Behavior Based Interviews, A Chance to Shine

interview tips

Behavior, or performance, based interview questions are becoming increasingly popular with pharmaceutical and medical device companies as a more effective way to hire high quality candidates and to sort through the large number of applications they receive.

Instead of traditional interview questions about your background, where you see yourself in the future, your strengths and weaknesses, all of which are easier to steer the answer towards what you think the interviewer is looking for, behavior based interview questions are trying to get your real experience and find out how you’ll perform in real situations.  Developed three decades ago by industrial psychologists, behavioral interviewing is said to be 55 percent predictive of future on-the-job behavior, while traditional interviewing is only 10 percent predictive.

When interviewers are asking these types of questions they want a real life example as an answer. For instance they may ask how you’ve dealt with disgruntled clients in the past. When they ask this they are looking for a three part answer:

  • A specific, real life situation leading up to your action.
  • A detailed account of the actions you took.
  • The results of you action.

These answers will give them an insight into how you will deal with future situations that will happen on the job and if your actions will be in line with their company’s culture and the job’s expectations.
As you are prepping for the interview, think of situations in the past when your choices have lead to a good outcome for your company as well as situations that started out negatively but either ended positively or you made the best of the outcome. The more recent the stories the better.

While different jobs will come with different expectations, experts agree that most companies are likely to be looking for a combination of the following skills: communication, creativity, attention to detail, management material, action orientation, loyalty, ability to make/save money, team player, enthusiasm and flexibility.

The good news is a behavioral based interview will give you a chance to showcase your skills and experience through specific examples. The interviewer doesn’t want to hear what you think you can do in the future; they want to know what you have done and how you did it. So polish up your stories and get ready to shine.

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