BlogJob Interviews25+ Behavioral Interview Questions Recruiters Ask [w/ Answers]

25+ Behavioral Interview Questions Recruiters Ask [w/ Answers]

behavioral interview question

Behavioral interview questions are an integral part of the hiring process. The answers give recruiters insight into job seekers’ personalities and show how a candidate might behave in the workplace and how well they might fit within a company.

In this article, we’ll explore the behavioral questions recruiters most commonly ask candidates. You’ll learn the intent behind each question, and then we’ll provide sample answers to help you formulate your own and tailor them to your needs and circumstances. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Key Takeaways

  • Behavioral interview questions examine how candidates act in specific situations.

  • The main focus of these questions is the individual’s soft skills.

  • Recruiters ask behavioral questions to predict a job hunter’s future results based on their past performance.

  • The best method for answering these questions is the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

  • There are many types of behavioral questions, such as teamwork, communication, time management, adaptability, leadership, and ethics ones.

What Are Behavioral Interview Questions?

Behavioral interview questions are focused on determining how a candidate behaves in specific situations. When coming up with behavioral interview questions to ask candidates, recruiters generally focus on the candidate’s soft skills, unlike more technical questions that prioritize hard skills.

For instance, a recruiter might ask a candidate to describe the instances when they used their problem-solving or communication skills to remedy an issue or achieve success. These questions are vital in helping potential employers get a complete picture of a person beyond their technical prowess.

Soft skills are an invaluable part of anyone’s set of competencies, and the surveys show that as much as 92% of employers value them as much, if not more, than hard skills. That’s why answering behavioral interview questions in an optimal way is essential to having a successful interview.

Why Do Recruiters Ask Behavioral Interview Questions?

Recruiters ask behavioral interview questions to learn how job hunters handled difficult scenarios in the past. By analyzing a candidate’s past performance, recruiters can then make predictions about their future results.

How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

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You should answer behavioral interview questions in a concise, precise, and impactful manner. Like most other interview questions, behavioral ones are designed to explore specific skills and competencies and study your past experiences, which is why your answers need to showcase them optimally.

When coming up with an answer, you want to examine relevant situations from your past jobs. Focus on instances when you’ve used appropriate skills to overcome challenges, cooperate with others, and achieve common goals.

Furthermore, you want to ensure that your answers closely match the job description and the values of the company you’re applying to. For instance, when answering behavioral questions for customer service jobs, you’ll want to put emphasis on your communication, patience, and problem-solving skills.

To make your answers as impactful as possible, you want to highlight the results. They are the most important, as they show the outcomes that came from your actions. This illustrates how your skills and qualifications can contribute to the organization that you’re applying to.

Ultimately, your answers should be brief, but they need to paint a colorful picture of your competence. One of the best ways to achieve that and answer behavioral interview questions is with the STAR method, so let’s find out how you can use it optimally.

What Is the STAR Method?

The STAR method is a structured answering technique used to tackle interview questions. It’s an abbreviation that outlines four clear-cut steps you should take to ensure that your answers are to the point while giving recruiters all the necessary information.

The four steps of the STAR method are as follows:

STAR Method

  • Situation. Start your answer by describing the situation that you found yourself in, providing recruiters with the context within which you were acting.

  • Task. Explain the tasks you were supposed to carry out and the responsibilities that were placed upon you in that situation.

  • Action. Outline the specific actions that you took to solve the problem, remedy the situation, or otherwise reach a required goal.

  • Result. Capitalize on the scene that you’ve set by describing the exact outcome of your actions. Highlight the distinct results, point out the positive impact that your efforts had on the company, and underline any positive feedback you’ve gotten or lessons learned.

Teamwork Behavioral Interview Questions

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Let’s start with a list of behavioral interview questions designed to examine your teamwork capabilities.

#1. Was there a communication-related situation within the team that you wish you had handled differently?

With this teamwork interview question, the recruiters want to find out about your teamwork-related communication skills and discover how capable you are of learning from past experiences. Your answer will show them how you handle interpersonal mishaps and whether you work on improving relationships.

Here’s an example:

Good Answer

“In my previous role, I participated in a heated meeting, after which I realized I’d been partly dismissive of some of the solid ideas that a colleague presented. After carefully considering them, I contacted the colleague to apologize and ask for their input. This improved our relationship, and the solutions we came up with significantly contributed to the project.”

#2. How do you handle a difficult coworker?

The purpose of this question is to help recruiters find out how candidates deal with conflict and unforeseen interpersonal challenges in the workplace. Your answer should highlight your professionalism and emphasize your collaboration skills.

Let’s see that in an example:

Good Answer

“I once collaborated with a rather assertive colleague on a complex project. After several meetings resulted in conflicts, I took the time to revise my approach and try to understand their point of view better. Then, I invited the colleague for a private conversation where we cleared up our misunderstandings and continued communicating much more clearly and successfully.”

#3. What do you do in a situation when a coworker is unresponsive?

By asking this question, recruiters want to understand how you manage projects, stay on track, and keep everyone accountable when a potential communication barrier occurs. When answering it, you should point out your problem-solving and organization skills.

Here’s a solid example:

Good Answer

“I was in a situation where the deadline was approaching, and one of my coworkers was unresponsive. I gave them the benefit of the doubt before following up with a polite email reminder. Since they still weren’t responding, I messaged the project manager and collaborated with them on reorganizing tasks and assignments to keep everything on track until the coworker responded.”

#4. Tell me about a time when you worked with someone who was completely different from you.

This question gives recruiters insight into your flexibility and adaptability in the workplace. Your answer will tell them how well you work with diverse teams and how good you are at leveraging your unique skill set to contribute to a common goal.

Check out the example of an answer:

Good Answer

“At my previous job, I was paired with a colleague whose approach was vastly different from mine. I am used to planning out the steps and the timeline before starting the project, while they were action-oriented and preferred to solve problems, and they appeared. To bridge these differences, I proposed regular meetings and daily check-ins where we optimally split up tasks among each other while maintaining clear communication. This resulted in a streamlined process and allowed me to learn more from their approach to doing tasks.”

Communication Behavioral Interview Questions

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Here’s a collection of behavioral interview questions and answers that revolve around communication skills:

#1. Tell me about a time when you had to deliver bad news.

Recruiters ask these questions to see how candidates handle communicating sensitive information. When answering, you want to demonstrate traits like tact and empathy to show that you can maintain professionalism and composure when necessary.

Here’s an example of an answer:

Good Answer

“I once had to inform a client that we would miss the deadline for one of their projects due to unforeseen circumstances. To prepare, I gathered all the necessary information that would help me clarify the situation. I arranged a face-to-face meeting to provide the client with a satisfactory and personal experience. I approached the issue with transparency while offering the client a clear and actionable plan with a new and attainable deadline. The client appreciated our honesty and followed through with the project.”

#2. Provide me with an example of a time when you had to change someone’s view.

This question revolves around persuasion as a method of leveraging your communication skills to influence others and drive their decision-making. It shows how good you are at conveying your ideas and how well you can negotiate your point of view to change the opinions of others.

Let’s see what an answer can look like:

Good Answer

“In my previous role, I spearheaded the implementation of a software project management tool that was bound to improve the team’s efficiency. This initiative was met with initial resistance since coworkers were accustomed to a different method. I organized a team meeting where I demonstrated the capabilities of the software, addressing everyone’s concerns and highlighting the tool’s benefits. This resulted in a perspective shift and unanimous adoption.”

#3. What do you do when you need to cooperate with a person who doesn’t have great communication skills?

This behavioral interview question helps recruiters understand how good you are at collaborating when there are communication challenges in the team. A solid answer should highlight your patience, adaptability, and problem-solving skills.

Here’s an example:

Good Answer

“I once had to collaborate with an entry-level candidate from another team who had less refined communication skills and wasn’t entirely familiar with our organization’s highly technical language. I took the time to address all of their questions and used simple language to explain complex concepts until they obtained the necessary knowledge and confidence to communicate at a regular pace for the company.”

#4. What would you do if you realized you had misunderstood the task that was given to you?

The goal of this question is to examine your accountability and problem-solving skills when facing your mistakes. Your answer should show that you own up to your actions but also know how to rectify the missteps and communicate the situation properly.

Let’s see an example of an answer:

Good Answer

“At the beginning of my previous project, I misunderstood the plan and started working on the wrong tasks. After realizing my mistake, I contacted the project manager for clarification, pointing out the time lost due to my misjudgment. We quickly addressed the issue and came up with an optimal approach that would help me get up to speed quickly while minimizing the negative impact it had on the project.”

#5. How do you respond to negative feedback?

This question tests the candidate’s resilience and flexibility. When answering it, you should highlight that you’re always open to constructive criticism and that you take every opportunity to learn.

Check that out in an example:

Good Answer

“As an intern at the previous company, I received unfavorable feedback after giving a presentation. I saw the opportunity to improve, asked my mentor for advice, and promptly enrolled in a workshop to improve my presentation and public speaking skills. After several weeks of work and practice, I delivered another presentation with overwhelmingly positive reviews. The experience further helped me understand the value of constructive criticism.”

Time Management Behavioral Interview Questions

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Now, let’s check out the most common time management behavioral interview questions for freshers and senior professionals alike.

#1. How do you handle project delays?

An answer to this question shows recruiters how you tackle unexpected challenges that impact the project’s timeline. Therefore, you want to showcase that you’re adept at lowering risks and mitigating damage.

Here’s an example:

Good Answer

“We faced supplier delays during one of my previous projects. I assessed the impact this would have on the project’s timeline and determined it would be best to contact an alternative supplier. Swift action minimized the time lost, and task reallocation helped us get up to speed. We revised a risk management plan to address any further challenges and, ultimately, met the deadline.”

#2. How do you act when your responsibilities start to overwhelm you?

This question probes into your capability to work under pressure and manage your tasks effectively. Your answer should describe a strategy you use to handle stress and organize yourself.

Here’s a good example:

Good Answer

“Toward the end of my previous project, I found myself overwhelmed with a number of tasks, which caused a drop in my productivity. I took a step back, assessed the situation, and reevaluated the priorities. That helped me sort all the tasks based on their impact and urgency. I created a timeline and used a checklist to stay on track, quickly returning to my standard operating efficiency.”

#3. Tell me about a situation where it was hard for you to prioritize tasks.

An answer to this behavioral interview question tells recruiters about your prioritization and decision-making processes. That’s why you should give them a concrete situation where you optimally organized yourself and operated at maximum efficiency.

Let’s see that in an example:

Good Answer

“In a previous company, I usually managed multiple large-scale projects simultaneously, which often led to similar deadlines. In these instances, I used the Eisenhower priority matrices to evaluate and categorize the tasks. Daily meetings helped maintain focus and obtain invaluable input from the team while continuously reassessing priorities and ensuring we’re utilizing everyone’s key strengths in the best way possible.”

#4. Tell me about a time when you set a goal for yourself, how did you achieve it?

Goal-setting is a valuable skill in the professional world. Your answer to this question should highlight your ability to focus and see the work through while also emphasizing your drive and discipline.

Here’s an example of an answer:

Good Answer

“At the start of my last job, I gave myself the goal of becoming adept at the state-of-the-art software the company just introduced into their workflow. I used online resources and practiced regularly to reach my goal. By the end of the third month, I wasn’t just competent at using the software, but I also assisted in training others to improve the team’s efficiency.”

#5. How did you keep a long-term project on track? 

This is one of the most common behavioral interview questions for managers, as it explores their ability to maintain consistent progress and motivation over a long period of time. When answering, you should focus on your organization and planning skills.

Check out the following example:

Good Answer

“The last project I managed at my previous company was over a year, for which I developed a detailed timeline with outlined short-term and long-term goals. Through clear communication with interdisciplinary teams and stakeholders, I kept everyone in the loop and was able to address any issues promptly. This ensured we met the deadline and completed the project under budget.”

Adaptability Behavioral Interview Questions

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Here are some typical behavioral interview questions that focus on your adaptability in the workplace.

#1. Tell me about how you adapted to your new responsibilities in the first job position you held.

Answering this question tells recruiters how well you transition to new roles and how quickly you will integrate into their team. You can use this opportunity to emphasize your ability to handle change and learn quickly.

Here’s a good answer:

Good Answer

“At my first job, I was tasked both with managing clients and overseeing projects. Before becoming overwhelmed, I decided to shadow a senior manager for a day and adapt their workflow to fit my situation. This proactive approach resulted in positive feedback from upper management, and I quickly got up to speed with my tasks.”

#2. Tell me about a time when you had to learn new skills in a short period of time. What was the outcome?

This question probes into your upskilling capabilities, your commitment to continuous learning, and your ability to respond well to challenges.

Here’s how you can answer optimally:

Good Answer

“At one point, my previous company introduced new CRM software that I had two weeks to learn before implementation. I assessed my current tasks to prioritize learning and signed up for the software provider's workshop. That helped me meet the deadline and then assist other team members in polishing their proficiency in the software.”

#3. How did you adapt to working under pressure?

With this question, recruiters want to find out how well you perform in demanding environments, particularly in high-stakes, fast-paced jobs. With your answer, you want to show that you’re up to the task and that your performance doesn’t drop.

Here’s an example:

Good Answer

“A week before my last project’s deadline, I was under a lot of pressure handling multiple assignments while simultaneously organizing team members. I took a step back to structure my entire week for maximum efficiency, sort my tasks based on urgency, and delegate work to utilize each coworker’s key strengths. This level-headed approach resulted in a successful delivery and a stellar performance review.”

#4. How did you handle a big obstacle that prevented you from completing a goal?

An answer to this behavioral interview question tells recruiters about your perseverance and problem-solving skills.

Here’s how you can respond:

Good Answer

“Due to shipping delays, our main supplier couldn’t deliver key components on time for a project that was swiftly approaching a deadline. I immediately performed a cost-to-benefit analysis of switching to an alternative provider and using their expedited shipping feature. While this option was more expensive, the delay was minimal. This helped us meet the original deadline without compromising quality while still being profitable.”

#5. Tell me about a situation where you had to come up with a solution to a problem as quickly as possible.

Recruiters ask this question to evaluate your quick thinking and decision-making abilities in critical situations when there’s pressure and a need for immediate action. These skills are crucial in fast-paced and volatile environments.

Here’s a good way to answer:

Good Answer

“During one of the large-scale events I organized for a client, the main caterer canceled at the last minute. I immediately contacted alternative providers set as a backup during the initial planning, securing the necessary caterers within a couple of hours. The event proceeded as planned with none of the guests noticing any issues or differences.”

Leadership Behavioral Interview Questions

recruiter resume

While leadership skills are crucial for high-level positions, they can be just as important for many other roles. Here are some of the most common behavioral interview questions about leadership.

#1. How do you approach task delegation?

With this leadership interview question, recruiters seek to learn about your leadership style and how you manage teams, resources, and responsibilities. A good answer would emphasize your ability to play to the strengths of individual team members and delegate tasks to them based on the project's needs.

Here’s an example:

Good Answer

“At my last job, I was in charge of a large-scale project and a multidisciplinary team. I approached the task by analyzing the project and the team to understand every member’s key strengths. I then delegated tasks based on each coworker's individual ability while regularly checking in on them and gathering feedback to adjust as needed.”

#2. Tell me about a time when you had to build credibility with stakeholders.

Establishing rapport and building trust with stakeholders is a vital leadership skill.

Here’s how you can emphasize this ability in an answer:

Good Answer

“I once took over a project in the middle of its lifecycle and had to quickly build credibility with a skeptical stakeholder after the previous project manager quit. Through a series of meetings, I presented my proven track record and then gave them a structured plan with clear and attainable steps. Following that, I kept communicating small wins to reassure stakeholders until the project was completed successfully.”

#3. Tell me about a situation when an employee refused to complete the task you had given them.

An answer to this question should showcase how you handle conflict in addition to highlighting your leadership competence.

Here’s a good example: 

Good Answer

“I once had an employee refuse to do the task assigned to them, so I contacted them for a private meeting. I found out they felt the tasks were outside their expertise. After addressing their concerns, I pointed out how the assignments fit into their career goals and how I was there to offer any support and training necessary. The issue was promptly resolved, and the employee advanced their career further.”

#4. Describe a situation when an employee came to you with concerns.

This behavioral interview question is designed to examine your openness as a leader. It shows recruiters how responsive you are to other people’s input and whether you’re good at fostering a positive work environment.

Here’s an example of a good answer:

Good Answer

“A team member once approached me with concerns regarding the project direction and how it affected their work-life balance. We reviewed their tasks and workload together to rebalance the team and find a more optimal solution. This prompted me to initiate a team-wide meeting and reassess everyone’s assignments to create a more balanced approach, ultimately contributing to a boost in overall morale.”

#5. Describe a time when you had to step up and show your leadership skills.

Recruiters ask this question to see whether you’re a proactive leader who can take the initiative when necessary and pilot their team through challenging times.

Here’s a solid example:

Good Answer

“During the final stages of one of my previous projects, our team leader had to take an unexpected leave. As I was on the project since its inception, I stepped up as the main coordinator. I held daily stand-ups, ensured that the team was aligned, and kept communication going with the stakeholders. My proactive approach to leadership resulted in a successful project completion and a promotion.”

Ethics Behavioral Interview Questions

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Finally, let’s check out some of the most common behavioral interview questions regarding a candidate’s ethics.

#1. Describe a situation where coworkers broke the policies of your organization.

This question gauges a candidate’s ability to adhere to the company’s policies and to respond adequately when faced with unethical activities.

Here’s a good answer:

Good Answer

“At one point, I noticed a colleague bypassing the company’s policy to expedite resource procurement processes. I had an informal talk with them to discuss the situation with them and try to remedy it, but they continued with their actions. That’s when I informed the supervisor, who took the necessary steps. Ultimately, we had a meeting where we reviewed and reinforced the company’s policies to emphasize their importance.”

#2. Describe a situation when you had to be dishonest.

This question explores your ethical boundaries and honesty but also whether you take accountability for your actions. The key is to answer sincerely and point out what you’ve learned from the situation.

Let’s see that in an example:

Good Answer

“This is a challenging question because honesty in business is paramount to me. At one point, a client’s misinterpretation of our message temporarily put us in a favorable light with other customers. While our business experienced a temporary boost, I felt uncomfortable with this misunderstanding, so I scheduled another meeting soon after to clarify the information. This resulted in an improved relationship with the client based on trust and communication.”

#3. Describe a time when you had to follow something you did not agree with.

When asking this, recruiters want to see your ability to handle disagreement with authority while remaining professional and responsible.

Here’s an example of a good answer:

Good Answer

“At my last job, I was tasked with carrying out a sales strategy that I believed wasn’t in our client’s best interest. I expressed my concerns and offered an alternative solution, but the decision was made to go with the original plan. I executed the strategy to the best of my ability while gathering data to present my case again in the future, ultimately leading to an adjustment that proved beneficial to all parties.”

Closing Thoughts

Behavioral interview questions play a crucial role in the hiring process. They give recruiters invaluable insight into your temperament and interpersonal skills.

The good thing is that, while there are a lot of these questions, they are rather similar, regardless of the job that you’re applying for. For instance, many behavioral interview questions for software developers will be the same for project managers or architects.

Being prepared for them can significantly improve your chances of progressing to the later stages of the interview process and, ultimately, getting the job that you’re after. Best of luck!

Sheila Kravitz
Sheila Kravitz
Content Writer & Head Editor
By day, Sheila Kravitz writes stellar content and works as a head editor. At night, she spends her time winning at trivia nights or playing Dungeons & Dragons with her friends. Whether she’s writing or editing, she gives her maximum effort and ensures no error gets past her watchful eyes. When she’s doing none of the above, Sheila likes to spend time with her cats and her partner, endlessly watching crime documentaries on Netflix.

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