Some of you may have experienced or learned behavioural based interviewing. I don’t want to spend too much time here on this, but the premise of BBI as they call it sometimes is that you are likely to respond, react or do something similar in the future as you have done in the past.

While I agree with the method there are a few things to consider:

  • Is the interviewer well skilled in BBI using the STAR system – Situation, Task, Action, Result
  • Are you being interviewed by HR as they are likely, maybe more so than others to us BBI and the STAR system
  • As an interviewer, I would always recommend you plan for at least two scenarios that you can explain when asked “ Can you tell me a time” “How did you” “Please provide an example of”
  • Expect to be asked 3-4 BBI questions by an interviewer

So back to the arrangement of our questions.

There are times when a question may be asked regardless of the level of experience you have or type of role you are applying for. We have categorised questions for graduates and senior executives and clustered the remaining questions based on skills/competencies.

A hiring manager will always ask questions that are specific to the division so your technical skills, however, remember skills are transferable so these questions can be framed across most functional roles.

Graduates

Potential employers are keen to understand how to have made the decisions you have in taking up your degree or course you have completed. They want to know what experience you have in working with others, how you communicate. What type of non-technical skills have you developed? Understanding how you spend time outside of university or college will understand what you enjoy, how you relax etc.

  1. You are likely to be asked questions that give the interviewer some understanding on how you think and approach problems.
  2. Tell me why you have chosen the course/degree you have? What influenced you?
  3. What were the most enjoyable subjects and why?
  4. What are your extracurricular activities?
  5. If you have secured work, walk me through what you did to secure the role?
  6. What has been one of the most challenging problems you have faced? What was expected of you? How did you address it? What was the outcome? (STAR)
  7. What role do you tend to play when doing group projects at university?
  8. Can you tell me about your family? How many siblings – what do they do? What about your mom and dad, what do they do?
  9. What do you think of ………( this might be relevant to something specific to the faculty you’re attached to or a recent world event/person/situation.
  10. What are you doing to address the shortage of opportunities in this space? How have you tried to “stand out”
  11. Tell me about a project you had to plan, organise and coordinate from beginning to end. What was the project and why were you responsible for it? What were the risks and issues for the success of the project? Give an overview of how you planned, organised and coordinated it? How successful was it?
  12. Has your university/college experience helped to prepared you for a career? If so how?
  13. What might have happened in your life that has required you to change a course of action or shift your thinking? How did you respond? What was the outcome?
  14. What do you think has been your biggest success in the last two years? What was the circumstance? What did you do? How was it such a success? What did you learn?
  15. Like many of your generation, we know you will have many jobs or possibly careers? Do you have a career plan? Tell me what it looks like.
  16. What do you know about us? Why would you want to work here?
  17. What would you hope to have achieved on completion of 12 months with us?
  18. Have you been on other interviews? If so where? What was the result of those interviews
  19. What do your peer group say about you? If I were to ask them what would they say?
  20. 2) What are your morals? Tough one I know, Thank you, Stephanie Devine,

Technical

These are also known as hard skills. Often potential team members and the hiring manager will spend more time in this area that say Human Resources. Interviewers want to know how your skills might compliment the existing team. Depending on your levels they look for a high degree of technical or professional knowledge. They may expect you to have a thorough understanding of the market or business sector. A commitment to continuous professional and technical development is also of interest.

  1. How do you see your industry developing in the next five years?
  2. What elements of your current role have created the most frustration over the last 2/3 years? Why?  What have you done to rectify this?
  3. What is happening in the market now that will have most effect upon your company in the next year?
  4. Which aspects of your job do you find most challenging and why?

Communication

This is one of the most important and critical skills regardless of your level. How well can you confer ideas, thoughts and issues in a clear and concise manner either verbally or in writing? The ability to listen, as you are often working as part of a team and collaborating with others. You should understand and be tolerant of other peoples opinions. The ability to produce well structured concise reports and correspondence. Negotiate and influence others to take a course of action or appreciate a point of view, which they might not necessarily share. Sufficient skill in verbal and non-verbal behaviour to give clear and convincing presentations.

  1. Could you describe one of the most complex situations/processes you have had to explain to other people? Who was it to? How long did it take and what was the response?
  2. Could you tell me about an occasion when you failed to get your point across? Set the scene for me, Why did this happen?  How did you recover the situation?
  3. What type of writing have you been required to produce? Can you give some examples of reports and documents, which you have written that required significant modification/redrafting?  How satisfied were you with the outcome and what type of reaction did they receive from others?
  4. Can you give me an example of a time when it was necessary to persuade others to your way of thinking? How did you go about this and what was the outcome?
  5. Can you give me an example of times when you have needed to use different communication in talking to people? What were the circumstances? How did you shift the way in which you communicated?
  6. What was one of the most difficult negotiation you have conducted? Who was involved? How did you deal with it? What were your tactics? What was the outcome?
  7. Describe one of the most difficult groups you have presented to? Situation, What were you trying to achieve, How did you deal with it and what was the outcome

Results

As a leader, you may find yourself setting and delivery on specific objectives as defined by broad aims.g.budgets, targets. Interviewers are looking for your preparedness to go beyond expectations to achieve an outcome. Can you close a deal or transaction or deliver to a project needs and establish budgets?

  1. Describe the circumstances surrounding a major transaction/deal that you missed? What changes have you since made to the way in which you approach similar situations?
  2. Can you give me an example of a time when you failed to meet a target/budget? What did you identify as contributing reasons for this?  How did you rectify the situation?
  3. When you are setting targets for other people what factors do you take into account?
  4. What is the most the challenging target you have been set? Where did you get to? How did you go about achieving it?
  5. Walk me through the last major deal/transaction that you completed? How did you go about getting it signed?

Customer/Client Focus

Organisations will place great importance on this skill. What will give a company a competitive advantage, the quality and delivery of products and services to its customers? What have you done to make sure the customer has a great experience with your employer? How have you helped solve a clients problem?

  1. Can you give me an example of a time when you were dealing with a difficult client, and you were able to deliver a solution that turned his/her attitude around? Why were you successful?
  2. Has there been an occasion when it has been difficult for you to grasp exactly what a customer/client needs? How did you go about defining those wants/needs?
  3. Describe a situation where the service you delivered exceeded the client’s expectations.
  4. Tell me about a time when a client asked for more than you believed could be reasonably be delivered? What was your response

Quality Focus

The risk management regime may vary from organisation to organisation, and greater emphasis on operational risk may be more important to one organisation whereas reputational or credit risk may be critical for another. The ability to balance attention to detail with commercial expectations is a highly sought-afterskill. Being actively aware of risk regarding compliance with standard procedures and relevant legislation. Good writing skills so you can provide clear and detailed documentation to support business transactions.

  1. Has there been an occasion when you have missed a deadline because you believed the finished product was of insufficient quality? What was the result of your decision?
  2. Can you tell me about a time when non-compliance to a standard or procedure has caused a problem? How did you solve the issue?
  3. Have you ever been criticised for your standard of accuracy with documentation? Was it justified?  Why/why not? When was the last time you were involved in an event that caused a substantial change in your organisation? What was it and how did you ensure its success?
  4. Can you give me an example of a time when you were faced with delegating authority or responsibility? To whom did you choose to delegate the work and what was the outcome?

Leadership

Leadership is becoming more complicated and is also changing. Relinquishing control, giving more accountability to team members is increasingly becoming an important aspect of leadership, Broadly though, creating and defining broad, compelling organisational and divisional goals and inspiring others to pursue them are strong characteristics of leadership. There are many more, negotiate and influence others to take a course of action or appreciate a point of view. Effectively delegate responsibilities and give people the authority to act and make mistakes.  How do you provide guidance, feedback and direction to individuals and team? Inspiring and encouraging others toward goal achievement. The coaching of others to work at their full potential.

  1. When was the last time you were involved in an event that caused substantial change in your organisation? What was it?  What role did you play? What was the result for the organisation
  2. Can you give me an example of a time when you were faced with delegating authority or responsibility? To whom did you choose to delegate the work and what was the outcome?
  3. Can you give me an example of when you had to manage a difficult staff member – why were they difficult? How did you approach them? What was the outcome?
  4. With so much transformation taking place in your business right now? How do you support your people? What role are you playing?
  5. Have you introduced any programmes at work that have resulted in a change of culture within your department/team? Why did you do this and how did it positively impact your staff? What, if any improvements/changes would you make next time you were faced with a similar situation?
  6. What do you think about people working flexibly? Does it impact on productivity?
  7. Have you seen members in your team disengaged? What were the reasons for it? How did you address it with them and what was the result?

Executive Leadership

  1. Have you been tasked with a turnaround of a division/company? How did you assess the position of the division/company? What was the strategy and who was involved? How did you describe success? What was the outcome? What made the difference?
  2. How do you manage the conflict of the short-term results needed of the business with the medium to long-term strategic initiatives?
  3. What has been one of the most risky opportunities to have presented to the Board? How did you position it? How did they react and what was the outcome?
  4. Walk me through a situation when the decision you made would have negative consequences and how did you rationalise it? How was it communicated and how did it make you feel personally?
  5. As a leader what do you want to be most remembered for?
  6. Have you had to wind up a business or drastically alter a business unit? If so, what was the basis of your evaluation of the business’s performance? What factors did you consider? What were the key takeaways?
  7. Tell me about the acquisition of XX? Why did you do it? How did it fit strategically? How have you integrated the business?
  8. With the changing nature of work, what aspects of the business are you prioritising and why? How do you see this affecting the management team? What skills will the business require moving forward?
  9. Can you share with me the working relationship you have with the members of the Executive team? How do you make decisions? Who do you rely on the most?

Teamwork

As the world of work is changing and we break down silos within divisions, work remotely or contract, there is a need to be able to support each other and work collaboratively to towards achieving unit/department/organizational/project objectives. The ability to actively contribute constructively to team meetings, honour promises and commitments and take a win-win’ approach to working with others. Use teams and strategic alliances to achieve cooperation and outcomes’

Proactively develop and maintain effective internal and external relationships to achieve facilitation of organisational/departmental goals.

  1. Can you give me an example of a time when you were required to assist other team members? How did you go about this and what was the outcome?
  2. Tell me of an occasion when someone has failed to honour a promise or commitment in the work environment? What was your reaction to this?
  3. Has there been an occasion when you have failed to meet team objectives due to the unreasonable behaviour of others? How did you attempt to resolve this situation?
  4. In your experience, how important is it to form networks out of your immediate working environment to achieve results?Can you give me two examples when this has worked in your favour?
  5. Describe a situation in which you had to work with a group of people to achieve a specific goal. What was your role?  What were the challenges? How did you make a positive impact on the dynamics of the group?
  6. What type of tools do you use to support team progress?

Strategic Awareness

Strategy requires the ability to look at the immediate strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your business but also over the medium to longer term. Utilise effective time management through the prioritisation of tasks to achieve specific objectives. Manage a variety of tasks and functions to achieve a specific outcome. Prepare, manage and evaluate appropriate allocation of resources to achieve specific objectives. What are the longer term implications of an action? 

  1. How did your company/business unit respond to recent changes in industrial relations legislation/the impending federal election/slow down in economic growth?
  2. Can you give an example of when you were involved in formulating corporate objectives? How did your goals/objectives fit into the ‘big picture’?
  3. Can you give me an example of when you changed a procedure within your workgroup? From which group/individuals did you receive most negative feedback/hesitation/reluctance to adopt change?  How did you overcome this?
  4. Can you give me an example of a time when you were managing a number of projects with tight deadlines? How did you juggle your competing priorities? What was the outcome?
  5. Describe a situation, which required you to develop a strategy to achieve specific objectives with the focus on evaluating the effectiveness/ result.

Analytical Thinking

Ability to assess and evaluate complex information and data. Identify key issues in complex situations or problems. Formulate a coherent argument or opinion linking evidence to conclusions. Judge the implications of actions beyond the area of immediate responsibility. This may include the interpretation of data to identify trends and patterns

  1. What has been one of the most complex problem you have had to solve? Walk me through your thinking, How did you do it?
  2. Tell me about a time when the information you have had to work with has been ambiguous. How did you react?
  3. Give me an example of when you were faced with a difficult problem, but you were able to define it quickly and simply?
  4. Has there been an occasion when you have deferred from taking a particular line of action due to the recognition of an adverse effect upon others?

Creativity

Devise imaginative solutions in business situations. Identify alternatives to traditional methods and approaches. Be alert to new opportunities.

  1. What is one of the most imaginative business solution you have been involved in developing? Talk me through the thinking? What was your input into the project?
  2. Can you think of a situation where traditional or existing methods/approaches haven’t worked? What did you do?  How did you resolve the issue?
  3. When you become aware of or have an idea of a new business opportunity? Work me through the course of action you took?
  4. If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be doing instead?
  5. When do you take time out to think? What do you do?

Flexibility/Adaptability/Agility

As we are seeing, how we work is changing rapidly. The ability to modify an approach or style to achieve a goal/objective. Change a position or strategy in response to new information or the influence of others. Have a flexible and multi-skilled approach to work. Handle stress and pressure due to change and be allowed to fail.

  1. Can you think of a time when it has been important for you to modify your beliefs or opinions to suit those of a client or internal management? How did you feel about this and what was the result regarding achieving project objectives and your self-esteem?
  2. Can you tell me about the last time you had to radically change a plan with little/no warning? Which aspect of the process did you find most frustrating? How did you overcome this?
  3. Has there been an occasion recently when you have had to stand-in for a colleague? How did you feel about this at the time?
  4. Tell me about a time that you resisted change? What were the circumstances? How did you put your case forward? What was the response?
  5. Tell me about the last time you lost your temper at work?

Developing People/Coaching

Identify and recognise talented individuals. Guide the development of others through listening and providing a different perspective. Effectively delegate responsibilities and authority to act. Demonstrate a willingness to commit resources to the further learning, training and development of staff.

  1. When did you last recommend someone for promotion/transfer and what was the result?
  2. Tell me of an occasion when you have shown a particular interest in a colleagues/subordinates career?
  3. What has been your most serious mistake in not delegating authority/responsibility?
  4. How have you evaluated the effectiveness of a training/development programme you have recommended?
  5. On what basis do you negotiate your training budget? What did you do last year with your budget allocation?

Tenacity

Challenge the status quo and seek continuous improvement. Doing more than is required or expected. Being alert to new business opportunities. Doing whatever it takes to overcome obstacles and achieve goals. Repeatedly returning to issues and projects faced with barriers to achieve an outcome

  1. Can you give me an example of when you have challenged an internal process? Why did you identify the opportunity, what was it and how did you change it?  How did it impact the workplace
  2. Tell me about a time when you were confronted with obstacles to completing a project or winning a deal – what happened?
  3. How do you deal with rejection? Walk me through a time that you did not achieve the result you were looking for? How did you respond?

Attention to Detail

Produce well structured, concise reports and correspondence. Confer ideas, thoughts and issues in a clear and concise manner either verbally or in writing. Complete tasks accurately, thoroughly and methodically

  1. Have you been in a situation where you identified a process or document that was substandard in quality? What did you do to remedy this?
  2. Can you give me an example of a time when you were managing a number of projects with tight deadlines? How did you juggle your competing priorities and what was the outcome?
  3. Describe a situation, which required you to develop a strategy to achieve specific objectives with the focus on evaluating the effectiveness/ result.
  4. How do you keep on top of all the reporting that you either have to produce or read

Conflict Resolution

 Resolve problems through constructive negotiation. Manage disruptions to workflow. Deal with personality conflicts.

  1. Tell me about the most delicate negotiations you have conducted.
  2. How do you cope with disruptions at work? Have you developed methods of minimising or pre-empting such disruptions?
  3. Describe some of the most difficult one to one meetings you have had with colleagues. What made them particularly difficult? How can you overcome such difficulties
  4. Can you please think about one the previous managers that you would consider your most challenging to date? Why were they hard to work with? How did you try to work with them (i.e., did you have to change your natural style)? What did you learn from working with them (if any)? What did you learn about yourself, working with them? In hindsight, would you have now done anything differently? What was the outcome?
  5. Tell me a time when would not compromise on an issue in the workplace? Why was it important to you and how did you discuss the situation