How to Best Prepare for a Behavioral Interview: 4 Easy Steps

Business people shaking hands in the office during a job interview

Amazing news, you have landed a job interview! Congrats; let’s prepare.   

There are many different types of interview techniques employers can use, but most use something called a behavioral interviewing technique, including us here at UKG.

In my almost decade-long career here, I have used this technique daily with our candidates. It has proven to create an equitable and clear interview process for both employer and candidate.  

Here are some of my favorite tips for preparing for a behavioral interview.  

What is a behavioral interview?

This interview technique is a way for interviewers to get to know you and how your experience matches with the job you are interviewing for, instead of hypothetical questions on how you would handle a certain situation. This method asks you to share an example of how you have handled a situation in the past.  

When I’m interviewing candidates, I let them know that this is the “tell me about a time” portion of the interview. Tell me stories about your experience. When you can communicate your skills and experience clearly with examples of your prior work, it shows the hiring manager and recruiter how you apply your knowledge in real-world situations.

If you find that you don’t have any examples to share from your prior work experience, you can use your volunteer or ERG (employee resource groups) experience. 

When you can communicate your skills and experience clearly with examples of your prior work, it shows the hiring manager and recruiter how you apply your knowledge in real-world situations.  



How do you prepare for a behavioral interview?

  1. Read the job description and review the soft skills as well as the basic requirements that are listed in the description. Get a good understanding of what the employer is looking for in a candidate.  
  2. Prepare examples of your experience that reflect the job requirements of the role. Write them down so you have something to review when practicing.  
  3. Prepare your responses in a STAR method response (more on this below).
  4. Practice your responses out loud and make sure to keep your responses short and concise.   

What is a typical STAR method response? 

STAR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This is the best way to frame your personal example when responding to a behavioral interview question.

Here’s an example behavioral interview question with answers:

Behavioral Interview Question:
Can you tell me about a time when you had to deliver bad news to a customer or stakeholder? 

STAR Method Response break down:
In my current role I was working with ABC customer and the project timeline had to be pushed out due to delivery of items being delayed. (Situation)

After a lot of back and forth it became clear that the timeline had to be pushed out. (Task)

I set up a meeting with my customer to let them know of the timeline change and that the delivery of items had been delayed. I also made sure to let them know what we will be doing to adjust for this change. (Action. Also insert more details in your action here if possible.)

In the end, the customer was grateful for the transparency and the action items that were taken to try to correct this error. We completed the project only one week short of our original timeline. (Result)

Ready for a little secret? The STAR method is really just storytelling your personal experiences. Be prepared, practice your responses, but don’t over complicate it. Tell your story and share your amazing skills with the interviewer.

Be yourself; you got this! 

Want more job tips from UKG recruiters?  Check out all our career advice.