GETTING READY FOR A BEHAVIOURAL INTERVIEW IN TECH
Increasingly, employers are moving away from the traditional interview focusing on what you’ve done in previous roles and talking through your experience. Initial screening weeds out the people without the qualifications for the role. At interview, it’s more about assessing your personality, behaviour, and how you react in certain situations.
DO SOME RESEARCH
The initial job advert should give you some clues about the sorts of questions you can expect in your interview. Scan the posting for words like “efficient”, “self-starter”, “organised”, “attention to detail”. This should tell you a lot about the sorts of questions you will be asked. Take a look at the organisation’s website and see if there are profiles of people doing similar roles. If the company is a large multinational, you might also find unofficial posts from other people who have had interviews in the past. Make a list of all the qualities you think they are looking for on a piece of paper.
LIST YOUR EXPERIENCE
Go through each of the personality traits or competencies which you have listed. Think about what you could say if you are asked to “give an example of a time when…” for each. Remember that your examples don’t have to come from your present position. You can draw on experience from a past position, or any voluntary role you have had. Look for situations which you found challenging or difficult, but which ultimately had a positive outcome. Make a brief note of the relevant situations against each word in the list as a memory prompt.
THE 'STAR' METHOD
The useful STAR acronym is worth keeping in mind when deciding what to say at interview. S and T stands for situation or task, where you outline briefly what was going on. A stands for action; what did you do to move things forward? And finally R is the result of your actions. Following these steps should reduce the temptation to ramble, or get sidetracked during the interview with irrelevant detail. Each response should be no longer than two minutes. Time yourself speaking aloud if you’re worried that you might be speaking for too long.
PREPARE FOR SURPRISES
Although it’s usually easy to predict that an interviewer is going to ask you about a time when you showed leadership or dealt with conflict, other questions are harder to predict. Some employers like to throw a random question into the mix to see how you think on your feet. Some might ask you to tell them a joke, or ask what type of animal represents you best. With this sort of question the answer itself isn’t as important as keeping your cool, not getting flustered and being able to come up with a response.
EVALUATION GOES BEYOND THE INTERVIEW
Expect to be evaluated from the second you walk through the door of the organisation. Many interviewers will ask receptionists for their opinion of candidates, so if they try to strike up a conversation make relevant small talk. Similarly, if you’re offered a tour of the site, take up the offer and appear engaged and interested.