Making the Job Interview Stress Free: Behavioural Questions Explained

In times past the interview process was much simpler, but less successful in predicting candidates’ future job behaviour.

The key to successful interviewing is to demonstrate:

  • A good fit in relation to organisation and work culture
  • A good match to the required competencies (knowledge, skills and affective behaviours) required for success in the role
  • Capacity and capability to advance and grow your contribution to the organisation in line with its future needs.

In recent years, HR practitioners have developed a more sophisticated and robust form of job interview questioning – The Behavioural Question Based Interview. This is now widespread so you need to be prepared for a high percentage of interviews centred on this form of questioning.

To frame a series of behavioural interview questions the work culture and job description is analysed to identify the underlying attributes, attitudes, and competencies (knowledge, skills and affective behaviours) that the candidate needs to possess to be a good fit in the work culture and perform the role to meet or hopefully exceed the desired job performance standards.

Beyond ticking off demonstrable knowledge and skills, the behavioural interview is based on the premise that a person’s past actual (as opposed to espoused) attitudes as reflected in their quality of processes, their behavioural responses and performance outcomes are the best predictor of future performance. So, this interviewing technique is used to learn about:

  • real life work and related experience and experiences and your attitudes to them;
  • your past behaviour…your response to those experiences;
  • the performance outcomes, and
  • what and how you learned from that to grow and improve future performance.

The answers to this type of questioning are very different to answering a hypothetical scenario – such as “How would you handle XYZ situation?” The answer to this type of question is espoused, but not necessarily verifiable as actual behaviour.

Even if you don’t have a great deal of work experience, companies expect candidates to be able to relate past experiences, from undergraduate or graduate school, university activities, volunteer work, membership in an organizations, to the context, organisation culture and values and job for which they are interviewing.

If you are very experienced, the key to success is to focus and rehearse behavioural based answers highlighting the most recent and relevant examples or experiences linked to exemplary performance, outcomes and learnings relevant to the position interviewed for.

If you need some help in understanding, or preparing yourself for Behavioural Interviews our team at GetSelected can help!


Penny Perkins M: + 61 (0) 411 541542 E: