chance to assess your potential based on your actual past work performance. Consider this: Which would persuade you more about someone’s ability to work in a team: their declaration that they absolutely adore doing so, or their telling of a specific instance in which they spent months collaborating with a team of five to implement a website redesign for a significant client?

Common Behavioral Interview Questions

I regret that I am unable to provide you with a list of the specific behavioral questions you will encounter. However, this list will give you a general idea of the kinds of inquiries you might encounter. Consider the stories you can tell in response to each group of questions as you read them; you can often modify them on the spot to address any variations the interviewer may pose.

Teamwork questions

Working with others is a requirement for almost all jobs, so be ready to discuss your group dynamics experiences. You should have a story that demonstrates your capacity to cooperate with others in trying situations. Consider handling project constraints, resolving team disputes, or inspiring others.

  1. When did you last have to collaborate closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours?
  2. Give me an instance of a time when you had a disagreement with a coworker. What was your approach to that?
  3. Describe a situation where you had to take charge and show leadership qualities.
  4. Describe a time when you erred and wished you had handled a situation with a colleague otherwise.
  5. When you needed information from someone and they weren’t very responsive, describe the situation. How did you act?

Customer service questions

Be prepared for one or more of these if you would be working with clients, customers, or other external stakeholders in this role. Have at least one anecdote ready about a time when you successfully represented your business or team and provided first-class customer service.

  1. Give an example of a time when impressing a client was particularly important. How did you approach doing that?
  2. Give me an instance where you failed to live up to a client’s expectations. What happened, and how did you try to make things right?
  3. Describe a time when you went out of your way to ensure a customer was happy with your service.
  4. Describe a situation in which you had to deal with a challenging client or customer. How did you handle the situation and what was it?
  5. It can be challenging to provide each customer with superior service when you’re dealing with a large number of them. How do you decide which of your customer’s needs are most important?

Adaptability questions

Finally, troubled times have a benefit! Consider a current professional crisis you handled successfully. Find a lesson or positive aspect of the situation, even if the result wasn’t ideal.

  1. If you were under a lot of pressure at work or school, describe the situation. What was happening, and how did you handle it?
  2. Describe a time when your group or business was going through a change. What effect did that have on you, and how did you adjust?
  3. How did you get comfortable at your last job? What did you do to get the hang of things?
  4. Give me an instance when you had to use your judgment on the spot.
  5. Describe a time when you failed. Why did

Questions about time management


Prepare a specific example of a time when you had several tasks on the go and prioritized, scheduled, organized, and finished everything—ideally before the deadline—when the interviewer asks about time management.

  1. Give me an example of a time when you handled many tasks. What was your approach to that?
  2. Describe a long-term project you managed to finish. How did you maintain the flow of events?
  3. Tell me about a time when your workload became a little too much. How did you act?
  4. Tell me about a time when you gave yourself a goal. How did you ensure that you would accomplish your goal?
  5. Tell me about a time when a planned event was ruined by an unforeseen issue. How did you get better?

Communication questions


You probably have a wide variety of stories to choose from because you use your communication abilities so frequently. Just remember to discuss your planning or thought process.

  1. Tell me about a time when you had to convey your ideas through written communication.
  2. Give me an instance of a time when you were successful in convincing someone at work to accept your point of view.
  3. Describe a time when you served as the local subject matter expert. What steps did you take to ensure that everyone could understand you?
  4. Describe a time when you had to have a challenging conversation with an irate client or coworker. How did you respond to the circumstance?
  5. Tell me about a presentation you gave that was a success.

Motivation and values questions


A lot of seemingly random interview questions are actually attempting to learn more about what motivates you. Your response would ideally address values and motivations directly even if the question didn’t explicitly ask about them.

  1. Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.
  2. Describe a time when you saw a problem and took the initiative to correct it.
  3. Tell me about a time when you worked under either extremely close supervision or extremely loose supervision. How did you handle that?
  4. Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
  5. Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your role. What could have been done to make it better?

Related – check out our article about “60+ Motivational Anime Quotes”

Sample Behavioral Interview Answers

How do you actually respond to behavioral questions then? The first half of the battle is accurately identifying the skill the interviewer wants to focus on. When you have that, share a pertinent anecdote and then sum it up by discussing how you typically handle situations similar to the one they described. See how this advice is applied by looking at these examples.

1. Give me an example of a time when you had a disagreement with a team member. What was your approach to that?

Ah, the dilemma of conflict. It is equally common and terrifying. Interviewers ask this question to learn more about your approach to the inevitable—disagreements at work. However, even when you are not at fault, it can be difficult to look good in a conflict, so you might be uneasy. Focusing more on the method of solving the problem than the actual issue is the key to getting through this one.

Sample Answer – “Funny enough, I was a member of a committee that organized training on conflict intervention in the workplace last year, and the resistance we encountered when we attempted to enforce attendance really put our curriculum to the test. One senior employee in particular came across as adamant. It took some careful listening to discern that, given the workload he was managing, he felt that it wasn’t the best use of his time. I took care to acknowledge his anxiety. I then focused on his specific objection and explained how the training was intended to enhance not only the company culture but also the efficiency at which we operated—and that the goal was for the training to make everyone’s workload feel lighter rather than pointing out that he himself had voted for the entire staff to go through this training. He eventually showed up and was present when I addressed the entire staff about finding the core of a conflict and dealing with it head-on without bringing up other issues, which is how I try to handle any conflict at work.”

2. Describe a situation where you needed information from someone but they weren’t very responsive. How did you act?

Hiring managers seek candidates with problem-solving skills. This question is intended to highlight the fact that a communication breakdown is at the root of many workplace issues. Avoid getting too caught up in the specifics of the tale, and be sure to conclude with a clear takeaway.

Sample Answer – “I remember having to reserve interview rooms on the same day for a number of different candidates, each with a few sessions when I was a junior recruiter’s assistant. The problem with the company’s online system for booking conference rooms was that it allowed more senior employees to reschedule my reservations. I had to work quickly to retrieve them. I literally ran around the office looking for the people who had taken my rooms after not receiving any responses to my emails to let them know why I needed them. I frantically searched the office for the individuals who had taken my rooms so that I could explain why I needed them. Even though it was stressful at the time, everything turned out for the best. Most people were happy to change the time or location of the interview to ensure everything went as planned. I also got to know a lot of people, and I quickly discovered that speaking with someone in person can frequently advance conversations more quickly than email can.”

3. Give an example of a time when impressing a client was particularly important. How did you approach doing that?

A perfect response to this question has a fantastic result and exemplifies how they arrived at that result. However, describing the steps you took will get you a strong response even if the outcome is only passable rather than excellent.

Sample Answer – “Making a good impression on a potential client before they sign a contract is one of the most crucial moments. I can tell when the sales team wants to meet with a potential customer because we’re getting close to closing the deal, so I try to assist in that process. That’s probably the reason I was chosen to represent the research team in the final presentation we made for what would end up being the year’s biggest client win. I talked to every member of the sales team who had previously met with them to find out as much as I could about what they might be interested in. I don’t try to treat all of my clients the same, which is something I do that makes me stand out. In an effort to show them that I did my research and cared enough to avoid giving general responses, I made an effort to address their particular queries and worries. In this instance, having the data gathered and prepared for each question they posed made all the difference in fostering their trust in our business.”

4. Describe a time when your group or business was going through a change. What effect did that have on you, and how did you adjust?


Interviewers are interested in learning how you approach organizational change. Your story doesn’t necessarily have to involve a significant company reorganization; it could also involve a brand-new file-sharing system. By outlining the steps you took to adapt and then generalizing your experience, you can ensure that interviewers receive the information they need from your response.

Sample Answer – “My manager left the company last year, and it took the business a while to find a replacement. She was the one who made sure we were all on the same page, so this completely changed how our team worked. After a few weeks of missed deadlines and poor team communication, I apologetically suggested that we conduct a brief daily check-in. It took no more than 10 minutes per day, but it helped us resume productive work and significantly lessened the growing frustration. It helped me realize that adjusting to change necessitates being aware of the gaps that a change generates and coming up with novel solutions to fill them.”

5. Describe a time when you failed. How did you handle the circumstance?

It can be helpful to slightly reduce the scope when dealing with broad questions like this. You can answer a question about failing by first outlining what it means to fail in your own words before providing an example.

Sample Answer – “As a team manager, I view it as a failure if I am unaware of the state of my team members’ projects; in other words, if a problem comes as a surprise, I have failed at some point. Even if the result is satisfactory in the end, it means that I occasionally neglected to provide support for a team member. An example from more recently would be the annual training we provide for new project managers. I didn’t think to check in because my team has run the event so frequently and I was unaware that a scheduling issue was developing into a full-fledged turf war with another team. In the end, the leadership team meeting’s resolution was a brief and straightforward discussion, but if I had brought it up sooner, the issue would never have arisen in the first place. Even though I’ve done things dozens of times before, I definitely learned my lesson about the importance of setting reminders to check in on important projects or events.”

6. Give me an example of a time when you handled many tasks. What was your approach to that?

Multitasking. Even though it is impossible, we are all expected to complete it. Since you’ll probably have more than one responsibility at work, the hiring manager will want to know how you’ll manage a variety of tasks, projects, and deadlines.

Sample Answer – “Being a part of an early-stage startup required me to wear many different hats, which is almost cliché. I would be recruiting one moment, speaking to potential clients the next, then having a meeting with the co-founders to discuss the product. It frequently felt like getting whiplash when shifting so quickly. I came to the conclusion that the issue was more with the constant switching than with the actual juggling. In order to spend several hours concentrating on similar tasks, I started chunking my work. one block for sales, one block for recruiting, and one block for each product. It became much more manageable once I realized that the key to multitasking was to not multitask.”

7. Give me an instance of a time at work when you were successful in getting someone to see things your way.


No matter what position you hold, effective communication skills are essential, and interviewers will keep probing you until they are satisfied that you possess them. Emotional intelligence and empathic listening are two communication skills you should emphasize when asked about persuasion. I once had to decide when to end a project. Those who are impacted by this, of course, may feel extremely let down. It could devastate a team’s morale if executed poorly. I won’t go into too much detail about the project, but suffice it to say that everyone involved put a lot of effort into it and needed to be persuaded strongly that this was the right decision. I actively informed everyone of the various ways the company would still use their work rather than allowing the notion to spread that months of their work were being abandoned.

Sample Answer – “Although it wasn’t what they had hoped for, knowing that their efforts weren’t in vain made it easier for me to break the bad news that we wouldn’t be able to achieve our initial objectives. I was able to speak to their concerns head-on and convince them that this was the best course of action by taking the time to consider what unfavorable reaction they might have and putting forth the effort to be sympathetic.”

8. Tell me about a presentation you think was well received and why.

Based on the job description, you can probably determine whether or not you’ll be asked this question. If your job frequently requires you to speak in front of groups, be prepared with an example. Make sure you provide proof of how you know you performed well for questions like this one that end with “and why.” An attentive audience in this situation is strong evidence that your presentation was effective.

Sample Answer – “I’ve definitely improved over the years. At the weekly research meeting in my previous lab, where we all updated each other on the status of our work, I presented fairly frequently. When I first began, I would simply continue where I had left off and speak as though I were addressing a room full of experts, which I was, but they weren’t necessarily experts in my particular project. In retrospect, it is clear. Research is by its very nature, a novel endeavor. I started incorporating more context-setting techniques into my presentations, similar to a condensed version of a conference presentation. Although it required more work, I could tell that everyone was interested in the questions I received. They pushed my work along because they were more thoughtful and difficult. Now, whether I’m giving a formal or informal presentation, I make an effort to support my conclusions with pertinent background information.”

Related – check out our article “6 Tips – No One Tells You About Problem-Solving Interview Questions.”

9. What is your proudest professional achievement?


Sometimes, when asked this question, people become frozen. Proudest? literally, the thing I’ve ever been most proud of? That is a lot. It is essentially free to talk about anything, which is a more manageable way to look at it. So you can pick a story that highlights a pertinent talent, passion, or experience you haven’t had a chance to mention yet or that you want to emphasize more and present it as one of your greatest successes! If you’re applying for an entry-level position, feel free to discuss your academic achievements.

Sample Answer – “There are many things I’ve accomplished at Major Telecom over the past few years that I’m proud of, but one thing we haven’t had much opportunity to discuss is my work with the parent’s employee resource group. As the co-lead of the parent’s ERG, I have worked assiduously to steer the conversation as the company has become more family-friendly. This year, I took the initiative to improve our flexible work policy, first writing a letter to the leadership team on behalf of the ERG and then later drafting a proposal that ultimately improved the workplace and allowed for more flexibility for everyone—not just parents—to work.”

10. Tell me about a time when you were either under very strict supervision or very lax supervision while working. What was your approach to that?

This question is intended to find out how you prefer to be managed, but the way it is worded might tempt you to criticize a previous employer. Maintain your focus and reserve a neutral to the uplifting response.

Sample Answer – “It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but when I didn’t know what I was doing and was an intern at Online Content Co., I felt like everything I did need approval. I actually attribute my quick learning to the close supervision I received. But it started to feel a little constrictive once I was hired on as a staff writer. I believed that once I “proved myself,” things would improve, but after a few more months passed with little to show for it, a mentor helped me realize that I wasn’t being proactive in approaching my manager. I started showing up to my one-on-one meetings with an agenda rather than being barraged with questions.”

Answering Behavioral Interview Questions: 4 Tips

I’m going to follow my own advice and end with a few broad conclusions. If you don’t recall anything else, be sure to:

  • On the basis of the job description, prepare a few stories: Maybe you’ll use them, maybe you won’t, but I guarantee that if you’ve given this some thought, you’ll feel more prepared and less anxious. Search the job description for any phrases that seem to be repeated or are otherwise highlighted, such as “works independently” or “takes initiative.” then create some tales based on those events!
  • Implement the STAR method: Particularly when we’re anxious, stories can grow large and awkward. It’s crucial to keep your response succinct and pertinent to the inquiry. You can create job-landing responses to many interview questions that call for a carefully constructed example story by using the STAR interview method.
  • Finish off your explanations with a statement: It’s acceptable that some stories don’t quite fit the STAR method perfectly. Just be sure to neatly summarize your story at the end so that the interviewer understands what they were supposed to take away from it. In other words, share your experience and then instruct the audience on what to make of it. “I did this to address the issue, and generally, this is the method I employ to address issues.”
  • Before your actual interview, practice speaking out loud: After working with tens of thousands of job seekers and penning hundreds of articles on the subject, my best advice for acing an interview can be summed up in one word: practice. Practice answering potential interview questions out loud and in more detail. Never memorize the responses. Simply repeat them a few times. If you want to be fancy, practice in front of a mirror so you can see how you come across.

You will answer these questions with ease and move on to the next round by brushing up on your interview techniques in general. Prepare your stories, and for good measure, practice, I’ll say it again.

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