Tips on answering commonly asked behavioral HR interview questions dealing with your past such as 'Describe a situation where you regret your actions'
TIPS on answering Behavioral Interview Questions |Commonly asked questions on Strengths and Achievements
What are your Strengths? / Can you give an example of some innovative or creative idea that you’ve had? / What is your proudest achievement?
“My greatest strength is my work ethic. And I believe that my academic scores reflect that. Whatever tasks are assigned to me, I always try to complete them dutifully.”
“I am a people-person. I like interacting with people and making them smile. I have done Standup routines at our Amateur Club on Campus. I loved that experience. I think it will definitely come in handy in this Sales Opening.”
The best answers include illustrations demonstrating those strengths and are relevant for the role that the candidate is being interviewed for.
1. Don’t be humble. This is your chance to brag and “sell yourself.”
2. Don’t offer strengths that are irrelevant or lame.
3. Don’t offer strengths that are contradicted by your CV. You cannot say that you’re a studious hard-working student if your grades are poor.
1. Introspect and identify your strengths.
2. Come up with specific examples demonstrating those strengths.
3. Talk about strengths that align with the role that you’re applying for.
Are you engaged in a Job Search? - You can get your Resume / CV reviewed for free and then apply for jobs/ internships.Commonly asked questions on Weaknesses and Failures:
What are your weaknesses? / What are your biggest regrets in life? / Can you give an example of a time you failed to achieve your goals?
Choose a Weakness that is:
Obvious and has been noticed by the Interviewer already:
“English is not my primary language. My Spoken English is not very good.”
“I have not performed well academically.”
Something that is NOT extremely crucial for the role that you are applying for *
For an IT Role: “I get nervous when I am on stage. I am not very good at public speaking.”
For a Sales & Marketing Role: “I have always performed poorly in Mathematics. Trigonometry and Calculus are just not my cup of tea.”
A common human failing that is shared by most people
“I have not really made the most of the opportunities that life has given me.”
“I have done poorly in courses where the subject matter or the Professor was boring.”
[* If you are breaking this rule, you should have a good story on self-improvement.]
Personalize your Story. Wrap it up with a neat ending!
End your story with the promise of improvement in the future:
“My academic scores from school are very good. But, somehow, in college, I have lacked motivation, possibly because my parents were not around to push me. I realize that it is time for me to grow up.”
“I have just done the minimum to get by in college. I have not pushed myself to do my best, either academically or in campus events/ clubs etc. When I look back, there are so many opportunities I have missed by being lazy. From now on, I intend to make the most of every opportunity I get in life!”
“I have performed poorly in subjects that have bored me. I do realize that in my career, I’m not always going to be involved in exciting projects. However, I believe that I have the necessary discipline to power through boring routine tasks related to work.”
End your story with indications of personal improvement already happening:
“I come from a poor background. I did not attend an English Medium School. However, I have enrolled in a Spoken English Course and I think there has been significant progress.”
“I have enrolled in a Toastmasters Club in my city to get over my fear of public speaking.”
“I compensate for being bad in Mathematics by paying significant attention to detail in basic arithmetic and data handling. For instance, I track my daily finances rigorously to ensure that I keep my college expenses to a minimum.”
1. Copy the examples we have given and repeat it verbatim.
2. Be afraid about opening up and revealing weaknesses about yourself
3. Mug up your answer so that it sounds rehearsed and artificial
1. Introspect. Identify a weakness that is actually true.
2. Realize that nobody is perfect. The best we can do is identify our weaknesses and work on them.
3. Note down your answer in bullet points to help you remember. But, don’t practice it verbally multiple times.
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Where do you see yourself in five years? / What are your long term goals? / What have you always dreamt of achieving since you were a child?
“I want to build something – a Software Service, a Website or an App that becomes very popular. Basically I want to be involved in building this from scratch and I would love to see it grow and become a household name.”
“I want to work at an Organization where I can learn and grow quickly to take on more responsibilities over time. Ultimately, I want to build a career that leads towards me getting involved in product strategy and management.”
The best answers demonstrate ambition without raising any concerns that the candidate might quit immediately after joining.
1. Don’t talk about a career path that is not aligned with the job role.
2. Don’t talk about roles that are not available at the Organization you’re interviewing with.
3. Don’t have unrealistic goals. You cannot say that you want to become the CEO of the company in five years, if you’re interviewing as a Fresher.
1. It’s OK to be generic and talk about advancing your career in a particular stream.
2. Demonstrate enthusiasm and ambition.
3. Express interest in a long term career, rather than short term gigs.Commonly asked questions on experience dealing with stress and conflict:
Describe a situation where you had to make a tough decision. / Describe a situation where you had to manage a conflict. / When have you been the most stressed out in your life?
=> “During a team presentation with my friend, he was supposed to bring the PPT in his USB after some final corrections. But, he was absent and I had to deliver my speech without a Presentation. Luckily, I’d memorized most of it and I was able to use the white board to highlight my points as I talked.”
=> “During my internship, I believe that my Manager had formed a negative opinion of me. So I sat down with him and had a heart-to-heart discussion where we managed to thrash things out successfully. Today, he is one of my most cherished mentors.”
Start by describing the situation which was the cause of stress or conflict. Then, talk about your actions in response to that situation as a way of showcasing your interpersonal skills. Finally wrap up your response with a happy ending.
1. Don’t pick an example which shows you in bad light, because you were the cause of the conflict.
2. Don’t be vague. Choose a very specific scenario to answer this question.
3. Don’t say that you’ve never been stressed out in your life.
1. Choose a good example where you took an active approach and managed to produce positive results.
2. Describe the situation as well as your actions in detail.
3. If possible, choose a conflict that is common in a professional organization.