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Behavioral Interviews

Behavioral interviewing is a common part of interviews, you should know what to expect and how to best answer questions. Master the STAR method to prepare for questions that ask for examples and situations during an interview.


Behavioral Based Questions

Tell me about a time when ….

Give me an example of…

Describe a situation where…

Walk me through one of your experiences that includes…

Have you ever….


The Star Method


Situation + Task Required + Your Actions Taken = Result


Answer behavioral based interview questions by telling a story from your personal, academic or work experience. Follow the STAR formula in order to stay on track but also include enough detail to stay unique and memorable.



Behavior Based question examples:

  • Tell me about a time you worked with a team.

  • Give me an example of a time you had to solve a problem.

  • What experience do you have with communication?

  • Tell me about a time you failed or did not meet expectations.

  • Give me an example of a time you worked through a difficult situation.

  • Tell me about a time you had a leadership role.

  • What was your biggest accomplishment or success?

  • What was your favorite/most challenging class?

  • Tell me how you built a skill you listed on your resume.

  • Give me an example of a project/task you completed independently.

  • Tell me how you have helped others/ considered the needs of others.

  • Give me an example of an ethical decision you had to make.

  • Outline your communication style/professional communication techniques


Advice from Lehigh Alumni

Jesse Nawrocki, R&D at Ethicon, Inc (See his profile on Lehigh Connects)

In general my company uses the STAR technique which is a behavioral-based technique. There is a lot of information out there for students to help them prepare for STAR questions as well as many examples of the type of questions asked and how to structure their answers. Personally, I like to ask candidates to provide specific examples of various situations and their role (i.e. solving a technical problem, resolving conflict, working in a team...)


Beth Bressman, Marketing Director, New Jersey Monthly (See her profile on Lehigh Connects)

I ask them to tell me about the biggest pain in the neck client or customer and how they handled the situation. Many of the applicants have retail or restaurant experience and we live in a pretty entitled area, so the answer tells me a lot about how they would handle demanding customers or staff members.


Michael Zink, Vice President at Evonik Resource Efficiency (See his profile on Lehigh Connects)

I like to ask questions about creative conflict resolution. Tell me about a time that you had a difference of opinion with a colleague. Tell me about a time you pushed back against your boss. Tell me about a time you had to convince someone to support your opinion or chosen approach.


Drew Gill, Client Operations Manager at ICONIQ Capital (See his profile on Lehigh Connects)

I like to ask candidates about a difficult personality, most commonly that was functioning in a senior position to them. My industry tends to have "big personalities", so I typically ask if they've even been yelled at undeservedly, and how they responded. My objective is to see how they respond to difficult situations, and if they can separate a personal criticism versus a difficult individual.


Jennifer Cunningham, Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations at Lehigh University (See her profile on Lehigh Connects)

Tell me about a time you failed. It doesn't matter what the failure was or whether it was "their fault". I want to hear a) are you humble enough to admit that you're not perfect b) do you take responsibility and c) what did you learn from it? Also, I hire entrepreneurial thinkers - if someone has never failed, it probably means they haven't tried new things!


Prepare

Before the interview determine what stories and situations you could share so the information is fresh in your mind. Take time to think of examples and their details, its easier to pull from short term memory during your interview. Consider a wide variety of stories from your academic experiences, work experience, club and organization involvement, volunteer hours, etc. You should focus on drawing from experiences that directly relate to the work you are interviewing for, but you should also have examples prepared for unrelated experiences that can demonstrate transferable skills.


Practice

Practice your delivery but don’t memorize the dialog so you can be flexible with the content you include. Use Big interview to practice using the STAR method and telling your stories. This is an online tool that will allow you to choose interview questions based on your industry. Your laptop camera records your responses and you can watch them or share the link with someone in your network to receive feedback. This is a great way to practice the full interview experience and become comfortable telling your stories using the STAR method.


If you can’t answer a question:

  • That's a great question. I haven’t yet experienced something like that but next semester my plans include...

  • Though I don’t have first hand experience in that, I did learn a lot about that from a classmate/mentor/friend who…

  • I am afraid my experience is a little different than what your question is asking about but let me tell you about a similar situation.


Additional Interview help:

Command Your Brand: Acing the Interview

Career Lab: Walk in hours, Monday - Friday, 10 am - 3 pm

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careercenter@lehigh.edu

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