This is simple, heard by almost all recruiters, but known to few and rarely practiced.
Let me start with what is Behavior Event Interviewing?
BEI can be one of the most reliable tools in predicting an applicant’s future on-the-job performance.
The theory of behavior event interviewing (BEI) is simple. It considers the best way for an organization to predict an individual's future behavior and performance. It is to have the individual talk about their past competencies, behavior and performance which helps interviewer to predict the future. There are additional benefits to both the organization and the individual.
This interview style is based on the belief that hypothetical responses – which are what most people give and what most interviewers ask for - do not predict how a person will act in a future situation. In fact, most of the time the answers an interviewee provides are what they believe the interviewer wants to hear.
The additional benefits BEIs provide are the opportunities for HR departments and interview panels to use a standardized assessment method to measure the responses and qualifications of their prospects. Employers need to hire the candidate who has the best skills for the job. Being measurable is increasingly important as it provides consistent, quantifiable proof that the best candidate has been chosen and that the final decision is defendable. The root of a BEI is therefore in the development and the delivery of standardized questions which allows each individual being interviewed to be measured based on their own responses.
What are your responsibilities... if you are interviewing or are part of a panel?
Prior to the interview, all the questions should be designed and (if you are part of a small panel), agreed upon. Each question should have a specific purpose to measure a pre-identified, desirable behavior and competency that is in line with the job deliverables. It should go without saying that BEI questions are open-ended questions. BEI questions should be designed in such a way that they evoke responses that are based within the interviewees’ own personal experiences and abilities, and hopefully the interviewee will offer concrete examples of their past achievements .
The interviewers must also review and agree upon the measurement form they will use during the interviews to take notes and measure each interviewee. Once all interviews are conducted, you can predict candidate's performance against job deliverables . You can design a form based on your office's requirement, however, a sample of a very simple form is as follows.
Name of Interviewee _______________________ Position _________________________
Names of Interviewers 1. _______________________ 2. __________________________
Names of Interviewers 3. _______________________ 4. __________________________
Names of Interviewers 1. _______________________ 2. __________________________
Names of Interviewers 3. _______________________ 4. __________________________
1 2 3 4 5
Notes (Strengths / Weaknesses)
During a behavioral interview, and interviewee should be informed their responses should be in relation to their own real life events. I recommend this as much a courtesy as well as a time saver for the interviewers. An interviewer may to need to guide personal responses at first as by nature, many of us commonly downplay our own achievements and offer credit to others or discuss the goals of ‘the team’. I find an interesting thing to watch for when interviewing someone who is new to BEI is to watch how well they implement new instruction.
What are your responsibilities... if you are being interviewed?
In behavior-based interviews, you need to be prepared to give specific examples of when you demonstrated particular behaviors or skills. You should describe in detail a particular event, project, or experience. You should elaborate on how you dealt with the situation, your feelings and observations about your feelings, what the outcome of the project were, and if appropriate what you learned from the experience. If it was a negative experience, describe what you learned from the negative experience. Your responses should also be relevant to your potential employer's industry and market whenever possible.
Focus on actual past behaviors rather than on hypothetical actions or hypothetical behavior. General answers about behavior are not important and will likely detract from your overall BEI measurement score. If you don't have an example, consider the skill they are looking for and suggest a solution, but tie your solution to your behavior in another situation. For example, if you don’t have leadership experiences at work discuss your leadership experience volunteering.
During the interview you want to impress the interviewers by providing brief, to-the-point answers that relate your skills and experience to their needs. Where possible, your answers should blend your knowledge of the organization.
Note that during a BEI interview, candidates that always refer to ‘we’ or ‘they’ or ‘I would’ demonstrate that they either do not listen to instruction, can not adjust to new environments, or even do not have the experience required.
Practice for the interview by addressing several questions most interviewers ask.
As you prepare for your interview, consider situations where you
- demonstrated leadership
- mentored someone
- solved a problem
- increased company profits
- made a good decision/made a poor decision
- worked through organizational change
- received criticism
- met a deadline/missed a deadline
- worked as part of a team
What do Behavior Event Interview questions look like?
Behavioral questions usually begin with a statement like: 'Tell me about a time when...' or 'Describe a situation where...'
The following are some examples of behavioral questions
- Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
- What did you do?
- Give an example of a time when you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
- Describe the system you use to keep track of multiple projects.
- Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge.
- What was the challenge?
- What was the outcome?
- What role did you play?
- What role did others play?
- Describe the most creative work-related project you have completed.
- Tell me about a situation where you worked with an upset customer or co-worker.
- Describe a difficult problem that you faced.
- How did you identify the problem?
- How did you go about trying to solve it?
===========another matter on the subject ============
Wayne State University
Behavioral Interview Techniques – The STAR Approach
Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to
accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized
description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail
for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job,
from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.
Action you tookDescribe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if
you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did -- not the
efforts of the team. Don't tell what you might do, tell what you did.
Results you achievedWhat happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What
did you learn?
Use examples from internships, classes and school projects, activities, team participation, community service,
hobbies and work experience -- anything really -- as examples of your past behavior. In addition, you may use
examples of special accomplishments, whether personal or professional, such as scoring the winning
touchdown, being elected president of your Greek organization, winning a prize for your artwork, surfing a big
wave, or raising money for charity. Wherever possible, quantify your results. Numbers always impress
Remember that many behavioral questions try to get at how you responded tonegative situations; you'll need
to have examples of negative experiences ready, but try to choose negative experiences that you made the
best of or -- better yet, those that had positive outcomes.
Here's a good way to prepare for behavior-based interviews:
•Identify six to eight examples from your past experience where you demonstrated top behaviors and
skills that employers typically seek. Think in terms of examples that will exploit your top selling points.
•Half your examples should be totally positive, such as accomplishments or meeting goals.
•The other half should be situations that started out negatively but either ended positively or you made
the best of the outcome.
•Vary your examples; don't take them all from just one area of your life.
•Use fairly recent examples. If you're a college student, examples from high school may be too long ago.
Accenture, in fact, specifies that candidates give examples of behaviors demonstrated within the last
•Try to describe examples in story form and/or PAR/SAR/STAR.
To cram for a behavioral interview right before you're interviewed, review your resume. Seeing your
achievements in print will jog your memory.
In the interview, listen carefully to each question, and pull an example out of your bag of tricks that provides an
appropriate description of how you demonstrated the desired behavior. With practice, you can learn to tailor a
relatively small set of examples to respond to a number of different behavioral questions.
Wayne State University
How to Behave in a Behavior-Based Interview
Lombardi, who earned a master's degree in industrial organizational psychology from West Chester
University, wrote his thesis on behavior-based interviewing. Now he's a college relations specialist at Kulicke &
Soffa Industries Inc., based in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, and he says his background has helped him
understand an interviewing technique that has become increasingly popular and, according to both his
research and popular opinion, more effective than traditional techniques.
"It seemed like the more structure and the more thought that was put into an interview, the better it
was," he says.
Lombardi says behavior-based questions are generally designed to determine if a candidate possesses
certain "key competencies."
"When I start any behavioral interview, I explain the process," Lombardi says. "I say, 'I'm going to be
asking you for specific examples. I will be asking you for details, including names of people, dates, and
outcomes.' I really like talking to people about lengthy projects they've had to do--how their role evolved, how
they handled time deadlines, pressures, and unexpected situations, and especially how they handled any
adversity...Everyone's got that kind of experience."
Lombardi says that the best way for students and new graduates to prepare for a behavior-based
interview is to dig up old research papers, to think hard about any difficulties encountered in summer and parttime
jobs, and to recount the steps it took to successfully complete school projects and projects that were part
of internships or co-ops.
"What I would recommend is for them to just kind of think through situations that have occurred, projects
they've worked on, specific experiences they've had," he says. "They should be able to talk about that in detail
and be very specific. They should reread that term paper...A lot of it is just common sense."
Following is a list of typical behavior-based questions, courtesy of Lombardi andThe Ultimate Job Search
Kitby Damir Joseph Stimac. Competencies sought by the interviewer are listed in parentheses:
1. Describe a situation in which you had to use reference materials to write a research paper. What was
the topic? What journals did you read? (research/written communication)
2. Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker or classmate criticized your work in front of
others. How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others? (oral
3. Give me a specific example of a time when you sold your supervisor or professor on an idea or
concept. How did you proceed? What was the result? (assertiveness)
4. Describe the system you use for keeping track of multiple projects. How do you track your progress so
that you can meet deadlines? How do you stay focused? (commitment to task)
5. Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company or
class was facing. What was the challenge? What role did others play? (creativity and imagination)
6. Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer or professor. How did you approach the
problem? What role did others play? What was the outcome? (decision making)
7. Describe a time when you got co-workers or classmates who dislike each other to work together. How
did you accomplish this? What was the outcome? (teamwork)
8. Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you fail to do? What were the
repercussions? What did you learn? (time management)
9. Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker or classmate understand a task.
How did you assist them? What was the result? (flexibility)
10. Describe two specific goals you set for yourself and how successful you were in meeting them. What
factors led to your success in meeting your goals? (goal setting)
Wayne State University
How do I prepare for a behavioral interview?
Companies that employ behavioral interviewing have predetermined the skill sets they require
for a particular position. These skill sets could include: decision making and problem solving,
leadership, motivation, communication, interpersonal skills, planning and organization, critical
thinking skills, team building and the ability to influence others. The company determines the
skill sets by doing a detailed analysis of the position they are seeking to fill. Job seekers also
must go through this same process. To conduct a job analysis the job seeker should ask
questions such as:
1. What are the necessary skills to do this job?
2. What makes a successful candidate?
3. What would make an unsuccessful candidate?
4. Why have people left this position previously?
5. What is the most difficult part of this job?
Once you have landed the interview, keep in mind the following points.
Be detailed and specific. You should have developed three stories that illustrate your past
performance. Remember that the interviewer will be operating under the premise that "past
performance in a similar setting is the best predictor of future performance."
The best way to accomplish this is to use the three-step STAR process or
1. Situation or Task
3. Result or outcome
For example, you might recount a time when communication within your work group had broken
down (situation). To resolve the problem, you organized informal lunch meetings for people to
discuss relevant issues (action). Morale then improved, as did the lines of communication
(result). Using this three step STAR process is a powerful way for you to frame your
experiences and accomplishments for the interviewer.
· Limit rambling and tangents. While you can't control what is asked, you can control what you
· Listen carefully to each question. If you are unsure, rephrase the question and ask for
clarification. When you respond, be sure to recall your past accomplishments in detail.
· Practice your behavioral stories using real-life examples. It is very difficult to make up
behavioral stories, which is why behavioral interviewing is becoming more popular. By
practicing, you will be able to recall with confidence your past accomplishments.
•Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker critized your work in front of others. How did
you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others?
•How do you ensure that someone understands what you are saying?
•Tell me about a time when you had to present complex information.
Wayne State University
•Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication skills in order to get across an
•Give me an example of a time you had to make a difficult decision.
•Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer. How did you approach the problem? What
role did others play? What was the outcome?
•Give me an example of when taking your time to make a decision paid off.
•What did you do to prepare for this interview?
•Give me an example of a situation that could not have happened successfully without you being there.
Planning and Organization
•Describe a situation when you had many projects due at the same time. What steps did you take to get
them all done?
•How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time? Give me an example.
•Describe a time where you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
•Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker understand a task. How did you
assist them? What was the result?
•Tell me about a time when you influenced the outcome of a project by taking a leadership role.
•Give me an example of when you involved others in making a decision.
•Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you fail to do? What were the
repercussions? What did you learn?
•Tell me about a time when you were particularly effective on prioritizing tasks and completing a project
================another matter on the subject============
Copyright © 2002 by BellSouth
All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.
AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
BellSouth will consider requests for testing accommodations from individuals covered by the Americans
with Disabilities Act. Documentation of the need for the accommodation may be required.
BEI 2 July ‘02
BEHAVIORAL EVENT INTERVIEW
What is a Behavioral Interview?
As part of BellSouth’s Consumer Services hiring process, you will participate in what is called a
behavioral interview. A behavioral interview is a structured interview that is used to collect
information about past behavior. Because past performance is a predictor of future behavior, a
behavioral interview attempts to uncover your past performance by asking open-ended questions.
Each question helps the interviewer learn about your past performance in a key skill area that is
critical to success in the position for which you are interviewing. The interview will be conducted
face-to-face whenever possible.
Using the STAR Technique
In a behavioral interview, the interviewer will ask questions about your past experiences. A useful
way to prepare for this style of questioning is to use the STAR technique. The STAR technique is a
way to frame the answers to each question in an organized manner that will give the interviewer the
most information about your past experience. As you prepare to answer each question, consider
organizing your response by answering each of the following components of the STAR technique:
What was theSituation in which you were involved?
What was theTask you needed to accomplish?
WhatAction(s) did you take?
WhatResults did you achieve?
What’s the best way to stay relaxed and calm during an interview? Beprepared. Here are some tips:
•= Research the business unit or department.
= Become familiar with the products, services, structure, competitors, reputation, and any recent
=Review the job description to understand the skills required.
•= Do “research” on yourself as well.
=Know why you want the job.
=Review your resume.
= Identify transferable skills, key accomplishments, work style, and personal and professional
strengths. Remind yourself of specific experiences that exemplify these skills and strengths.
= Be able to express the unique marketable skills you have to offer.
•= Prepare a list of four or five questions about the department or position.
•= Get a good nights’ rest.
•= Know the exact place and time of the meeting.
•= Allow plenty of time to get to the interview and plan to arrive early.
BEI 3 July ‘02
•= Listen carefully, and feel free to ask for clarification before answering a question.
•= Take a moment to formulate your answers before you speak.
•= Project energy and enthusiasm.
•= Be honest while focusing on communicating your professional achievements.
•= Bring extra resumes, a notepad, and a pen.
•= Be polite to everyone you meet at the interview.
•= Do not chew gum, swear, or use slang.
•= Thank the interviewer for their time. Within a day, send a written thank you note via e-mail or
•= If the interview is face-to-face:
=Look your professional best.
= Be conservative in your use of fragrance, cosmetics, and jewelry.
=Make eye contact with the interviewer.
= Be aware of the interviewer’s body language and other non-verbal cues.
Sample Behavioral Interview Questions
Need more help? Here’s a list of some sample behavioral interview questions*:
•= Tell me about a time when you were on a team, and one of the members wasn’t doing his or her
•= Tell me about a time when you felt a need to update your skills or knowledge in order to keep up
with the changes in technology. How did you approach that?
•= Describe a time when a customer got angry with you. How did you react? How did you resolve the
•= Please give me an example of a time when you took the initiative to improve a specific work
•= Give me an example of a time when you surpassed a customer’s expectations.
•= Tell me about a time when a customer requested special treatment that was out of the scope of
normal procedures. What was the situation and how did you handle it?
•= Describe a time when you had to use logic and good judgement to solve a problem.
•= Tell me about a time when you had to cope with a stressful situation.
•= Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.
•= Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
•= Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker understand a task. How did
you assist them? What was the result?
*Please note that questions included in this interview guide are not used in BellSouth’s interview
process. Doing well on the sample questions does not guarantee successful performance in any
Also read this from other Internet sources:
BEI Interview questions: http://www.executiveboard.com/exbd-resources/pdf/careers/BehavioralQuestions.pdf
Please note that the content above is combination of my work, books by other authors and Internet sources used while doing research.