Recruitment Tips

Success in Behavioral Interviews: Effectively Articulating Your Story

**Personnel Interviews: Leveraging the Power of Storytelling**

In these interviews, questions are posed whose answers are based on the candidate sharing their own experiences.

Common questions include:

- Can you share a situation where you had to deal with a difficult client?

- Have you ever had disagreements with a supervisor?

- Tell us about your most significant professional achievement.

- Can you share a situation where things didn't go as planned?

- Describe a project you managed and how you met the deadlines.

There are numerous examples of such questions, all aimed at revealing important qualities. Recruiters want to learn about your soft skills. Are you a team player? Can you make reasonable decisions? How effectively do you communicate? Do you learn from your mistakes? Can you manage your time well?

Rather than limiting the conversation to "yes" or "no" answers, sharing a story provides a specific example to support your claims. Instead of saying, "Yes, I can manage time," you offer a brief snapshot of a moment when you were under pressure and how you successfully handled it.

**Advantages of Storytelling**

Telling stories has many advantages beyond impressing the recruiter. It allows you to establish a connection, build understanding, and have the opportunity to be yourself.

Sharing an event from your past with another person can provide insight into who you are. The listener gains an understanding of how you react, cope with stress, and interact in everyday life.

When you tell stories, you use a more natural communication style. This avoids the "professional" speech often used in resumes. When your resume says you are "detail-oriented and experienced," there might be another hundred applicants using the same words. But when you tell a story, you provide direct ownership of the event and your actions. No one else can claim the same.

This more natural communication style turns the interview into a conversation, which can reduce stress. For instance, when you share a success story, it's challenging not to convey the emotions during the recount. If you have passion for your work, the interviewer is more likely to feel it during a behavioral interview. Enthusiasm is contagious, and people are drawn to positivity, so sharing success stories can positively impact your interview.

So, behavioral interviews are crucial for both the candidate and the employer; you can't get a reliable sense of a person until you talk or meet in person.

**How to Prepare**

To prepare for a behavioral interview, obtain a list of sample questions, including those mentioned above. Then, take a pen and paper or start typing and begin reflecting on instances for each question. Initially, this might be challenging, so think about your daily responsibilities at work. Soon, characters you may not have thought about for years will come to mind. Note them all down. Then, choose your best examples to develop responses.

The S-A-R Method

After selecting your best examples, describe the story, explaining the Situation, Action, and Result (briefly, the S-A-R method), with special emphasis on the actions you took. The key here is to be proud of what you did but also understand how to explain this story to someone outside your company. Be concise and try to focus on crucial aspects of the story, akin to an executive summary—less "Iliad," more essence.


Once you have the story in your mind, practice telling it. This will help you share it more naturally, remembering the key moments you want to highlight. Meet with a trusted friend, advisor, or a representative from a career center to assess the timing. Conducting a mock interview will also improve your overall interview skills, gaining constructive feedback. Your partner can tell you if you speak too fast or too slow, slouch, play with your hair, or any other unconscious habits that surface during stressful interviews. Practice should boost your confidence and prepare you for the interview.