40 Top Behavioural Interview Questions (with Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 16 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

During a job interview, the hiring manager may ask questions about your behaviour. While these questions may vary from one interview to the next, there are several popular questions that a hiring manager may ask to get to know you better. If you're interviewing for jobs, then reviewing some common interview questions can help you prepare. In this article, we explain what behavioural interview questions are, share some of the most popular questions hiring managers ask and provide tips to help you impress potential employers.

Related: How To Succeed in a Virtual Interview

What are behavioural interview questions?

Behavioural interview questions refer to questions that hiring managers use to assess your response in specific situations. Hiring managers often use behavioural questions to develop a deeper understanding of who you are, how you approach challenges and the way you think. Your answers can help hiring managers determine whether you would be a good fit for their team based on your personality and work ethic.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

30 Behavioural interview questions

Here are 30 questions you can practise answering, categorised by topic:

Time management

Hiring managers may ask questions about how you prioritise tasks and achieve deadlines to assess your time management skills. Here are some common time management questions:

  • Tell me about a goal you set and reached. How did you achieve it?

  • Give me an example of a time you had to prioritise certain tasks or projects over others.

  • Tell me about the last time your workday ended before you were able to get everything done. What did you do?

  • Could you tell me about a time when you managed a long-term project? How did you keep it on track?

  • Give me an example of a time when you had to handle multiple responsibilities at once. How did you prioritise your time?

Adaptability

During your interview, the hiring manager may ask you questions about how you react to a variety of situations to assess how adaptable you are. Here are some popular questions about adaptability:

  • Can you tell me about a time you had to be flexible or adaptable?

  • Tell me about a time when you had to be creative to solve a problem.

  • Could you describe a time you had to learn something quickly?

  • How do you work under pressure?

Overcoming challenges

Potential employers may ask questions about how you've navigated challenging experiences in the past to understand how you might react if you encounter a similar situation. Some common questions about overcoming challenges include:

  • Tell me about a time when you handled a challenging situation.

  • Give me an example of a time you made a decision that was unpopular. How did you implement it?

  • Could you describe a goal you failed to achieve?

  • Tell me about a time you felt you went above and beyond.

Motivation and values

Throughout your interview, the hiring manager may ask questions about your goals and interests to better understand your motivation and values. Some popular questions they may ask include:

  • Give me an example of how you set goals.

  • Can you give me an example of a time when you felt dissatisfied with your work?

  • Tell me about a body of work you felt was most impactful for you or your company.

  • How do you stay motivated when a job requires you to perform repetitive tasks?

Communication

Being able to communicate effectively with other members of your team is an important skill in the workplace. Hiring managers may assess your communication skills by asking the following questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to say “no.”

  • Give me an example of a time when you persuaded someone. How did you do it and why?

  • Could you describe a time when you had to manage up?

  • Tell me about a time when you had to explain a complex topic to people with less subject knowledge. How did you make sure everyone could understand you?

  • Describe a time you had to build rapport with a coworker or client whose personality was different from yours?

Teamwork

Hiring managers may ask questions to learn about how you work with others to assess whether you're a good fit for their team. Here are some popular questions about teamwork:

  • Tell me about the best presentation you've given with another person.

  • Tell me about a time when you felt like a good leader.

  • Share an example of how you motivated your co-workers, your peers or your team.

  • Can you give me an example of how you've contributed to the culture of previous teams, companies or groups?

Conflict resolution

When tense situations arise in the workplace, hiring managers want to feel confident that you can resolve them. Here are some common questions about conflict resolution:

  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with a supervisor.

  • Have you ever had to stand up for your beliefs at work?

  • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your manager's leadership style or team culture.

  • Could you describe a situation with a coworker you would handle differently today and why?

The top 10 behavioural questions in an interview

Here are 10 common behavioural questions hiring managers ask during interviews:

  • Tell me about a time you made a difficult decision.

  • How do you approach challenges? What's your process?

  • Describe a time when you made a mistake. What did you do to correct it?

  • Tell me about a time when you collaborated with others who differed from you.

  • Give me an example of a time you used logic to solve a problem.

  • How have you resolved conflict with peers in the past?

  • What do you do if you disagree with another team member?

  • Tell me about a time when you delegated work across an entire team.

  • Tell me about the proudest moment in your professional career why it was meaningful to you.

  • Give me an example of a time you had to assume leadership for a team or a project?

Related: Seven Common HR Interview Questions and Answers

Behavioural interview question example answers

Here are some examples of three common behavioural interview questions with sample answers:

Tell me about a time when you made a mistake. What did you do to correct it?

Try to keep your answer to this question positive by focusing on what you learned from the experience. This can show hiring managers you're solution orientated and resilient.

Example: "When I was working at a printing company, I misquoted the fees for a particular job. I realised the mistake, I went directly to my manager and explained what happened. He said he appreciated my honesty and suggested that we waive the setup fee for the job as an apology to the customer. I spoke to the customer directly, explained what happened and offered to waive the setup fee. The customer understood and appreciated the effort to make the situation right.

After that happened, I printed our price sheet to have it quickly at hand and implemented a new process for quoting estimates, one in which I double-check the final estimate before sending it."

What do you do if you disagree with another team member?

Hiring managers may ask this question to assess your conflict resolution skills. Try to think of a time when you disagreed with someone about a work-related topic instead of a personal one. Then focus on how you used your negotiation and communication skills to compromise.

Example: "In my last role, I was in charge of building out quotes for projects. One of our sales representatives wanted me to lower a quote I put together for a potential client because they had a limited budget, and he didn't want to miss out on signing them. I knew my company wouldn't make a profit if I lowered the price, but the sales representative was insistent.

I met with him in person to explain the number of hours the project required and the cost of materials. Once he understood how I developed the quote, he agreed with me and we were able to negotiate a reasonable budget with the client."

Tell me about a time when you collaborated with others who were different from you.

When answering this question, try to focus on your communication and creative problem-solving skills. This can show hiring managers you're capable of working on a team and overcoming challenges.

Example: "When I worked as the marketing manager for FDL, Co., I realised the marketing team and the sales team had different objectives. I knew we needed to improve communication between departments to achieve the company's goals, so I set up a recurring monthly meeting with the sales manager. This helped us align our efforts so we could support each other and improve our performance."

Tips to prepare for interview questions about behaviour

Here are some additional tips to help you prepare for your interview:

  • Practise your answering common interview questions. Recruit a friend, family member or colleague to help you practise answering interview questions. This can improve your confidence and help you hone your delivery.

  • Review the job description. Identify specific skills the employer is looking for by reading the job requirements carefully. Create a list of times you've used those skills in the workplace and draw on these situations when developing your answers.

  • Research the interviewer. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the interviewer and the company you're applying for. This can help you build rapport during your interview.

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