Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

This section covers commonly asked and expert level Behavioral Interview questions and answers. You can also find interesting examples and sample answers with each question.

Who are these Behavioral Interview Questions useful for?

These Interview questions and tips will be useful to all fresh and experienced candidates interviewing for the role of Software Engineer, Data Scientist, Project Manager, Recruiter, Physician etc. The examples and sample answers with each question will make it easier for candidates to answer them effectively with a right approach.
Behavioral Interview questions are asked at interviews to assess your personality and your ways through the things that have happened with you in the past.

Usually you would find these questions mixed up with your regular HR Interview questions. But, knowing that this particular question is trying to assess your behavior, allows you to handle it better.

You would generally find these questions in almost every interview irrespective of your level of seniority.

Some tips to help you sail through the process:

i.) These questions will mostly try to find out, what did you do in the specified situation.

ii.) Don't tell what your team did. Tell what you did in that situation.The interviewer is interested in finding out about you. So, select the examples carefully.

iii.) Be prepared with the examples. If you don't anticipate the questions and prepare yourself, you'll find it very hard to get the right examples on the spot.

iv.) Preparation would also allow you to see which details you want to give out and which not.

v.) The behavioral questions will try to judge you on parameters that are essential for the job like:

  • Your communication skills
  • Customer Service
  • Ability to solve problems
  • Negotiation skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Leadership
  • Customer Service
  • Ability to work under pressure etc.
vi.) Be aware of employer's requirements - Read through the job description and carry out online research.

vii.) Be prepared with the details - To establish the authenticity of your answers, they may drill down into the details. Expect this too and prepare yourself.

Video : Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers - For Freshers and Experienced

1. Tell us about a time when you made a mistake at work?

With this question, the characteristics of yours that are under test are:

  • Your ability to admit your mistake.
  • Your approach to solve it and not repeat it.
Admitting a mistake and talking about it needs a lot of maturity and guts. We all are human beings and each one of us can go wrong at some point of time. It is OK.Focus on correcting the mistake and not repeating it rather than bashing yourself. If need be, don't be ashamed of seeking help from a colleague or superior.

To answer this question - Pick up a situation, discuss the action you took, result you got and your learning.

In fact, this would be the approach to answer all the behavioral questions.

A sample answer to this question can be something like,

"Yes, there have been times when I have made my share of mistakes during my career. Once I was working on a software development project. At the end of the day, in a hurry to attend a meeting, I uploaded a wrong file for integration. The process could not be completed because of my file being wrong.

Since, we were working in different time zones, I realized my mistake the next day. The news had reached my manager. I apologized for not being careful and uploaded the correct file.

The incidence taught me the importance of being more careful."

2. Have you ever dealt with a tough boss?

One thing that is extremely important in the corporate world is don't judge someone based on other's opinion of them. You may listen to your colleague but take your own time to decide how the other person is. And, you need to do it all the more if it is your boss.

Before, you label your boss "tough" or "bad", be sure they actually are.

Let me give you my own example, to create a sample answer for this question.  Grab the gist and please feel free to alter it, as per your requirement

And, my answer would go something like this:

"I have had an opportunity to work with the MD of my company. Many other people who had worked with her prior to me called her to be a very difficult lady and a tougher boss.

However, when I started to work with her, initial some days were difficult as she would get irritated very soon. But, very soon I realized that she had a lot of things to pay attention to and preferred her subordinates to pick up the instructions the very first time,be organized and committed to their work while bringing some innovation and creativity with them. And, she really appreciated proactiveness.

On realizing this, I developed a habit of taking the notes of all the things to be done and any instructions she had. I also started giving my personal touch to each assignment given to me. I would often anticipate what she wanted next and had it ready. Soon, I realized that it is all that she had wanted.

The "tough" boss for everyone else has been the best mentor of my life. Today, I owe a lot of my ways and manners of working to her."

So, the simplest trick to deal with a tough boss is, identify what they want, stay one step ahead and most of the time you would find that you are sorted.

3. Have you ever fired anyone from the job?

Firing anyone from the job needs you to possess a lot of personal qualities. For e.g. It needs you to think reasonably and lawfully, be empathetic and at the same time it needs you to possess the guts to make a tough decision, if the need arises and communicate it.

If you have never fired someone, a sample answer to this can be something like, "Firing someone is a tough decision to make but after studying everything, if the decision is to be made in favor of the company, you have to make it.

I haven’t had to fire someone till date but I believe that if I have given them sufficient feedback about their work, an opportunity to improve and sufficient number of warnings & still they don’t improve their ways, I might have to take the tough call.

In such a case, I would follow the company’s policy and make the process as smooth as possible."

And, if you have made this kind of a decision in the past, talk about how you came to the decision, were there any emotions involved, how did you address them and implement the decision.

4. Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with an unreasonable demand from a customer?

Dealing with unreasonable demands from the customers is a tricky thing to do because while you want to do the business, you don’t want to annoy the customer.

In such a situation, it is better to understand where the customer is coming from, empathize with them and offer them an alternative or make some adjustments. You want to do your best to solve their problem.

However, it is also very important to know when you can really not bow down to their demands. But, in such cases as well, you have to be courteous and respectful to the customer as you don’t want to jeopardize the future business chances.  

A sample answer to this question can be something like,

"The company I work for has retail houses for electrical and electronic goods. A customer who wanted to buy a hair dryer chose a professional model and wanted it at the price of a mediocre one. It wasn’t possible for us to sell it at the price she was demanding it for.

While discussing, I explained her the difference between the two products and informed her about the reasons for difference in the price. This gave her the confidence about product’s performance. On further discussion, I realized that she was keen on buying the costlier product but was short of money as well. I informed her that we have a customer friendly policy which will allow her to make the payment in two parts.

She found the option suitable and at last left as a happy customer with the product of her choice."