Behavioural interview questions: What they are and how to answer them

job interview

Looking for a new job can be tough, and, in the current climate, changing roles could become even tougher.

Looking for a new job can be tough, and, in the current climate, changing roles could become even tougher.

While getting a job interview is the first stage, there are ways of ensuring you’re fully prepared to wow future employers once you arrive in the interview room. One of the best ways to do this is to nail behavioural interview questions.

Favoured by many employers, if you’re not sure what they are, we’ve broken them down below, and highlighted how you can ensure your answers are clear, concise, and effective.

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What are behavioural interview questions?

What’s the point of behavioural interview questions?

Tips on how to answer behavioural interview questions

Common behavioural interview questions and how to answer 

What are behavioural interview questions?

Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably come up against behavioural interview questions at some point in your life.

These questions are designed to focus on how you’ve handled certain work situations in the past, which aim to provide the interviewer with an example of your skills, personality, and abilities.

women talking in interview

Overall, it’ll help to show how you would handle a similar situation should it arise, with the logic being that your previous success should help you in the future.

What’s the point of behavioural interview questions?

While this form of questioning may feel daunting, they do serve an important purpose.

While learning more about you and your experience, and how you’d handle working in the role you’ve applied for, these questions work to highlight the following themes:

• Growth

• Self-reliance

• Self-awareness

• A willingness to help other individuals

By providing strong answers to the behavioural questions, the interviewer will be able to determine whether or not you’re not only right for the role, but if you’ll complement the current team too.

job interview over video call

Tips on how to answer behavioural interview questions

While you may feel like you’ve fully prepared for the interview by memorising the job spec, reading the company information and memorising exactly what’s on your CV, behavioural questions are slightly different to ones about your education, hobbies, and previous job roles.

These questions are designed to be answered with concrete examples of skills and experience that relate to you and the job you’re interviewing for. Therefore, it’s important to have well-prepared answers to position yourself in the best possible way.

Here are four key tips for preparing for behavioural interview questions ahead of time:

• Be prepared – this goes without saying, and with many interviewers asking similar questions, make sure you research common behavioural interview questions (below) so you can ensure you have examples and answers. Additionally, when reading the job spec and looking at the skills required for the role, try to think of previous occasions where you’ve had to display these skills and abilities in a working environment.

• Take your time – don’t just jump into an answer. Instead, once you’ve been asked a question give yourself a moment to think about the best answer you can give. From taking a deep breath to sipping water, you may feel like you need to answer asap, but taking your time to think will always put you in a better position.

• Positivity – you may have heard this 100 times or more, don’t be negative. Don’t talk negatively about previous employment, and, while a number of these questions will refer to a negative time and how you handled it, don’t dwell on the negative, instead, big up the positive.

job interview 

Common behavioural interview questions and how to answer

While preparation is the first step, it’s always good to know what types of questions may come your way at the interview.

Below, you’ll find 10 of the most common behavioural interview questions, alongside what it is the interviewer wants to know and how to best answer.


Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure.

If the job you’re applying for comes with a certain amount of stress, the interviewer is trying to figure out how well you can work under pressure with this question. Therefore, this would call for an answer detailing how you have dealt with pressure in the past.

How do you handle a challenge? Give an example.

Here, the interviewer is trying to assess how well you react to difficult situations. Therefore, it’s important to focus on how you resolved a challenging situation. A step-by-step account is a good way to demonstrate this.

Have you ever made a mistake? How did you handle it?

We all make mistakes, but the question is trying to identify how you handled the aftermath of making the mistake rather than the mistake itself.

Give an example of how you set goals.

Here, the interviewer is trying to work out how well you plan and achieve your goals, so, the best thing to do would be to give examples of how you previously set and achieved goals in a work capacity.

Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.

Similar to the above, provide a breakdown of how you set about achieving your goals.

Describe a decision you made that wasn’t popular, and explain how you handled implementing it.

Difficult decisions often have to be made in the workplace, which is why the interviewer is trying to assess how efficient you are at making, implementing and sticking to important decisions.

Give an example of how you worked on a team.

A popular question you may have heard before, this is to evaluate how well you work with others and how you’ll fit into the team.

What do you do if you disagree with someone at work? 

Another question that looks to see how you handle difficult situations, it’s important to focus on how you dealt with or compromised on a situation in the workplace rather than the issue that was created in the first instance.

team meeting

Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or co-workers. 

If you’re applying for a managerial role, the interviewer will want to know how you motivate others, so, it’s important to provide solid answers of how you’ve done this in the past.


Have you handled a difficult situation? How?

Similar to previous questions, this is designed to find out how well you can manage situations and others in difficult times.

As you can see, some questions overlap, and while you can reference previous answers, it’s important to provide different examples for each.

If you are on the hunt for a new role, the chances of encountering these questions are very high, but by preparing for the above you should be able to face the interview coolly and calmly.

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