Successfully Answer Behavioural Interview Questions

What is a Behavioural Interview?

Behavioural interviews, also known as competency-based interviews, involve questions that analyse your past behaviour to assess whether you meet the core competencies (skills, abilities, and knowledge) required for the job. After all, the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, which is why employers like these types of questions.  For more information about competencies visit:

What Type of Questions can I Expect?

The type of behavioural questions asked will vary according to the type of job. To view a list of common behavioural interview questions, visit the University of British Columbia , BC Public Service, Michigan State University, or perform your own internet search for sample questions.

Ways to Prepare for a Behavioural Interview

Behavioural competency-based interviews can be very challenging if you don’t adequately prepare. Here are some suggestions to help:

  • Read the job description and highlight key skills and qualities the employer listed.
  • Review your resume to match your skills with the ones you highlighted in the job description.
  • Look at sample questions online and find some that you think the employer may ask in relation to the position.  Think of examples you could use to answer the questions.
  • Use real examples from your past work experience, schooling, volunteering, team participation, group projects, or other life experiences to demonstrate that you possess the behavioural competencies they’re looking for.
  • To develop your examples and answer the question, we recommend that you use the STAR approach.
    • Situation or Task
    • Action taken
    • Result achieved
  • To see the full description of the STAR approach please visit Quintessential Careers,, or Oracle Campus Recruitment.
  • Practice describing an example until you are comfortable answering the question.

Answering Behavioural Competency-based Questions

  • Listen carefully to the question being asked, seek clarification if you’re unsure what the employer is asking, and have them repeat the question if necessary.
  • Take 30 seconds to think about an example that is relevant to the position.
  • Use the STAR approach to formulate your response.
  • Communicate clearly, use your own example(s), be honest, and be as detailed as possible.
  • Try to use current examples as they demonstrate your recent behaviour, and are more likely to be fresh in your memory.
  • If you use a group or team example, make sure you focus on what your actions were, and not on what the other team members did or didn’t do.  Also, be sure that you talk positively about your team members, even if you found them challenging to work with.

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