How to Handle a Behavior Event Interview

A lot of times when you go to an interview, you’ll get questions that ask you to describe how you handled a difficult situation with a customer, boss, co-worker or subordinate. You may also be asked to talk about a specific example of how you improved a process with your work, or made things more efficient. These are what we call “behavior event interviews,” and they can be challenging if you are not prepared for them because the questions are so open-ended.

Fortunately, these are also the kinds of questions that you can prepare for ahead of time. As you do so, consider the acronym BAR:

  • Background: At the outset of your response to any behavior event interview question, you will want to give a background of the project in question, or the relationship that you will be discussing. The point is to give the interviewer a glimpse at the big picture for some context.
  • Action: Next, give an overview of the specific actions that you took to resolve the situation in question. The key word here is “specific,” so give whatever examples you can, including how you collaborated with others, what analytics you used to determine a project’s weak points, etc. Give your interviewers a look into your thought process. This should make up the bulk of your answer.
  • Results: Finally, close your response with the results that your action had and how it improved either your company as a whole or your relationship with someone in your business.

This system is a simple way to prepare yourself for any BEI-type question. Keep it in mind the next time you go in for an interview!


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