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How to answer behavioural interview questions

How to answer behavioural interview questions

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How to answer behavioural interview questions

​Many candidates are often spooked by behavioural interviews, ruining their chances of landing a role they’re more than qualified to perform. In reality though, there’s nothing to be spooked about since you have already performed the metric that the interviewer is trying to assess. Behavioural interviews are based on the concept that past behaviour predicts future behaviour.  So by providing an example of where you have acted in a certain way, in a specific situation, you provide evidence to the interviewer that you know how to perform and have experience to draw from.  In a stressful interview environment, regardless of how much you have prepared, it is normal to forget a few details in your answers. So just remembering these 3 things will help you structure any behavioural interview question.

  1. Choose a specific example

Most of us perform various tasks every day so being asked to remember a specific example can be difficult, that is why forethought about the best example to use is important. Refrain from using terms such as “the team”, “we did” – and instead use “I did”, “my role was to” etc. This could be difficult was some who may feel like they’re gloating or showing arrogance. But remember the interviewer is looking to hire you not your team – they want evidence ofyourcapability.

  1. Provide context

Provide a framework for your answer. What was the scale/scope of the project? What was the risk? Who was impacted? Highlight the challenges before going into your actions and solution.

  1. Add detail to your answer

Consider the complexity of your answer in relation to the level of the role you’re applying for and your experience. Explain your approach and what you did in detail, interviewers want evidence of knowledge and experience.

Here’s a sample to review.


Influencing Outcome


When did you last influence a stakeholder group to a different point of view – what was your approach?


Situation– Working in X company, my role was the project manager for a new system roll out.  I joined the company as a contractor and found that there had been previous project managers who hadn’t delivered and that the business was disengaged about the software solution.

Action –  I went through the history before I joined the team – I worked through past business cases and documents to understand:

·   Why the Office 365 solution was decided on

·   What level of understanding the business had around working with the system

·   Why the previous project managers hadn’t delivered

·  Once I had this background, I met with the senior stakeholders to understand their expectations to ask what the overall business view was on the system

Through research and meetings I found that the managers didn’t feel they had been included in the original scoping and they felt the solution was forced on them and wouldn’t address some key issues.

As a result they were creating roadblocks for previous project managers. I requested approval to delay the project by a month and worked through a scoping exercise across the key stakeholders to get their buy in and suggestions. I ran various workshops with different groups so everyone had an opportunity for input.   From here I tested the solution against the business requirements and outlined the potential benefits and was able to provide a new business case and scope which was approved.  I also asked for each area to nominate an SME for testing rounds to increase the buy in and ensure the business had a full perspective of how the system would work.  These SME’s were also nominated as trainers to users on go live.

Outcome– With the business on board, given they felt consulted and a part of the solution, we were able to implement the software solution and the business users were positively engaged.