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Behavioral interviews represent one of the most challenging formats that a job seeker ever encounters, because you're not being asked to give simple yes or no answers. Instead, the hiring manager will probe your attitudes toward aspects of the job, such as how well you work with others, based on scenarios that he raises. How adeptly you answer these questions will decide if a job offer is forthcoming, or you end up continuing the hunt.
Vacancies bring out applicants for all sorts of reasons that an employer may or may not consider appropriate. That's why you should expect a hiring manager to ask, "Why are you interested in this job?" The ideal response is to put a positive spin that's relevant to the position, "Forbes" magazine states. For example, you can stress a desire to make a major contribution in your new role. Failure to provide a clear answer, on the other hand, might suggest that you're grabbing any job that comes along.
Many behavioral interview questions are designed to probe a candidate's attitudes toward handling adverse situations that happen on the job. For example, you may be asked, "Tell me the last time that a co-worker or customer got mad at you." An astute interviewee will acknowledge the situation, followed by specific actions that he took to make things right, according to "Inc." magazine. Attempts to shift blame onto the other person, however, likely will set off alarm bells in a hiring manager's mind.
Today's workplace is an increasingly collaborative experience, so be prepared for a question or two about how you handle criticism from others, according to an overview posted by Tulsa Community College's Student Services Department. A candidate in this situation must prepare to put a positive spin on whatever issue he's faced in the past -- such as a complaint voiced against him to a supervisor -- followed by an explanation of how the experience helped him grow professionally.
Scenario-based questions are another common component of behavioral-based interviews. For example, a hiring manager might ask, "What would do during your first week on the job?" The idea is to determine how much homework you've done about the company, and whether you've thought about what you see yourself doing there, "Forbes" magazine says. A strong candidate should ask what kind of tools he needs to hit the ground running, while identifying a couple of key areas where he could contribute right away.
How well an applicant takes direction is the chief rationale for asking: "Tell me about a time when you knew you were right, but still had to follow guidelines." An outstanding candidate will affirm that he did what his supervisor asked, "Inc." magazine says, and waited for another time to raise concerns. By contrast, any admission of ignoring directions -- or carrying them out with a half-hearted or resentful attitude -- might be a potential red flag.
Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.
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