Behavioral Interviews Are Having A Moment

The way employers see it, there’s a major problem – a gap within their ranks that needs filling, not a job. And they’re looking to qualified candidates to solve that problem. In order to find that perfect match, someone they can trust with their business for the long haul, hiring managers are taking the time to prepare for each interview phase. Each question is designed with a specific intent in mind, namely, to hone in on those hard-to-explain topics, bringing the hiring process to a whole new level of complicated. Because soft skills are becoming just as important as technical abilities, you bet there will be intimate questions aimed to key in on your unique personality and innate behaviors.



We’ve all heard the saying, “your past behaviors dictate your future responses,” but did you know that this same philosophy is being used in the interview room today? Instead of asking, “How would you handle this situation?” employers are asking “How did you handle that situation?” Everyone predicts they’ll do better in the future, if given the chance, and job seekers have already perfected the responses they think employers want to hear, rather than the cold, hard truth. To counteract the “shoulda wouda coulda” mentality, employers are turning to the facts for answers. So how do you tackle these tricky behavioral-based questions?


S – Situation: You begin by briefly providing context using a real life situation you experienced. This is the “before” picture, which illustrates what was happening “at the time” of the situation.

O – Obstacle: You then articulate the issues or define the problem. This gets the interviewer’s attention regarding what it is you had to overcome.

A – Action: You then explain the action you took to resolve the situation.

R – Result: Lastly, you share the result of your actions. Sharing the quantifiable as well as qualitative outcomes.


  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client or coworker.
  • Tell me about your most significant achievement in your last job.
  • Tell me about the most significant mistake you’ve made, how you handled it, and what your learned from it.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to sell your boss on a new product, service, or program.
  • Give me an example of a problem you faced on the job and how you dealt with it.
  • Give me an example of how you dealt with an employee who was not performing up to expectations
  • Give me a recent example of how you went about motivating your coworkers and subordinates.
  • Recall a time when you challenged your boss and/or company policy
  • Tell me what you did in your last job to build teamwork.

Now that you know the preferred method for answering these tough questions, it’s important that you plan out your responses ahead of time and back up your past experiences with measurable outcomes. Take a close look at the job description. Can you think of examples from your background that apply to the key accountabilities listed for the specific role? And remember, the SOAR method won’t work unless every response you give in the interview connects back to the employer’s needs. After all, at the end of the day, that’s why you’ve been called into the hot seat.

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Are you actively interviewing? Have you had a behavioral-based question go completely awry? Tell us about it on Career Reform’s Facebook page! We’d be happy to give help you craft an appropriate response you can use for next time. For more interview prep, register for our FREE webinar next Wednesday, July 9 at noon.

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