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Preparing for a Behavior Based interview

Ashling McWilliam for local2 sault ste. marie
July 25th, 2011 at 10:24am | Last Updated at 4:58pm

This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

JOB INTERVIEWWhat is a behavior-based interview?

Behavioural based interviewing is interviewing based on discovering how the interviewee acted in specific employment-related situations. The logic is that how you behaved in the past will predict how you will behave in the future i.e. past performance predicts future performance.

Most employers today will ask you behaviour-based questions. You know them. You’ve been asked them before. In preparation, think of some you know are likely to make the interview list and write them down.

Now, don’t panic, I have a fool proof method for these types of questions. As a Wilfrid Laurier Graduate, I was taught to respond to all interview questions using the STARR method. I have found this method of response to be beneficial, whether it be part of an application process or an interview. If a question stumps you, just take a deep breath and think STARR;

The Question:

Tell me about a situation when you had to deal with an unhappy customer. What did you do?

Situation – You want to provide an overview of the general situation and the issue:

“I have excellent customer service skills, while serving a client at Mike’s Diner I noticed that one of my tables’ was unhappy and complaining loudly about his dinner.”

Task – Indicate you are aware of your task/role and that you know what you need to address:

“As a server, I was responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction and following restaurant policy. In this situation I knew it was important to learn the facts and to take the necessary steps to resolve the issue.”

Action –Describe your actions step-by-step. Indicate you know why you undertook them

“I noticed the customer was very upset and causing a disturbance for other tables. I knew I needed to calm him down in order to resolve the situation. I asked him to explain the situation and felt that by asking to hear his side of the story he might feel more customer satisfaction. After listening to him, I apologized for the inconvenience and explained the store policy; I could either have his dish remade (approx 15 min wait) or I could have a manager take the meal off his bill. Although I was not convinced that we had made the mistake, I felt that, in this situation, this was the best solution to avoid disturbing other clients.”

*Result – Indicate the results of your actions and the overall outcome or effect:

“The customer agreed to my offer and we were able to resolve the situation quickly and avoid a negative experience for those tables surrounding us.”

*Relevance – Indicate to the interviewer how and why the experience is relevant and demonstrate how your abilities will be of use in the job:

“In this position, I know it will be important to make clients feel valued and listened to in order to establish a returning clientele. With my listening and reasoning skills, I believe I would be an asset to your company.”

*It is important to focus on the last 3 points (Action, Result & Relevance). You want to briefly describe the situation and task, then spend the rest of your time on the last 3 points, remember to tie in the skill you are demonstrating with the position you are applying for.

*Notice it is helpful to use specific examples from your past, this way you will find yourself telling a story rather than searching for something to say. You will also have a more engaged audience.

If you would like to practise your interview skills please don’t hesitate to use our services. We offer one-on-one mock interviews at the Sault Community Career Centre!


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