Whether you need to hire a manager, an intern, or someone for a junior position, behavioural questions are essential! They give you a range of knowledge about your candidate. For example, they teach you more about if your candidate is a perfect cultural fit, about their knowledge and capacities, but also about their interests. You can learn so much in the interview process with a good set of behavioural questions!
But finding the right questions for your interviews can waste so much time and effort. So, to make things easier for you, we have made a list of the top 99 behavioural interview questions with answers to find your perfect hire!
What are behavioural interview questions?
A behavioural question is a type of interview question that asks the candidate to describe a specific example or situation from their past experience.
The idea behind these questions is that a person’s past behaviour is a good indicator of their future behaviour. So, by asking about specific situations, the interviewer can get a sense of how the candidate will behave in similar situations in the future.
Behavioural interview questions typically begin with phrases like “tell me about a time when…” or “describe a situation where…”. They assess the candidate’s skills, experience, and problem-solving abilities.
Why are behavioural interview questions important?
Behavioural interview questions are not asked to confuse your candidates. Instead, they are considered essential for several reasons:
- They provide insights into candidates’ past experience and how they handled specific situations.
- They give the interviewer a sense of how the candidate will behave in similar situations in the future, providing a more accurate prediction of job performance.
- They allow candidates to demonstrate their skills, knowledge, and problem-solving abilities.
- They help the interviewer to ask follow-up questions (like soft skills questions), which allows them to delve deeper into the candidate’s qualifications and experiences.
- They can also provide a way to assess a candidate’s fit for the company culture.
You can better understand the candidate and make more informed hiring decisions by asking behavioural interview questions.
99 behavioural interview questions to ask during job interviews with answers
You can separate behavioural questions into four categories:
- Problem-solving: Questions that let the candidate explain how they were able to overcome a challenge or handle a problem.
- Stress and failure: Everyone has to face stress and loss at work. With this type of behavioural question, you can understand how your candidate handles negative pressure and failures and what they do to overcome it.
- Teamwork and communication: It’s essential that the candidate will be a good fit for your team. With this type of question, you can understand how they work in teams and how strong their communication skills are.
- Responsibility and Leadership: You will learn about your candidate’s experience, accomplishments, and skills here. These questions are about different work aspects and how they handle different situations and tasks.
Now you know about the different types of behavioural questions you can ask, and what purpose each type serves, let’s look at concrete examples. Below, you’ll find 99 example behavioural interview questions that you can ask during a job interview to assess your potential new hire!
- What’s your thought process when problems arise? Walk me through the steps you would take to approach the problem.
- Tell me about a time when you had to handle a challenging situation or problem?
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to make a difficult decision?
Answer tip: Things sometimes go differently than planned, and with these questions, you can learn about past problems of your candidates and understand their thought processes and how they resolve them. These questions are generalised, so the situations can be from working experiences, educational experiences, or everyday situations.
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to think on your feet and come up with a quick solution to a problem?
- How do you approach and solve problems?Give me an example of when you used logic to solve a problem.
- Describe how you used your problem-solving skills to benefit a team or company.
Answer tip: With these questions, your candidate can guide you through their thoughts, how they reacted, and how they managed to resolve them. They should showcase their soft skills (such as teamwork, logic, and conflict resolution) by explaining how they approached the problem. These questions are more work-experience oriented, so the candidate should give you a past working example.
- Tell me about a time when you used creativity to overcome a dilemma.
Answer tip: Creativity and decision-making are essential to approaching different tasks and solving problems. A good candidate should use creative thinking no matter the job position, and they should be able to think fast on their feet.
- How do you handle conflicts or disagreements with others?
- How do you take criticism or negative feedback?
- What do you do when your team member refuses to or can’t complete their part of the work? Give me an example.
- Tell me about a time when you were consulted for a problem.
Answer tip: Effective communication and problem-solving are deeply connected. Your candidate should be able to respond to criticism and disagreements in an empathetic and emotionally intellectual manner. Their past experiences with employee disagreements and resolutions will give you a clear picture of how open to feedback they are and how they will communicate with the team.
- How do you handle challenges or unexpected changes in the workplace?
- How do you handle job training if it’s not going well/you’re struggling to keep up?
- Describe a situation when your superior was not around and a problem developed. How did you handle the problem? What were the results?
Answer tip: Unexpected problems will always arise, and your perfect candidate should think fast and always respond in challenging situations. Different challenges arise all the time, and your candidate should think logically and be able to come up with a solution on the spot.
- Clients can be challenging to work with sometimes. Can you describe a situation when a client was wrong, and you had to correct them?
- How have you handled angry customers? Give me an example.
Answer tip: Problems with customers can happen depending on your industry and job position. Even though customers can be aggressive and unfriendly, your candidate should always keep cool in uncomfortable situations. Your ideal candidate will handle customers politely and try to solve their problems effectively. That does not mean they should let themselves be harassed, but they should respond clearly to unfriendly behaviour.
Stress and failure
- Have you ever made a mistake? Tell me what happened and what you did once you found out.
- Are you someone who learns from failures?
- What would you do if you misunderstood an essential task on the job? Give me an example.
- Tell me about a big mistake on the job and how you handled it.
Answer tip: Mistakes and failures always happen. The important thing is what you learn from them and how you will try to prevent the same mistakes to happen in the future. Your candidate should be able to admit they make mistakes and explain how they progress throughout the problem and crush it in the future.
- Tell me about a time when you tried something risky and failed.
Answer tip: your candidate can tell a funny story and/or showcase their creativity while being honest about their failure.
- How do you handle stress or pressure?
- What was a time when you had to work on a project outside of your comfort zone?
- Give me an example of when you suddenly had to perform under pressure. What happened, and how did you handle it?
- How do you stay calm and composed under pressure?
Answer tip: Everyone has worked under stressful situations, but the important thing is to have a positive mindset and not crumble under pressure. Your candidate should guide you through one of their stressful tasks or situations and explain how they solved it and found a way to work around it.
- Tell me about a conflict at your job. What happened and how did you (try to) resolve it?
- Have you ever been lied about? How did you handle that situation?
- Tell me about a time when it was challenging to be honest because of a problem. What was your thought process?
Answer tip: Dealing with conflict in the office/work is normal, but the critical aspect is conflict resolution and intelligent questioning. Your candidate should be able to solve disagreements with results of mutual growth and explain their reasoning and understanding when dealing with excuses and lies.
- Can you describe a time when you followed a rule that you disagreed with? Why did you follow it? Explain how you felt.
- Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a supervisor.
- Is there a time that comes to mind when you wish you had handled a situation with a colleague differently?
- Tell me about a time when a coworker was doing something wrong. What did you do?
Answer tip: Your candidate should give you an example of a situation where they could fix a disagreement with an amicable solution. They should be able to explain what they learned and how they have grown from the experience.
- Sometimes, getting everything on your to-do list done is almost impossible. What do you do when your list of responsibilities becomes overwhelming?
- What was a time when you had to make a decision under a tight deadline?
- Can you describe an instance where your supervisor or manager just gave you too much work with insufficient time? What did you do?
- Tell me of a time when you didn’t meet your goals.
Answer tip: Time management and prioritisation are essential skills, but there are times when you have too much on your plate and have to choose between tasks and objectives. Your candidate should explain how they used prioritisation to finish the essential duties, and even though they didn’t achieve all their goals, they could fulfil the urgent ones.
- How do you maintain a positive attitude facing challenges or setbacks?
- Tell me about a decision that you’ve regretted and how you overcame it.
- What is your biggest regret at work?
Answer tip: Challenges and mistakes are all about how you deal with them emotionally and overcome them. Your ideal candidate should explain their growth through past mistakes and regrets while keeping a positive attitude and going forward with their other tasks and objectives.
- Tell me about a time when you had to work unexpectedly on your own.
- Describe a time when you faced a blocker at work and how you solved it.
- What is the most difficult/challenging situation you’ve ever had to resolve in the workplace
Answer tip: Stressful situations might give you unexpected solutions and opportunities. Your candidate should guide you through the case and give you their takeaway and process while showcasing flexibility. They should demonstrate personal growth, attitudes toward change, and willingness to embrace change.
Teamwork and communication
- Have you ever worked with a team before? What did you like and dislike about it?
- Are you better at working with a group or working on your own?
- What role do you assume when you work within a team?
- Have you worked on different types of teams? What was your favourite (and why)?
- What makes an ideal coworker in your eyes?
Answer tip: It is essential to see whether your candidate is a team player or how well they will be a fit for your team. They should be able to describe their role within the team they worked with and the dynamics with their colleagues they liked. You want an employee who will flourish in your team, so knowing how they will fit and their idea of a “perfect team” will help you understand them better.
- Tell me how you communicated with your previous managers?
- How do you communicate effectively with people of different levels of authority?
Answer tip: Effective communication with managers and higher-ups will be necessary. Your candidate should be able to communicate clearly, have good listening skills, and maintain a positive attitude. Their answer will give you a clear view of how they will share with you.
- What was a time when you had to work with a team to achieve a common goal?
- What time did you have to set and achieve a goal for yourself or a group?
Answer tip: With these questions, you will be able to understand how well your candidate is with teamwork, their participation in tasks, and how they proceed to achieve their goals. Whether they need constant help from their team, are more independent, or are a team player attitude.
- Tell me about a time when you failed in a team project and how you overcame it.
Answer tip: Your candidate should be honest and show how they have learned from their failures. They should be able to take responsibility for their losses and tell you the objective reasons why the team failed and what they learned from the experience.
- How do you build and maintain relationships with colleagues and clients?
- How do you build trust and credibility with others?
Answer tip: A good team player should be empathetic, friendly, and have good communication skills. Building trust with colleagues and clients is essential to improve and achieve goals, so they should be adaptable and friendly to everyone.
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to work with people from diverse backgrounds or cultures?
- Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone completely different from you. How did you adapt to collaborate better?
Answer tip: Some people will have different opinions than you, so a candidate who is adaptable and an active listener will benefit your company. Candidates who are flexible and open to new ideas will communicate better with different people and can bring even better ideas to the table.
- What do you do if you disagree with another team member?
- Describe a time when you disagreed with a team member. How did you resolve the problem?
Answer tip: Let your candidate explain a work-related disagreement and how they tackled it. They should have good communication and negotiation skills.
- Can you give an example of when you had to negotiate with someone?
- Can you provide an example of when you had to go above and beyond to help a coworker or client?
Answer tip: Negotiation skills and ambition are good skills a hire must have. Your ideal candidate should be able to negotiate through difficult situations to achieve an agreement for both sides. They should also have an interest in helping and taking responsibility for their tasks and goals.
- How do you handle and give constructive feedback?
Answer tip: Constructive criticism and feedback are essential. Your candidate should always be able to give feedback in a respectful and empathetic manner. Clear communication and good listening skills are a must for providing feedback. They should be open to feedback and have an open mindset on improving.
- Is there a time when a teammate or client questioned your honesty? How did you react?
Answer tip: Being questioned takes a lot of work, especially when you might be right. In this case, your candidate should have good listening and clear communication skills to solve misunderstandings.
- Have you ever bent company policy to satisfy a client?
Answer tip: You should always respect company policies but work around them to satisfy your client or communicate with your supervisor about the situation. In case your candidate has done it, they should give a good explanation as to why and how they came to that conclusion.
- What was a time when you had to work with a difficult supervisor?
- Have you ever had to work under someone who could have been better at communicating? What happened?
Answer tip: Employees might deal with difficult supervisors from time to time, but how they communicate and deal with the situation is critical. Your candidate should be able to have good conflict resolution skills and be respectful all the time.
- Tell me about a time when you successfully explained a technical problem to a colleague or a customer who didn’t have a tech background?
- What was a time you gave a particularly successful presentation? Why do you think it went well?
Answer tip: Good analytical skills will help you communicate ideas and improve your confidence through public speaking. Your candidate should have a good understanding of the topic they are talking about. This way, they can explain it to a range of audiences, from people who don’t understand technical terms to engineers.
- Can you talk about a time when you could not get your point across effectively? What contributed to this? Have your communication skills improved?
Answer tip: Everyone begins somewhere. Your candidate might have been born with poor communication skills but learned from past experience. A good candidate should admit and explain how they have grown from them. They should be able to guide you through their journey and give an example of how their communication skills have improved.
- Can you talk about when you had to deliver bad news to someone? What did you do to prepare, and what was the outcome?
Answer tip: Giving awful news is tricky. You need to be empathetic and friendly, so your candidate should demonstrate these soft skills through past experiences.
Responsibilities and Leadership
- What is a big career goal that you achieved recently?
- Can you give an example of a specific accomplishment you are most proud of?
- Name three improvements you made in your most recent position.
Answer tip: Everyone has goals and accomplishments they are proud of. Here your candidate can boast about their achievements and guide you through their efforts. A good candidate is motivated and working towards growth, so they will talk about their learning experiences and actions in achieving their goals.
- Was there a time you were passed over for promotion? Was it fair?
- Tell me of a time when you postponed making a decision.
Answer tip: Critical thinking and decision-making are good skills to have. Your candidate might have had situations where they need to step back and think of a decision for good reasons. Here your candidate can explain their analytical thinking and what their priorities are.
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to adapt to a new task?
- Can you give me an example of when you had to adjust to a new and sudden change in the workplace? What happened?
- How do you approach change in the workplace?
- What was a time when you had to be flexible and adapt to new requirements or expectations?
Answer tip: being adaptable is essential, especially in this time and age. Your candidate should face every new experience they will get head on. So someone who is flexible and doesn’t crumble in uncertain times will be a great asset for your team.
- How do you prioritise your tasks and manage your time?
- How do you stay organised and manage multiple duties and responsibilities?
- How do you stay focused and concentrated when working on a task?
- How do you handle competing demands or priorities?
- How do you manage your workload and meet deadlines?
- How do you manage competing priorities and responsibilities?
Answer tip: Here you will get an understanding of your candidate’s prioritisation skills and ability to handle multiple tasks and objectives at the same time. They should be able to organise themselves and prioritise effectively throughout the month and even day by day.
- Have you ever lead a group or team? How were the results achieved?
- Can you talk about a time when a project didn’t have a leader, but you took charge? Why did you take charge? What did you do?
- Describe a time when you were able to motivate unmotivated team members.
- Give me an example of when you delegated work across an entire team.
Answer tip: With these questions, you can understand how they set goals, prioritise team goals, and how they are both as a team member and as a leader. Your candidate should have strong team-building skills and delegate tasks efficiently.
- Give me an example of when you set a goal and how you achieved it.
- What was a time when you had to take the initiative to complete a task or project?
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to work independently and take ownership of a project?
- Can you provide an example of a time when you had to be persistent to achieve a goal?
Answer tip: Your candidate should describe how they set their goals and how they can achieve them. They should be realistic and tell you their actions to get there.
- Have you ever had to counsel a problematic team member? Tell me about that time.
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to lead a group or team through a difficult situation?
- Can you describe something that challenged you as a leader? How did the challenge change you?
Answer tip: No one likes dealing with uncomfortable situations. So, this question helps you understand how your candidate delivers sad news or deal with challenging team members in a group setting and how they can use their leadership skills to their advantage.
- Tell me about your first job in the industry. What did you do to learn the ropes?
Answer tip: These questions are great for understanding their interest and motivation towards their field. If you want someone who is always bringing new ideas and care deeply about their job, then these questions will show you who has a deep passion and motivation.
- What was a time when you had to handle a sensitive or confidential matter?
Answer tip: Company confidentiality is essential. It would be best if you had someone who would handle confidential information carefully and take care of things thoroughly. Your candidate should understand how vital sensitive data is and deal with it best.
- Describe a long-term project you managed. How did you make sure everything was running smoothly?
Answer tip: Having long-term goals and projects is always good. It can demonstrate how a candidate could prioritise their goals and handle both short-term and long-term goals simultaneously. A good candidate should be detail-oriented and guide you through how they achieve their goals.
We hope our top 99 behavioural interview questions helped prepare you for your following interview! Remember, behavioural interviewing is all about understanding how a candidate has handled past situations and their experience. By asking these types of questions, you’ll better understand a candidate’s skills, experience and overall fit for the role.
For more specific interview questions, you can go to our Interview Questions Template and get the specific Behavioural interview questions for your open position! You can even get examples of hard skill, soft skills, and situational questions particular to the role.