Mastering Your First Behavioural Interview: A Comprehensive Guide

Facing your first behavioural interview can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the format. However, with the right preparation and mindset, you can approach it confidently and showcase your skills and experiences effectively. In this guide, we’ll explore what a behavioural interview entails, how to prepare for it, and provide tips to ace your first behavioural interview.

Understanding Behavioural Interviews:

Behavioural interviews are structured interviews designed to assess how candidates have handled specific situations in the past, as a predictor of future behaviour. Instead of hypothetical questions, employers ask candidates to provide real-life examples of how they have dealt with challenges, conflicts, or achievements in previous roles. The underlying idea is that past behaviour is a good indicator of future performance.

Cropped image of unrecognizable people sitting in the waiting room on chairs in line for interview

Preparing for Your Behavioural Interview:

  1. Research the Company and Role:
    • Understand the company’s mission, values, and culture to tailor your responses accordingly.
    • Familiarise yourself with the job description and identify key skills and experiences required for the role.
  2. Identify Relevant Experiences:
    • Review your resume and identify specific examples from your past experiences that demonstrate relevant skills and competencies.
    • Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses effectively.
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice:
    • Rehearse your responses to common behavioural interview questions. Some typical questions include:
      • “Can you tell me about a time when you faced a challenging situation at work and how you resolved it?”
      • “Describe a time when you had to work under pressure to meet a deadline. How did you handle it?”
      • “Give me an example of a successful project you completed and the role you played in it.”
    • Practice articulating your experiences concisely and confidently.
  4. Be Specific and Provide Details:
    • When answering questions, be specific about the situation, the actions you took, and the results you achieved.
    • Use quantifiable results whenever possible to demonstrate the impact of your actions.
  5. Stay Calm and Positive:
    • Maintain a positive attitude throughout the interview and project confidence in your abilities.
    • If you encounter a question you’re not prepared for, take a moment to gather your thoughts before responding.
  6. Ask Thoughtful Questions:
    • Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the role, team dynamics, or company culture.
    • Asking insightful questions demonstrates your interest in the position and can help you gather valuable information.

Tips for Success:

  • Listen Carefully: Pay attention to the interviewer’s questions and ensure your responses directly address what they’re asking.
  • Be Honest: Authenticity is key in behavioural interviews. Be truthful about your experiences, even if they include challenges or failures.
  • Highlight Transferable Skills: If you lack direct experience in certain areas, emphasise transferable skills that are relevant to the role.
  • Follow Up: Send a thank-you email or note after the interview to express your gratitude and reiterate your interest in the position.

Man in interview with female


Your first behavioural interview may seem daunting, but with thorough preparation and practice, you can navigate it successfully. Remember to showcase your experiences, skills, and achievements effectively using the STAR method, and approach the interview with confidence and enthusiasm. By following these tips and staying true to yourself, you’ll be well-equipped to ace your first behavioural interview and impress potential employers.