Some positions you apply for require behavioural interviews. Behavioural interviews are usually conducted by behaviourists or psychologists. They are used when the organisation wishes to obtain and evaluate the individuals' competencies which are critical for success. The recall of past behaviours is used as a marker towards future behaviours.

Typical questioning style.
The underlying question is 'What is your approach to solving problems?
Question asked: 'Describe the toughest problem you have handled in the past year. How did you deal with it?'

  • Ensure you take a moment to think about a situation, a pause is acceptable, the pause indicates you are recalling a past situation. Don't make something up. Behaviourists can identify non truthful responses by your body language.
  • Try to assimilate your response to the key skills required for the position (check position description).
  • You are attesting to your capacity to apply previously learned strategies to future situations. Your objective is to convince your interviewer that you have competence in the skills or abilities they are assessing.

Competency-based questions

  • Influencing: 'Tell me about a situation where you had to change someone's opinion on something important. What did you say?'
  • Teamwork: 'Tell me about a time you worked in a team. How did you personally contribute?'
  • Problem solving: 'Describe the toughest problem you have handled recently. What steps did you take to overcome this challenge?'
  • Judgement: 'Give me an example of a good decision you made recently. How did you reach the decision? Were there any alternatives available?'


The key for any interview is to practice. Ensure you say your planned responses out aloud so they sound familiar when you say them at the interview.

It is also a good idea to write down some of your responses in preparation.