How To Ace That Interview

How To Ace That Interview

If you are planning to enter the job market or change jobs, it is more than likely that you may be invited to attend a ‘behavioural interview’. Or you may simply be asked ‘behavioural’ type questions as part of a regular job interview.

What is a behavioural interview?


A behavioural interview usually includes typical questions such as “Tell us about yourself?”, “What are your strengths/weaknesses?” etc. but also includes questions known as ‘behavioural questions’.  These are questions that are asked to test whether you have the key competencies required to be successful, such as leadership, communication, planning ability, teamwork, accountability and resilience.

A behavioural question will ask the candidate for a specificexample of when and/or how they did something. The interviewer is looking for demonstration of competencies that are considered important in the job.  For example:

“Tell us about a time when…”

“Give us an example of...” 

“Describe a situation when...”


How do I answer such a question?

To have any chance of success in a behavioural interview, it is absolutely vital that you understand the correct way to answer these questions.  Behavioural questions require a response using a structure that we call ‘STAR’ method, with STAR standing for:

S = Situation (describe where you were and what the situation was)

T = Task (what did you have to do)

A = Actions (what actions and behaviours did you take)

R = Result (how did your actions help your team, boss, organisation) 


How to prepare?

For any interview, I suggest you read the position description very carefully and get an in-depth understanding of the key competencies (also called key selection criteria) required for the role.  The next step is to brainstorm what examples you have from your paid or unpaid work that demonstrate these competencies.  Then describe your example using STAR as a basic structure whilst trying to make it as natural as can be (it does take practice!).

If you can go into the interview with a good idea of the examples you are going to use for each competency, then you are going to be streets ahead of other candidates who are not so well prepared.


Once you have finished answering behavioural questions the panel usually allows some time for you to also ask some questions of them.  Ideally, you wish to have at least 2-3 open questions to ask at the end of the interview, that will turn the interview from ‘interrogation’ into ‘conversation’.  This will allow you to build rapport, relax and finish off on a high.

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Leah Lambart, Relaunch Me, provides one-on-one interview coaching both face-to-face in Malvern, Victoria, or via Skype / Phone.  If you need help preparing for your next interview, contact Leah at a free 15-minute clarity call, which is a free chat to clarify what you need and to work out if I am the best person to help you.


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