Mastering the art of behavioural interviews

Published on: 24 Nov 2023

Behavioural interviews have become a cornerstone in the hiring process for engineering roles. Unlike traditional interviews that focus on technical skills, behavioural interviews aim to assess your past experiences, behaviours, and responses to specific situations. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what behavioural interviews entail and provide valuable insights on how engineers can excel in them.

Understanding behavioural interviews:

Behavioural interviews are designed to uncover a candidate’s soft skills, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal competencies. Instead of hypothetical questions, interviewers inquire about real-life situations you’ve encountered in your career. The premise is that past behaviour is a reliable predictor of future performance.

A key way of answering questions in behavioural interviews is using the STAR Technique:Situation: Describe the context and background of the situation.

  • Task: Outline the specific task or challenge you were facing.
  • Action: Detail the steps you took to address the situation.
  • Result: Conclude with the outcomes of your actions and the impact they had.

Other key components of behavioural interviews:

  1. Identify the key competencies relevant to the engineering role you’re interviewing for. Common competencies include teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, communication, and adaptability.
  2. Review the job description and identify the key skills and competencies sought by the employer.
  3. Reflect on your past experiences and achievements, considering situations that highlight your abilities in the targeted competencies.

How to excel in behavioural interviews:

Research the company

Gain a deep understanding of the company culture, values, and the specific competencies they prioritize. Tailor your responses to align with these.

Craft compelling stories

Develop concise yet detailed stories that showcase your experiences. Ensure they follow the STAR technique for clarity and structure.

Quantify your achievements

Whenever possible, quantify the impact of your actions. Use metrics or percentages to provide a tangible measure of success.

Show adaptability

Engineers often face dynamic and evolving challenges. Illustrate your ability to adapt by discussing situations where you successfully navigated change or ambiguity.

Demonstrate teamwork

Collaborative skills are highly valued in engineering. Share experiences that highlight your ability to work effectively in a team, resolving conflicts or achieving common goals.

Continuous improvement

Emphasise your commitment to professional development. Discuss instances where you identified areas for improvement and took proactive steps to enhance your skills.

Stay positive

Even when discussing challenging situations, maintain a positive and constructive tone. Highlight the lessons learned and how you’ve grown from each experience.

Mastering behavioural interviews is a crucial step toward securing a rewarding engineering position. By understanding the key components, preparing thoughtfully, and showcasing your skills through compelling stories, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you not only have the technical expertise but also the interpersonal and problem-solving skills essential for success in the field. Approach each question with confidence, and remember, your past experiences are powerful indicators of your future potential.