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Behavioral Questions

Tell me about a time when the ability to communicate effectively was critical to the success of a task or project. How did you handle it? Describe a situation you observed or were a part of where you felt communication was handled particularly well by someone else. What did they do? Why do you think it was effective?

  • Interviewer will evaluate your bias for written or oral communication and match this to the needs of the position. Recruiter will observe the role of listening and your description of effective communication. Interviewer will assess your ability to communicate in a clear, concise, and understandable way.

Describe a situation where initiative on the part of you or someone else was critical. Why was it important? How was it handled? Tell me about a situation where your own initiative made a difference in the outcome.

  • Recruiter will determine how you value proactivity over reactivity. Interviewer will assess judgment in the selection of the situation calling for initiative, and the activities used to respond to it. Recruiter will determine your willingness to go beyond a given parameter if that is what is required to do on the job.

Behavioral Flexibility
Describe an example of a time when you had to approach several people for support or cooperation whom you considered quite different from one another. What did you have to do differently with each person? How did you know what to do differently? Describe a situation in which your first attempt to sell an idea failed. How did you react to this? What other approaches did you try?

  • Interviewer will assess your ability to cooperate and negotiate with different personalities.

Tell me about one of the toughest groups you have had to get cooperation from. Did you have formal authority? What did you do? Of the people you have encountered or know about in public positions of leadership, who do you look to as a model and why?

  • Interviewer will assess your ability and willingness to influence and be influenced by others. Recruiter will determine your willingness to confront issues honestly. Interviewer will determine to what degree you model the behaviors expected from others.

Describe a task or project you were in charge of, and tell me how you set it up and followed it through. Tell me about a situation you observed or were part of where there were time and/or resource constraints. What happened? Why? Describe a situation that  required things to be done at the same time. How did you handle the situation? What was the result?

  • Interviewer will assess your recognition of the need to plan. Recruiter will determine your effectiveness in gathering and organizing information. Interviewer will assess your willingness and ability to prioritize. Recruiter will assess your identification of potential obstacles and ways of dealing with them. Interviewer will assess the candidate's effective use of time and resources.

Problem Solving/Decision Making
Describe a situation where a prompt and accurate decision on your part was critical. What did you consider in reaching your decision? Describe two examples of good decisions you have made in the last six months. What were the alternatives? Why were they good decisions? Tell me about a decision you made in the past that later proved to be a wrong decision. Why was it wrong? What would you do differently now, if anything, in making that decision?

  • Interviewer will assess your willingness and ability to gather and analyze information. Recruiter will determine your anticipation and consideration of potential problems/opportunities. Interviewer will assess your judgment and logical assumptions in light of what was known prior to the decision. Recruiter will assess your readiness to make a decision and act on it.

Sales Ability/Persuasiveness
What are some of the best ideas you have sold to others? What was your approach? Describe a selling experience you have had. Give me a specific example of a successful or unsuccessful sale. Why was it successful or unsuccessful?

  • Interviewer will assess the candidate's ability to select the appropriate style for the situation. Recruiter will assess your ability to gain agreement or acceptance of his/her idea or plan.

Sensitivity/Team Effectiveness
When dealing with individuals or groups, how do you determine when you are pushing too hard? Tell me about a team where you were the leader. How did you promote the effectiveness of your team? What were the results? Describe some situations where you wished you had acted differently with someone at work/school. What did you do? What happened?

  • Interviewer will assess your consideration of decisions on other team members. Recruiter will consider your objectivity in looking at different points of view and a willingness to confront differences of opinion from other team members.

Work Standards
Is there a particular experience that stands out as one you never want to repeat because you did not meet your normal standards of performance? What, and why? What is the best job you have ever done on an assignment, the standard of you own performance that you used as a benchmark? (The candidate should be specific about the task; the interviewer will not settle for a general discussion of what is good.)

  • Interviewer will determine the degree to which poor performance is unacceptable and will determine your motivation to do a good job consistently. Recruiter will assess work habits and methods to achieve results. Interviewer will assess the effectiveness of the candidate's critique of his/her own performance as the means of self-improvement.