Many companies will choose to conduct a behavioral interview in lieu of the traditional interview. This is an interview based on discovering how the perspective employee acted in specific employee-related situations. The idea behind this is that past performance predicts future performance.
In a traditional interview the job candidate is asked a series of questions which are fairly generic. “What major challenges and problems did you face in your last job?” In a behavioral interview, an employer has decided what skills are needed in the person they hire and will ask questions to find out if the candidate has those skills. Instead of asking how you would behave, they will ask how you did behave. The interviewer will want to know how you handled a situation, instead of what you might do in the future.
Behavioral interview questions have a tendency to be more probing and specific. For instance, “Give an example of an occasion when you used logic to solve a problem.” Or “Have you ever gone above and beyond the call of duty? How?” You can anticipate follow-up questions. You may be asked what you did, what you said, how you reacted or how you felt.
How does a perspective job candidate prepare for a behavioral interview? You most likely will not know beforehand if this is the type of interview the company will conduct. You must anticipate and be prepared. The best preparation is to be ready for both a traditional and a behavioral interview. If it is a lucrative job, it will be worth your time.
Since you will not know exactly what situations you will be asked about if it’s a behavioral interview, refresh your memory and consider some special situations you have dealt with or projects you have worked on. You may be able to use them to help frame responses. Prepare stories that illustrate times when you have successfully solved problems or performed memorably. The stories will be useful to help you respond meaningfully in a behavioral interview.
When in doubt about how to respond to a behavioral interview question, it is appropriate to ask for clarification. Include specifics and the tasks that were required and the action you took. There usually are no “right or wrong” answers. The interviewer simply wants to know how you respond in specific situations.
How you respond will determine if there is a fit between your skills and the position the company is seeking to fill. So, listen carefully, be clear and detailed when you respond and, most importantly, be honest. If your answers aren’t what the interviewer is looking for, this position may not be the best job for you anyway.
Finally, review the job description, if you have it, or the job posting or ad. You may be able to get a sense of what skills and behavioral characteristics the employer is seeking from reading the job description and position requirements.
Source: How to Answer Illegal Interview Questions.” About.com Job Searching. Web. 05 Feb. 2013