Carefully consider the following five points. These are the most common mistakes candidates make at behavioral based interviews; by ensuring you familiarize yourself with them you will be able to prevent yourself from making the same errors.
- Waffling or going into unnecessary detail. Be succinct and make sure your answer is to the point. By practicing your answers before the interview you can prevent this from happening. Try to aim for 2 – 3 minutes for your response.
- Referring to more that one situation, speaking hypothetically or in general terms. Remember behavioral interviews require a specific situation that you have actually dealt with. Refrain from referring to more than one situation as behavioral questions ask for one specific time where you exhibited a particular competency. If you been in a situation multiple times, pick the one that you handled in the best way, and do not refer to the others.
- Finishing without a positive point. If your question requires you to detail a situation where you failed to achieve something, do not stop there. You need to turn this negative into a positive by explaining what you learn from that experience, and how since then you achieved your goal successfully.
- Giving a situation that is not the best for that question. For instance, if the question required you to discuss a time when you faced a difficult time at work and you mentioned an irate customer, this would may not be the best example to use. Say that the next question required you to discuss a time when you had an irate customer you could struggle to find another suitable example. Remember to be strategic in your response and select the best situations for your answers.
- Discussing a situation which does not show the required competency. This comes back to effective preparation, and you need to think hard about your previous work and non-work related experiences in order to draw upon the best examples. If the question asks you for a time where you showed initiative, select a stellar time where you really went out there and took initiative, were commended by your superiors and colleagues, and recognized for your efforts.