10 Behavioral Interview Questions (With Advantages)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published December 14, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When preparing to interview a job candidate, you may consider questions that involve specific situations and how the candidate used their skills and knowledge to manage them. Interviewers often ask these behavioral questions to determine how people act in certain situations. Learning what you can ask can help you conduct more effective job interviews and hire better candidates for your company. In this article, we explain what behavioral interview questions are, give 10 examples of these types of interview questions and review five advantages of asking them.

Related: How To Prepare for a Behavioral Interview

What are behavioral interview questions?

Behavioral interview questions focus on a candidate's experience in a variety of workplace situations. These questions allow the candidate to reveal elements of their personality, traits, abilities and behavior related to a workplace environment or professional setting. They often require candidates to reflect on specific events and situations where they relied on their behavioral traits to help them find a solution, which can demonstrate their skills, such as critical thinking or problem-solving. These questions can be about independent projects or team activities, and they let candidates analyze their behavior and explain what they might do differently.

Related: Common Behavioral Interview Questions (And How To Answer Them)

Why do employers ask behavioral interview questions?

Hiring managers usually ask behavioral interview questions to learn about a candidate's general demeanor and how they behave in the workplace. They also can be a strong indicator of if a candidate can succeed in a team or if they're more effective at working independently. A primary reason for asking behavioral interview questions is because the way someone behaved in a company previously often can show how they may behave in a new company.

For instance, by asking these questions, you can determine whether their behavior at their previous company or in another professional experience led them to success. If not, the candidate can explain how they learned from that situation and discuss their growth because of it. The answers can help you make the best choice when hiring for a position at your company or organization.

Related: How To Use the STAR Interview Response Technique

5 advantages of asking behavioral interview questions

There are several advantages of asking job candidates behavioral questions during interviews, including:

1. Acts as a quick way of getting to know someone

Traditional interview questions give you insight into who a candidate is professionally and what their work experience is, but behavioral interview questions allow you to gain insight about who someone is personally. By asking one or two behavioral questions, you can quickly get to know how someone thinks and responds to various situations. These interview questions can give you insight into a candidate's personality, skills, strengths and values.

Related: 7 Sample Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

2. Enables the candidate to consider their behavior

Asking behavioral interview questions also can enable a candidate to consider how they behaved in their past professional experience or role. During this time, it allows the candidate to reflect on experiences and determine how they'd respond to similar circumstances if they happen again at their new job. While they consider their answers, you can use that time to analyze how they're acting, such as if they're nervous or unsure or if they're taking a long time to answer. This can help you determine how well they respond under pressure and how quickly they may find solutions in the workplace.

3. Helps streamline the interview and hiring process

Once a candidate has answered a couple of behavioral questions, you can develop a strong understanding of who they are and whether you want to move them to the next part of the hiring process. You can ask them these questions instead of having them answer many questions that restate the information in their cover letter or resume. This can make the interviewing and hiring process more streamlined and time-efficient.

Related: 17 Behavioral Interview Questions on Leadership (With Sample Answers)

4. Provides customizable questions based on candidate

Behavioral interview questions are customizable based on your company or who you're interviewing. If you want to learn how a candidate handled a situation in which a client or customer was unhappy with their service, you can personalize your question to align with company culture or operations. For example, if your company specializes in selling shoes, you can ask them how they use their strengths to generate more sales. This can help you better determine how their personality fits with your company and how well they'd get along with their coworkers.

5. Allows candidates to expand on information

These questions can allow candidates to offer more details and information about their work experience than traditional interview questions. Instead of giving generalized "yes" or "no" responses, the candidate can share anecdotes or personal stories to answer behavioral questions. These questions can be more engaging, detailed and interactive than traditional interview questions, which can help you learn more about the candidate.

10 examples of behavioral interview questions

Reading examples of behavioral interview questions can help you recognize them and give you ideas on which ones you can ask in future interviews. Here are 10 example questions for reference:

  1. Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work. How did you fix it?

  2. Can you describe a time when you had to manage a challenging situation in the workplace?

  3. How do you typically work and stay calm under pressure?

  4. Can you give me an example of how you actively work to achieve your goals?

  5. Can you tell me a time when you had to make an unpopular decision and how you dealt with implementing it?

  6. Can you share an example of a time when you motivated or inspired a coworker?

  7. What's a goal you've set for yourself and achieved recently?

  8. Can you describe a situation you wish you handled differently at work?

  9. Have you had to collaborate with people who have different work processes than you? How did you handle this?

  10. Can you share an example of a time you didn't meet your own goals or your superior's expectations? How did you respond to this?

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