Job Hunting

26 Common Behavioral Questions to Practice Before Any Interview

Students practicing for an interview with an open Laptop

The new year is quickly approaching, meaning many companies will be starting January off with a fresh budget and a fresh headcount to fill. If you’re job hunting, now is the perfect time to brush up on your interview skills and hit the ground running with renewed motivation. 

Interviewing can be stressful, but you can take some of the pressure off yourself by preparing well. No matter what type of interview you’re up against, we can help. This month at the Commons, we’re sharing tips to help you land your dream job. If you’re preparing for a technical interview, here are a few tips to help you ace it, as well as a few technical interview questions you may be asked.

Today, we’ll be sharing 26 behavioral questions you should be prepared to answer ahead of any job interview. While you should tailor your response for each company and role you interview for, you can recycle much of the content, which saves you time preparing for individual interviews.

Getting-to-Know-You Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  1. What do you know about our company?
  1. Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?
  1. Why do you want to work here?
  1. What makes you most qualified for this role?
  1. What is your greatest weakness?
  2. ‍What is your greatest strength?
  3. Why do you want this job?
  4. Why should we hire you?
  5. What is your greatest professional achievement?
  6. What's your dream job?
  7. What type of work environment do you prefer?
  8. ‍How would your boss and co-workers describe you?
  9. What resources do you use to keep your skills sharp?

Scenario Questions

  1. A time you succeeded / Your biggest accomplishments / Your greatest challenge
  2. A time you persuaded someone who did not agree with you
  3. A time you dealt with and resolved a conflict (among team members)
  4. A time you led a team / a time you showed leadership skills
  5. A time you dealt with stress at work
  6. The most difficult problem you've encountered in your previous job, and how you solved it
  7. A time you solved a problem creatively
  8. A time you had to exceed expectations to get a job done
  9. A time you showed initiative
  10. Tell me something that’s not on your resume
  11. An example of an important goal you set and how you reached it
  12. A time you failed and what you learned from it 

Use Anecdotes

Using storytelling can be an effective way to answer your interviewer’s questions while illustrating the type of value you can bring to a team or organization.

Prepare to highlight your problem-solving skills using the STAR Method. Before the interview write out 4-7 stories on a notecard that you can tell in response to the Scenario Questions above.

STAR: Situation — Task — Action — Result

Also commonly referred to as the PAR method (Problem, Action, Result), these stories help you demonstrate to an interviewer that you’re action-oriented and willing to go above and beyond at work. Begin by describing the problem or situation you encountered. Next, briefly detail what you were asked to do or decided that you needed to do, followed by the action you took to remedy the situation. End by describing what happened as a result of your action – use data to illustrate your impact, if applicable. 

Aim to keep your responses to 60 seconds or less, and be sure to check in periodically with your interviewer to be sure you’re giving the type of response they were hoping for. Checking in also allows the interviewer to ask you to clarify any of your points or to ask more detailed questions about your story.

Remember to ask questions

At the end of the interview, you’ll likely be asked whether you have any questions about the company or position. This is your time to learn more about your prospective boss’s leadership style, the company culture, and the expectations for the person in the role you’re interviewing for. 

Always aim to have at least three insightful questions prepared to ask. Coming prepared with questions, or asking follow up questions based on your conversation with the interviewer, shows that you were paying attention during the interview and that you’re interested in the company and the role. These questions can be questions about the employee experience, such as “what’s your favorite part about working for Company X?” or “How would you describe the company culture here?” or questions specifically about the position, such as “How will the person in this role be evaluated for success?”

Remember that you’re also interviewing the company to decide whether this position is the best fit for you and your career goals. Asking questions allows you to better understand whether this is the job for you. 

Want more advice to ace your interviews? Here are 9 actionable tips to help you get hired faster.