“Tell me about a time when…”
Have you ever had to face this sort of question before during an interview?
This is what’s called a behavioral question – favoured by most companies these days.
The intent of the question is to understand if you have faced the kind of situations you could typically face in your new job, and to see how you react to these situations.
The interviewer is not looking for a perfect solution here.
What matters is how you responded to the situation.
Here are some common pointers to keep in mind while answering these questions:
Respond in the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format – What was the situation you faced? What was the task you needed to accomplish? What action did you take? What result did you achieve?
Focus on what you did, and not just on what the team did. Remember, you are the one being interviewed, not your previous team.
Make sure the situation matches the premise of the question. If the question is about how you overcame budget constraints, don’t start talking about how you had to overcome opposition from your seniors.
Do not ramble. Add data to your answer to add a layer of quantification.
Search online for a list of common behavioral questions companies ask, and prepare a few answers to these questions BEFORE you go into the interview.