Four Ways to nail a Behavioral Interview

Written by Laura Brown on . Posted in Blog

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Imagine interviewing for your dream job and realizing with five minutes to go that you haven’t shared what the hiring manager most needs to know. This happens more often than you might think when employers use a popular behavioral interview technique called the STAR method, which asks candidates to describe a specific situation or task from their past as well as the actions they took and the results they achieved. Behavioral interviews work as well as the questions and context provided by the interviewer, so consider these four steps to increase your chances of success:
 
  1. Ask for a framework up front. At the start of the interview, request a brief overview of the role, the goals and the challenges for the first 18 months. If the interviewer dives in by asking you to “tell me about a time…,” you can start your response by saying something like this: “I’d love to.  To help me select the best example, it would be helpful if you could take five minutes up front and describe a typical example with your company so that I have a frame of reference.”

  2. Put yourself in control. Most hiring managers are experts in their functional area but spend less than two percent of their time interviewing new talent. Keep the discussion on the right path by offering specific examples of similar experiences that will provide direct correlation to the goals for the new position. When you do not have an ideal experience match, showcase an example where you were asked to lead a new company initiative. Describe how you overcame obstacles to accomplish success and have since continued to apply this style of learning to new areas of responsibility. 

  3. Be willing to say “maybe you shouldn’t hire me.” If the interviewer asks “why should we hire you?” without providing needed context, this response may be your best option. I’ve seen many candidates land a job by saying something like this: “I’m not sure I’m the right person for you. Why don’t you tell me what you’re looking for and I can tell you what I’ve done that’s most relevant.”  Then show appreciation for your interviewer’s effort:  “Wow, this is really helpful and now I know what you’re looking for.”

  4. Ask for specifics. Make sure you get the answers to basic questions. Why is this position open? What does the interviewer see as areas of gaps for this role? What does the organization want you to accomplish in the first six to 12 months? 

You have only a short time to share the best information showing how you would fit into a role. Use these steps to make the most of every moment, and you’ll be much closer to a job that will maximize your talent.  

By Laura Brown

    1. Dedicate.  Recognize that leadership development requires time, money and cultural commitment on the part of both companies and executives.  Like natural-born athletes who train with coaches, nutritionists and other professionals on their grueling journey to greatness, even the most talented performers need thoughtful training and development support to realize their full potential.

    2. Rotate.  Much as top athletes cross-train to improve overall fitness, high-potential designees should rotate through an array of increasingly complex and diverse managerial assignments while simultaneously participating in sophisticated management development programs.  This kind of integrated and methodical executive development programming blends day-to-day hands-on work experience with practical classroom management training.    

    3. Communicate.  For serious executive development to succeed, Board Directors and CEOs must communicate an unwavering commitment to ensure that those who have been identified as high-potential executives are properly career pathed through bona fide leadership development positions. Clear mandates are imperative to ensure that future leaders simultaneously participate in rigorous management development programs that are geared to prepare high-caliber executives for what lies ahead.

    4. Evaluate.  All companies, irrespective of size, should have performance management systems in place that evaluate leadership, managerial competencies and other significant factors as well as those areas requiring improvement. This system should feed into and serve as the basis of a formal succession planning process that collectively identifies and tracks the development strategy for future leaders. 


    Even companies with strong internal executive development programs may still need to recruit externally for various reasons; for example, a senior management position may unexpectedly open before internal talent is fully ready to advance. The bottom line is that businesses that excel at internal development and also selectively recruit externally stand the best chance of fielding a winning team.

    Howard J. Gross
    Managing Director, JBK Associates International

     

    1. Dedicate.  Recognize that leadership development requires time, money and cultural commitment on the part of both companies and executives.  Like natural-born athletes who train with coaches, nutritionists and other professionals on their grueling journey to greatness, even the most talented performers need thoughtful training and development support to realize their full potential.

    2. Rotate.  Much as top athletes cross-train to improve overall fitness, high-potential designees should rotate through an array of increasingly complex and diverse managerial assignments while simultaneously participating in sophisticated management development programs.  This kind of integrated and methodical executive development programming blends day-to-day hands-on work experience with practical classroom management training.    

    3. Communicate.  For serious executive development to succeed, Board Directors and CEOs must communicate an unwavering commitment to ensure that those who have been identified as high-potential executives are properly career pathed through bona fide leadership development positions. Clear mandates are imperative to ensure that future leaders simultaneously participate in rigorous management development programs that are geared to prepare high-caliber executives for what lies ahead.

    4. Evaluate.  All companies, irrespective of size, should have performance management systems in place that evaluate leadership, managerial competencies and other significant factors as well as those areas requiring improvement. This system should feed into and serve as the basis of a formal succession planning process that collectively identifies and tracks the development strategy for future leaders. 


    Even companies with strong internal executive development programs may still need to recruit externally for various reasons; for example, a senior management position may unexpectedly open before internal talent is fully ready to advance. The bottom line is that businesses that excel at internal development and also selectively recruit externally stand the best chance of fielding a winning team.

    Howard J. Gross
    Managing Director, JBK Associates International

     

    1. Dedicate.  Recognize that leadership development requires time, money and cultural commitment on the part of both companies and executives.  Like natural-born athletes who train with coaches, nutritionists and other professionals on their grueling journey to greatness, even the most talented performers need thoughtful training and development support to realize their full potential.

    2. Rotate.  Much as top athletes cross-train to improve overall fitness, high-potential designees should rotate through an array of increasingly complex and diverse managerial assignments while simultaneously participating in sophisticated management development programs.  This kind of integrated and methodical executive development programming blends day-to-day hands-on work experience with practical classroom management training.    

    3. Communicate.  For serious executive development to succeed, Board Directors and CEOs must communicate an unwavering commitment to ensure that those who have been identified as high-potential executives are properly career pathed through bona fide leadership development positions. Clear mandates are imperative to ensure that future leaders simultaneously participate in rigorous management development programs that are geared to prepare high-caliber executives for what lies ahead.

    4. Evaluate.  All companies, irrespective of size, should have performance management systems in place that evaluate leadership, managerial competencies and other significant factors as well as those areas requiring improvement. This system should feed into and serve as the basis of a formal succession planning process that collectively identifies and tracks the development strategy for future leaders. 


    Even companies with strong internal executive development programs may still need to recruit externally for various reasons; for example, a senior management position may unexpectedly open before internal talent is fully ready to advance. The bottom line is that businesses that excel at internal development and also selectively recruit externally stand the best chance of fielding a winning team.

    Howard J. Gross
    Managing Director, JBK Associates International

     

  1. Dedicate.  Recognize that leadership development requires time, money and cultural commitment on the part of both companies and executives.  Like natural-born athletes who train with coaches, nutritionists and other professionals on their grueling journey to greatness, even the most talented performers need thoughtful training and development support to realize their full potential.

  2. Rotate.  Much as top athletes cross-train to improve overall fitness, high-potential designees should rotate through an array of increasingly complex and diverse managerial assignments while simultaneously participating in sophisticated management development programs.  This kind of integrated and methodical executive development programming blends day-to-day hands-on work experience with practical classroom management training.    

  3. Communicate.  For serious executive development to succeed, Board Directors and CEOs must communicate an unwavering commitment to ensure that those who have been identified as high-potential executives are properly career pathed through bona fide leadership development positions. Clear mandates are imperative to ensure that future leaders simultaneously participate in rigorous management development programs that are geared to prepare high-caliber executives for what lies ahead.

  4. Evaluate.  All companies, irrespective of size, should have performance management systems in place that evaluate leadership, managerial competencies and other significant factors as well as those areas requiring improvement. This system should feed into and serve as the basis of a formal succession planning process that collectively identifies and tracks the development strategy for future leaders. 


Even companies with strong internal executive development programs may still need to recruit externally for various reasons; for example, a senior management position may unexpectedly open before internal talent is fully ready to advance. The bottom line is that businesses that excel at internal development and also selectively recruit externally stand the best chance of fielding a winning team.

Howard J. Gross
Managing Director, JBK Associates International

 


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