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:

  • Give me an example of a time when you ______. (Fill in the blank with what the job requires, hat the interviewer is evaluating you for. Possible fill-ins are: handled a crisis; dealt with a conflict; handled a stressful situation; made a mistake or failed at something; had to become an expert at something quickly; had to influence people who did not report to you; implemented an idea; managed a large-scale project; solved a problem; implemented a creative solution; took a risk; worked on a team; accomplished something against the odds …)
  • Tell me about yourself (in two minutes).
  • Why did you decide to get your MBA, and why did you choose to do it at this school?
  • What have you learned, or what’s your favorite course and why?
  • Describe a time you failed and what you learned from that failure.
  • What do you know about us, and why are you interested in working with us?
  • How does your experience/background relate to this job? Or, why are you the best candidate for this job. Or, why should we consider you for this role?
  • What would your former boss, coworkers, and staff tell me about you?
  • Everyone has developmental areas–what are yours?
  • What do you see yourself doing in three to five years?

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