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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

Behavioural-based interview questions

By Vicky Smith
Sun Media


Many employers are now using behavioural-based interview questions. Such a question often starts with: "Give me a specific example" or "Describe a situation where" or "Tell me about a time when."

Behavioural interviews have become popular because of a strong belief that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in similar situations. The interviewer determines behaviours, knowledge, skills and abilities for the job and creates situational questions to uncover the candidate's profile in the relevant areas.

In answering behavioural-based questions describe:
  • Situation or task -- give a specific example of an event -- a moment in time. This situation can be from a previous job, volunteer work or non-work experience.
  • Action you took -- describe what you did in that particular situation.
  • Results you achieved -- What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?

    You need to paint a picture of the situation so it will stand out in the interviewer's mind.

    You can find more than 100 typical job interview questions at: www.quintcareers.com/interview_question_database/interview_questions.html and at www.quintcareers.com/sample_behavioral.html.

    There are universal traits that are important to employers today. Prepare good examples of how you demonstrated the following qualities:
  • A willing attitude was rated as the most important character trait.
  • The ability to communicate was rated second.
  • The ability to critically think and innovate on the job.
  • Willingness to take responsibility.
  • A positive outlook on getting along with others -- team player.
  • Being flexible and open to suggestions and task performance -- ability to adapt to change.
  • Enthusiastic, demonstrating job motivation.

    Closing an interview effectively can create another lasting impression and can impact your opportunity to get hired. Always prepare three to five good questions related to the company. Those questions should concern the company itself, rather than issues about compensation, vacation or benefits.

    At the end of the interview, give a short summary statement as to why you should be hired for this position. If you are interested in the job, confidently state that you would like this position.

    Thank the interviewer for her/his time and ask what will happen next.

    -- Vicky Smith



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