Behavioural interviews can be really tricky. They were introduced by an industrial psychologist so predict human behaviour quite well. Don’t take any chances if you’re on the verge of making a career change. Read this article for simple and powerful strategies that will help you excel at your behavioural interview.
1. Be Friendly – If the job in question requires people skills (and most sociable jobs do) then your interviewers will want to see tangible proof of your claims. Don’t try too hard however, just be confident and polite. Make light conversation if you can and listen attentively to your interviewers. For instance, if your interviewer has just had a baby, extend your congratulations and ask how he or she is coping with the change in lifestyle. If you have recently had a baby yourself, briefly share experiences that the interviewer may find humorous and helpful. If everything works out well, refer to your rapport building skills as ample evidence of your affable nature.
2. Ask Too – Candidates who don’t ask questions of their own during job interviews usually come across as timid and disinterested. After giving a good account of yourself, find out if the job is really a great match for you by asking the interviewers some behavioural questions too. Some suitable questions to ask at the interview are: ‘How did you come to work for this company and what have you enjoyed the most so far? How many hours a week do you put into this job and what have been your biggest challenges yet? In what ways have the company rewarded hard work and initiative of recent?It is also wise to ask your interviewers to provide constructive feedback on your interview performance. When appropriate, feedback can be given in person or perhaps over the telephone. If you manage to build good rapport and express genuine interest in the company, many interviewers would be more than happy to give you interview feedback.
3. Recap – Never forget that employers want to hire multi talented people who will add long term value to their organisations. At the end of your behavioural interview, recap by summarising the talents and behaviours that equip you for the role as well as the values and ethics that will enable you fit well into the organisation. Some candidates even go as far as preparing power-point presentations that demonstrate their competence and show how their long term goals fit in with the prospective employer’s. Be creative if you want to stand out from your competitors. Don’t forget to thank your interviewers for their time and say how much you look forward to hearing from them.
4. Proper Chase – Before you leave the interview venue, get a contact name and direct telephone number you can use for follow up purposes. However, make sure you find out how long you should wait before getting in touch. It is good manners to send a thank you note a few days after the final interview and to ring for the result within agreed time-scales. If further follow up is required do so no more than twice per week, contacting the key decision makers (usually the interviewers) directly where possible. Behave politely and professionally at all times.
5. Get Feedback – It is vital that you get some feedback on your performance as this will serve you well should you have cause to attend future behavioural interviews. Hiring managers love it when interviewees ask for feedback. In fact I know candidates who got hired (when subsequent vacancies arose) because they dared to seek constructive criticism after unsuccessful interviews.
In summary, people who do really well at behavioural interviews are those who have taken the time to find hidden talents and discover their purpose for living. By passionately communicating how your talents, skills and behaviours complement your prospective employer’s ethics and business objectives, you can put yourself head and shoulders above your competitors and make the career changes you desire.