The 8 Most Common Behavioral Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Making Them Like a Pro

If you’ve clicked on this article, chances are you’re preparing for a job interview or just want to up your interview game. We all know how nerve-wracking interviews can be, especially when it comes to answering those tricky behavioral questions. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back! In this must-read post, I’ll share the 8 most common mistakes candidates make when answering behavioral questions in interviews and how you can avoid them like a pro. So, let’s dive right in!

Unraveling the Purpose of Behavioral Questions:

First things first, let’s understand why interviewers even ask these questions. Their main goal is to assess your past behavior, skills, and experiences, and see how they align with the job you’re applying for. So, don’t be caught off guard—while planning your answers before, think about the profile of the candidate they are looking for. What skills and values would they like to see in that person and tailor your answers to cover some of these points. Think about how your message could be misinterpreted and clarify your answer with as much context and details as possible.

Be the STAR of Your Interview:

OK, if you’ve been reading my blogs you will know that I don’t use the STAR model but a slightly enhanced version of it called HCCARR (Headline, Context, Challenge, Action, Result and Reflection) But at the very least if STAR is what you are working with use it. The most important thing is to have a consistent structure through your answers and learn the framework, that way if they throw you a curveball question that you haven’t prepared for at least your answer with be well-laid out and logical. If you’d like to know more about my HCCARR model click here for that article.

Your Unique Story Matters:

Nobody likes clichés, and your interviewer is no exception. Ditch the generic responses and instead share specific examples from your unique experiences. This will help you stand out and leave a lasting impression. Generic answers do not prove anything, they are the perfect example but when do we ever have perfect situations at work. Instead, think of a real life task you worked on which best fits the question. Concentrate on the hows and whys of your actions over the whats. The rest of the other candidates will answer a chronological list of tasks they did but you will stand out as the interviewer will better understand the reasoning and logic of your actions.

A Little Research Goes a Long Way:

Take the time to research the company and the role you’re applying for. Tailor your responses to showcase how your skills and experiences align with the company’s values and job requirements. Wikipedia is a great start, but it is just that, the start. Move onto Googling news articles about the company and possibly product or department you will be working with. Check out the careers page on their website, whatever the company places here is what they want you to know and even their social media posts such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. This will give you a more familiar feel to what is happening with the company and will demonstrate you have gone above and beyond in your research prep.

Stay Positive, Stay Professional:

Remember, bad-mouthing your past employer or colleagues is a big no-no. Focus on the positives and the lessons learned from your experiences. This will show your professionalism and ability to learn from the past. At the very least avoid talking about others as the interviewer is not interviewing them instead focus on yourself and try to shine light on what makes you the best choice for the role.

Know Thyself:

Self-awareness is key when it comes to interviews. Reflect on your experiences, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and be ready to discuss them in a thoughtful and balanced manner. Your interviewer will appreciate your honesty and growth mindset. Sometimes we have to answer about bad experiences or when things went wrong, make sure that you have a happy ending to the answer, a moment where you were able to self develop and apply your new learnings into a future project. Additionally, don’t assign blame outside find a way to share the burden of blame and concentrate on how what you did, helped improve the outcome.

Keep It Short and Sweet:

Rambling is a surefire way to lose your interviewer’s attention. Practice delivering clear, concise, and well-structured answers. If you find yourself straying off course, pause, take a deep breath, and refocus on the key points you want to convey. Planning is essential, write out the answer in full sentences as if you were making a script, but don’t learn it as a script, each time you recall the answer it should be slightly different to make sure you don’t sound robotic or monotone, if you forget 20% of what you wanted to say, don’t worry! They don’t know what you wrote and will think that what you said was perfect.

Practice Makes Perfect:

The secret ingredient? Practice, practice, practice! Seek feedback from an interview coach, friends, or family to fine-tune your responses and build confidence. Record yourself on your computer or phone to listen to your responses, I know we all hate listening to ourselves speak but focus on the content of what you’re saying and not how you sound. Try to get rid of bad habits such as filler words like “erm”, “like”, “right?” etc.

Now that you’re armed with these tips, you’re ready to tackle those behavioral questions and shine in your interview. However, if you’d like some extra support in your interview preparation, I highly recommend getting in touch with me at where you can book a free discovery call to help you up your interview game and achieve success. So why wait? I look forward to hearing from you.

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