Preparing for a behavioral interview

How do you prepare for a behavioral interview?

“I recommend identifying 10-15 examples from your past experience in which you demonstrated top behaviors and skills that your research has indicated that your target employer seeks. “

Half of your examples should be positive (achieving goals) and the other half should be situations that started off negatively but that you made the best of the situation and/or turned it around.

You should use fairly recent examples if possible for most of the scenarios.

Write your example stories down and give them titles. These could include “handles change” or “difficult communication”.’

You don’t want to memorize the stories but writing them down will help you organize your thoughts. Practice answering difficult behavioral interview questions with a friend or a job search coach prior to your meeting.

Some sample practice questions include:

  • Describe a situation where you had to convey an organizational decision that was controversial to your management team, your staff, or to employees throughout the organization.
  • Tell us about a situation where you developed trust with other leaders in your organization.
  • Tell me about the most difficult or uncooperative person you had to work with lately. What did you do or say to resolve the situation? What was the outcome?
  • It has been said that one of the best ways to manage people is to teach them how to manage themselves. Tell me about a time when you contributed to a working group’s ability to direct itself by building group standards for performance.


  • Sarah Johnston

    I’m a former corporate recruiter and industry “insider” who got tired of seeing talented high-achievers get passed over for opportunities because they did not have the right marketing documents or know how to position themselves in interviews. I have relocated multiple times across the country as a “trailing spouse” and have had to execute job searches in completely cold markets (where I literally knew no one!) I have been named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space in 2019, HR Weekly’s Top 100 Most Influential People in HR, named the owner of the “best resume writing firm for experienced executives” by Balance Careers and a “top follow” by JobScan in 2019 and 2020.

Sarah Johnston

Sarah Johnston is a former corporate recruiter and industry "insider" with a passion for empowering high-achievers in their career journeys. Frustrated by talented individuals being overlooked due to ineffective marketing documents and interview strategies, Sarah made it her mission to equip professionals with the tools and knowledge to succeed. As a seasoned "trailing spouse" who relocated multiple times, she understands the challenges of executing job searches in unfamiliar markets. Sarah's expertise and impact have earned her recognition as a LinkedIn Top Voice in 2019 and a spot on HR Weekly's Top 100 Most Influential People in HR. Her resume writing firm has been acclaimed as the best for experienced executives by Balance Careers, while JobScan listed her as a top follow in 2019 and 2020.

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