In Part 1 of this two-post series, I explained how behavioral interview questions come in two categories: general (soft skills) and occupation-specific (technical).
The latter are a little harder to find, but you need a good list of them to prepare for a successful interview. Here’s how to pull that list together.
Your Occupation-Specific Behavioral Interview Questions
Set yourself a goal of listing 25-50 behavioral interview questions specific to your occupation. I’m going to give you four methods of doing that.
Do a search like “behavioral interview questions customer success” or “behavioral interview questions mechanical engineer.” You’ll find questions that you’re very likely to be asked in your interviews. As you find occupation-specific questions, copy them into a document and keep it where you can easily find it.
If you’re lucky, you may find enough questions this way. If not, keep reading!
Your Past Interviews
If you’ve recently been interviewing for jobs, what behavioral questions do you remember being asked? Add these to your list. Can’t remember what was asked? In the future, take detailed notes immediately after every interview.
Your Hiring Experience—and/or Your Imagination
If you were interviewing someone for an opening in your occupation, what questions would you ask them? If you’ve never been involved in a hiring process, use your imagination to put yourself in an interviewer’s shoes. What would you want to know? Put that in the form of a question: “Tell me about how you have done X…”
And last but not absolutely not least:
Find about half a dozen detailed job postings for jobs you would be interested in applying to. Some great sites for finding postings are Indeed, LinkUp and LinkedIn. Since you’re just looking for examples, it may help to set your search to a very wide geographic area—say, statewide or nationwide—in order to get more results.
Once you have several detailed postings that are typical of your target role, go through them and highlight the most important skills, duties and requirements. Then for each of those items, create a behavioral question.
For example, a technical project manager posting might include: “Resolve roadblocks to launch products within tight deadlines.”
Your behavioral question might be: “Tell me about a time when you had to resolve an especially challenging roadblock to launch a product on time.”
Of course, if success stories come to mind as you’re working, fantastic! Keep a list of those.
Let this be easy: Don’t worry about the wording; nobody will read these questions except you and possibly a mock-interviewing partner. And don’t get caught up in answering the questions yet. For now, just complete the simple task of building a list.
Now, on to Answers!
Now that you’re working on a list of questions, read my post Job Search Tool #1: SOAR Stories for tips on how to prepare answers that impress!
And if you haven’t yet obtained a list of behavioral interview questions addressing soft skills, see Your List of Behavioral Interview Questions, Part 1. List, prepare, practice—and land the job you want!