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Common behavioural interview questions and how to prepare for them

Posted on 05 April 2023

Common behavioural interview questions and how to prepare for them

​6-minute read

 

Behavioural questions are some of the most challenging in any interview. Not because they are typically difficult for you to find an answer for, but they are often very open leaving you room to expand into many possible avenues, which in turn could derail your interview if you are not prepared correctly.

Behavioural questions are there to evaluate past experiences, skills and to see how you handle certain situations.

Having an awareness of some common behavioural questions you might face will help you put together several examples which could be manipulated for a number of situations. This is a particular area of the interview process we know very well so throughout this article we will peel back 4 of the most common questions and more specifically understand what the question is truly asking of you giving you the opportunity to prepare better.

 

Tell me about a time when you had to solve a technical problem

The idea of this question is to assess your problem-solving skills and on top of that your ability to troubleshoot tech issues. No doubt working in tech, you have solved a ton of problems… so you can see how open these questions can truly be.

The focus here should be about preparing an answer from your past that aligns with the problems the company might be facing.

At this point you might not know the exact problem but through either research or conversations with a recruiter or general knowledge you should be able to piece together some prospective problems.

To give an idea, if a company has just received investment, they might be facing a scaling issue with their product as new users find their way to platform. If you have experience supporting another company through such a tech problem, this is where you can bring a past experience and make it relevant for the current opportunity.

Be mindful that you will need to describe the problem and the steps you took to solve it, along with the outcome. Highlight important aspects such as when the team were involved, how decisions were made and what your specific contribution was.

 

Tell me about a time when you had to learn a new technical skill

This is often asked for those looking for a permanent role. Here the interviewer is looking to evaluate your willingness to learn. It would be wise to showcase a past experience where you learned a skill or tool for a previous employer and how that directly benefited them.

Draw on the specific resources, maybe your learning style and if you took it a step further and taught others.

Learning is great but being able to guide others will really make you stand out.

 

Describe a situation where you had to work in a team to accomplish a task

Outside of a handful of people, chances are high that you have worked in a team before. The question is put to candidates to focus on collaboration and teamwork. Here you want to be specific about the project you are highlighting, set the scene in terms of the problem; goals; steps to achieve this and the outcome.

The key aspect here is to explain what the team did as a whole; you can break it down to individual roles if you prefer but focus on using language such as ‘we’ as this will emphasise your viewpoint that it was a team effort.

 

Describe a situation where you had to communicate a technical concept to a non-technical person

Taking your communication to another level, this question is designed to learn how you communicate effectively (or not) to those outside of your niche. Your answer should indicate a clear and concise manner in which you explained the concept and if possible bring forward any communication strategies you deployed to really help others understand the concept.

 

This is just 4 out of hundreds an interviewer could put forward to you but the good news here is that if you are able to piece together several examples for each that are compelling enough then you can deploy them to almost any question offered.

Think logically, we are focusing on communication (to tech and non-tech), your ability to learn, your ability to work in a team, your ability to adapt to new technologies and finally your ability to problem solve.

Behavioural questions generally follow the same format: describe to me when, tell me a time when etc. and they all look to understand similar information.

Tackle these 4 in depth and you have answers to cover almost anything put forward.

Test it and see for yourself.

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