Sample Behavioral Interviewing Questions

Compiled from the interviewing experiences of hundreds of managers and recruiters, the following list represents common behavioral interviewing questions.

  1. Give me an example of your initiative in handling a challenging situation.
  2. What are some of the things you find difficult to do?  Why is that?
  3. Tell me about a situation you faced that seemed to be impossible.  How did you handle it and what was the result?
  4. Do you consider yourself to be successful?  Why?
  5. Tell me about a situation where you had to deal with an angry or frustrated co-worker or client.  Specifically, how did you handle it?  Why did you choose that approach?  What were the results?
  6. What was the most important thing you have ever learned from your professional experience?  Why do you attach such great importance to this learning experience?
  7. What is the biggest mistake you ever made in your career and what did you learn from it?
  8. How would you define a work environment that is conducive to you being as productive as possible?  Why?
  9. If you could make one constructive suggestion to your current (or last) manager, what would it be?
  10. How does your manager get the best out of you?
  11. How do you get the best out of your manager?
  12. Describe the best manager you ever had?
  13. Describe the worst manager you ever had?
  14. Tell me about an occasion when your performance did not live up to your expectations.  How did you feel about it?
  15. What determines how long you stay with a company?  If they respond “challenge”, then ask:  How do you define “challenge”?
  16. Recall for me a major project you have worked on.  How did you organize and plan for it?
  17. What type of people do you get along with best?  Why is that?
  18. What do you consider to be your greatest strength?  Can you give me a recent example form your work where this strength was particularly useful?
  19. Do you consider your technical abilities (name specific technologies or software) to be basic, intermediate, or advanced?  Can you give me examples of specific projects where you have successfully utilized these technical abilities?
  20. In hindsight, how could you have improved your performance at your last position?
  21. Tell me about a time when you made a decision or handled an assignment where the procedures or instructions you had been given were unclear, ambiguous, or contradictory.  What did you do?
  22. Give me an example of a problem you encountered which required you to create a unique approach to coming up with a solution?
  23. Tell me about a time when you went beyond what is expected of you on your job.  What prompted you to do this?  What were the results?
  24. Describe a situation when you set challenging objectives for yourself and accomplished them (or did not accomplish them).


Behavioral Interviewing
Planning Worksheet

What technical skills are critical for high performance in this position?




   What “performance skills” are critical for high performance in this position (e.g., communication, leadership, influence, teamwork, planning/organizing, etc.)?


List the key/major projects and assignments you have completed in the last three years and the skills you developed while working on these projects/assignments.


Skills Developed



Note where there is overlap between the skills you believe to be important for the job and the skills you developed on previous projects.  Where this overlap exists, spend some time thinking through the details of the project and how you used your skills.


Skill Overlap





  1. In what type of position are you most interested?
  2. Why did you choose your particular field of work?
  3. What qualifications do you have that make you feel that you will be successful in our position?
  4. What were your extracurricular activities in college?  Now?
  5. Do you prefer working with others or by yourself?
  6. What kind of boss do you prefer?
  7. Can you take instructions without feeling upset?
  8. How did previous employers treat you?
  9. What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held?
  10. Can you get recommendations from previous employers?
  11. Have you ever had any difficulty getting along with peers, bosses, subordinates, customers, etc.?
  12. Do you have an analytical mind?
  13. What job in our company do you want to work towards?
  14. Do you like to travel?
  15. How about overtime?
  16. What kind of work interests you?
  17. What are your short-range objectives?  Long range?
  18. What can you do for us that someone else cannot do?
  19. Why should we hire you?
  20. Can you work under pressure?
  21. What were your five biggest accomplishments in your present (or last job)?
  22. What are the five biggest accomplishments in your career?
  23. How long would it take you to make a contribution to our company?
  24. What do you think of your boss?
  25. What do your subordinates think of you?  Peers?  Boss?  Customers?
  26. How would you describe success?
  27. How would you describe your personality?  Would others say anything different?
  28. Have you helped increase profits?  How?  Reduced costs?  How?
  29. And of course any questions involving technical areas of the jobs you have had.



  1. What can I do to be of the most benefit to your company?
  2. What responsibilities would you like this position to take over?
  3. What are some of the objectives that you would like accomplished by the person in this job?
  4. What other departments does this position interact with?
  5. How much orientation and training will be provided?
  6. Once I am trained, what additional responsibilities would you like me to take on?
  7. What is your personal philosophy or style of management?
  8. Why is this position open?
  9. What direction will the company be taking in the next five years?  What is the company’s vision?
  10. What kind of person will fit in best in this department?
  11. What are the backgrounds of the other people in the department?
  12. Why should someone be interested in your company?  In this position?
  13. If there were one thing you could change about the company (department), what would it be?
  14. What characteristics or traits make someone a success at your company?
  15. What does a typical workday or workweek consist of?
  16. What are the major short and long range department and company objectives?
  17. What one or two characteristics does the company feel are attractive about itself?
  18. What outside influences effect the company’s growth?
  19. In what areas, does the company excel and which areas does the company need improvement?
  20. Based upon what you have seen in me, where do you think I could contribute effectively?