Frequently Asked Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral interviewing is still the most popular approach to assessing a candidate’s worth. Essentially, the premise is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. In my work as head of recruiting for a bank, consumer products company, and retail company, and in advising many recruiters while at Stanford, I have found these to be my favorite frequently asked questions across industries:
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What to Say When it’s Your Turn to Ask Questions in an Interview

Are recruiters just being polite when they ask if you have any questions for them? NO. Are there questions you can ask that don’t sound totally canned? YES.

Asking questions is a key part of the interview process. It shows the company how interested in it and its industry you really are. But there’s an artistry to not asking too many questions, or annoying ones, or … [ Read more ]

Acing the Interviews

Following are ten tips to help you be your best as you interview.

  1. Research the industry and company beforehand; over-prepare. Use every resource to your advantage: fellow students, professors, career-center resources, informational interviews with alumni of your school, the company’s recruitment literature and website, WetFeet’s Insider Guides, and databases and websites such as Lexus/Nexus, the U.S. Business Browser, and Hoovers.
  2. Know what you’re looking for,

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A Few Reminders

  • Preparation.  Know the company, your resume, and what key themes you want to convey about yourself.
  • Practice.  Conduct mock interviews, meet with industry colleagues, videotape your rehearsal and get feedback.
  • Mind your interviewing etiquette.  Be on time, and bring a resume even if the recruiter is supposed to have one. Don’t bring in large drinks

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Hear it through the grapevine

Do rely on your cohorts for information. If possible, find out who else interviewed with the organization so that you can keep each other in the loop as to when you’ve heard back from the recruiter(s). In general, communication at a given school should take place around the same time. Some companies will invite candidates back in waves, or in sequence (a company has a … [ Read more ]

Don’t take lack of communication from the organization as a bad sign

Some firms will get back to candidates the same night or within a few days. Others will need a few weeks or will stretch things out for more than a month. This doesn’t mean the firm is disinterested, disorganized, or planning to reject you. Keep your spirits up and your ego in check.

There could be many reasons why the company is taking longer … [ Read more ]

The Evaluation Process

Long story short, the recruiters who have interviewed candidates will need to compare notes, combine their feedback, and discuss who they think should be invited back for further interviews. Typically, the head of recruiting, or someone in HR, or the school team captain will facilitate some sort of process—formal or informal—of collecting all of the feedback on the candidates and making decisions on who to … [ Read more ]

Make the most of where you are in the interview schedule.

Some people go into an interview feeling hamstrung by the order of their interview. Many people think it’s better to interview towards the end of a group of candidates. Certainly, there are pros and cons for whatever position you draw, but the important takeaway is that you don’t always control the time you interview. If you are one of the first, try to make a … [ Read more ]

Interpreting the Signals

Be bold. If you sense some concern surrounding a particular issue, bring it out in the open. When it’s your turn to ask questions, and after you’ve asked a few of the more standard ones, say something like, “Are there any concerns or small question marks about my candidacy that I can have the chance to address before I leave?”

Most recruiters will appreciate your … [ Read more ]

What’s Being Evaluated

To make it above the watermark, you need to have done your research on your chosen company/industry and be prepared to talk about yourself and the content of your resume as well as why you want and are qualified for the job. You’ll want to connect with the interviewer, answering questions directly, succinctly, with thoughtfulness, substance, and authenticity. These are the minimum requirements.

If … [ Read more ]

Taxonomy of an Interview

A first-round interview typically has five distinct phases:

  1. Breaking the ice
  2. Asking questions of the candidate
  3. Probing or circling back to areas for more in-depth information
  4. Directing questions to the recruiter
  5. Following up and going over next steps—the close

Be sure to visualize and prepare for each phase, but not … [ Read more ]

Decoding the Interview and Evaluation Process

Here are some insights into the interviewing and evaluation process.