Resume Pro Blog

Behavioural Interviews

STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD using storytelling during an interview.

In addition to using behavioural style questions to help you develop your resume, you will also want to practice your answers to this style of question as you prepare for an interview.

If during an interview you find yourself being asked behavioural style questions, you’re lucky.  Behavioural style questions ask you to tell a story and stories are much easier than speculation or remembering a ‘textbook’ answer.  This style of question is also very focused, which will make it much easier for you to answer.

You can draw from your work, academic, volunteer and personal life experiences to answer these questions. 

The behavioural style interview is definitely to your advantage, as long as you are prepared to tell stories about how you demonstrated your knowledge, skills, abilities or other attributes (KSAO) in the past. 

This style of question is based on the belief that past behaviour predicts future behaviour.

Practicing will allow you to develop several stories that you can draw on in an interview.  Your stories will need to focus on the experiences that have prepared you for the specific position you are seeking. For example, if you are applying for a position as a bookkeeper, you will want stories that demonstrate your computer / software / keyboarding skills; knowledge of accounting; accuracy; communication; organization and time management; ethics; dependability; independence; tenacity; natural ability with numbers; and problem solving.  For example, employers will be much more interested in the story about how financial reports were quickly pulled together to support a successful funding application, rather than hearing that a potential candidate knows how to produce reports in Quickbooks.


Behavioural Style Questions – Examples:

Behavioural style questions will start with “Describe a time when…” or “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of…” or “How did you handle…?”

Here are a few examples:

Describe a time when you…

  • handled a challenging situation with a team member (or co-worker/manager).
  • led by example.
  • made an unpopular decision.
  • tried something that wasn’t successful.
  • learned a new skill.
  • had to take on something outside your comfort zone.

How did you handle…

  • a decision made by management that you didn’t agree with?
  • a difficult customer?
  • an issue with someone you were supervising?
  • finding a discrepancy?
  • a missed deadline?
  • a disappointment?

Tell me about a time you…

  • took responsibility for a mistake.
  • had to change direction.
  • hired or trained a new team member.
  • were part of a successful project.
  • problem solved a broken machine (or piece of equipment, or an instrument).
  • worked as a team to solve a problem.

For more behavioural style questions, visit the blog post Using Behavioural Style Interview Questions to Develop your Resume. You can also visit the post Traditional Style Questions.


Next Steps

  1. Search ‘Behavioural Style Questions (your field)’.
    1. Note: not all the examples online will be true behavioural style questions. Look for questions that ask you to tell a story.
  2. Write five behavioural style questions you think you might be asked.
    1. Start each question with, “Tell me about a time when…” or “Describe a time when…” or “How did you handle…?”
  3. Think about how you might answer each of these questions.
    1. What examples can you provide? 
    2. What stories can you tell?
  4. Write a few notes that will help you remember the story or stories you might tell an employer.
  5. Contact Resume Pro Canada if you have any questions about preparing for an interview; email us at or call (705)745-1607.

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