177 Tristan’s Tip : Prepping for Behavioral Interview Questions

On the fiftieth installment of Tristan’s Tips, our amazing host Tristan Layfield talks to us about preparing to answer behavioral interview questions. He lists five common lead-in questions to be aware of, and he also teaches us the PARK method – find out more by listening to the full show!

Connect with Tristan on LinkedInIGFB, and Twitter!


Tristan: What’s going on, Living Corporate?! It’s Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting, and I’m back again in collaboration with Living Corporate to bring you another career tip. This week let’s talk about preparing to answer behavioral interview questions.

One part about the job search process that many people hate is the interview. I’ve found that there is a deep-seated hate of behavioral interview questions and typically it’s because we haven’t given much thought to our previous experience before we get to the interview. Trying to recall the situation and what you did on the spot is incredibly difficult. If you come up with a great answer, it could ease your anxiety and allow the rest of the interview to flow smoothly. But if you fumble through an answer, your mindset shifts and you have the potential to bomb the interview.

But what if I told you there was a way to prepare that would ensure you can confidently answer these questions effectively selling your skillset to the interviewer? Well, I teach my clients how to build a story bank to prepare for any of the behavioral questions that may be thrown at them.

Before we get started let’s briefly talk about how to spot a behavioral interview question. Pay attention to how the questions you’re being asked start. There are 5 common lead-ins for a behavioral interview question:

* Tell me about a time when…

* What do you do when…

* Have you ever…

* Give me an example of…

* Describe a…

When an interviewer asks these, they are looking for a real-life example of how you handled a situation at work previously. To ensure you’re ready to answer you should have a story bank of actual examples to pull from so you’re not coming up with situations on the spot. Here’s the process to build your story bank:

First, read the job description in its entirety. All too often, I’ve seen candidates come into an interview not fully aware of the duties of the job. How can you prepare if you don’t know what you’re preparing for?

Second, now you’re going to hate me for this, but reread the description line by line. Pause at the end of each line and ask yourself, “what have I done that’s applicable to this?” Think about the problem that you’ve encountered in detail and what you were tasked with fixing. Then think about the actions you took to resolve that issue. Don’t state anything vague but get really detailed. Did you pull a cross-functional team together? What processes did you implement? Did you utilize some software? Think about all aspects of how you worked to solve the problem. Then think about the results you produced. What increased? What decreased? What became more efficient? Be sure to quantify those things if possible. Lastly, think about the knowledge you gained or the lessons you learned. Recruiters and hiring managers don’t want to just see if you know how to solve a problem, they want to see you’ve learned from that process.

This method is called the PARK method, Problem, Action, Result, and Knowledge. If you utilize it to answer those behavioral interview questions you might as well park your car in the employee lot because the job is yours.

This tip was brought to you by Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting. Check us out on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @LayfieldResume or connect with me, Tristan Layfield, on LinkedIn.

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