Mike is a senior manager and had an interview with a large financial institution.

Behavioral interviews

They asked him some behavioral questions and is not sure how well he answered them.

He would like to know how to prepare for behavioral interviews so that in the future when he is asked them he’ll be much more confident in his answers.

Mike’s Question:

I need help with behavioral interviewing. What is the best way to prepare for behavioral interview questions? I had an interview last week and they asked me to give them an example of a time I had to take charge in changing a corporate policy.

Can you give me an example of how I might have answered this question?

Don’s Answer:

The best way to answer behavioral interview questions is to be strategic and follow these guidelines:

1. You need to identify the key competencies for the position you are interviewing for.

2. Look back to your work history. What are some of your strongest accomplishments that demonstrate you are highly skilled in each of the key competency areas for the position?

3. It’s best not to list all your accomplishments on your resume so you have other accomplishments to talk about during your interview.

4. Choose accomplishments that are relevant to the job and that fully demonstrate skills.

5. Next, think about the best way you can explain your accomplishments to an interviewer.

6. Try not to prattle on with your answers. Keep them short and to the point.

7. Keep your answers positive and make sure your verbal communication supports your non-verbal communication.

There are three parts to answering behavioral questions:

behavioral questions use the STAR formula.

  1. Situation, Task, or Problem
  2. Action
  3. Result

First, describe the Situation or Task, then describe the Action you took, and then describe what happened.

As for your question, tell me about a time when you had to take charge in changing a corporate policy.

Situation or Problem:
At Fidelity, when I took over the Senior Fund Manager’s position, I found the other financial managers were not very aggressive and had a tendency to play it safe with one of our 529 fund portfolios. Being conservative was good because the fund did not lose money, but at the same time, it had a very low return.

For the next 9 months I worked toward educating other fund managers about diversifying and taking about 20% of the 529 fund and putting it into hedge funds and various other investment strategies with the hopes of boosting the funds performance. I worked directly with all of the managers and showed them the benefits as well as the mitigated risks of my plan.

We received support from upper management and the CEO of Fidelity to change our policy and allow up to 20% of the 529 portfolio to be invested with hedge funds and other more riskier investments. Within a 12 month period, fund performance was up 17%.

Inside the Complete Interview Answer Guide, Don shows job seekers how to answer behavioral interviewing questions. The 201+ sample answers in the guide will quickly help you craft your own professional answers for ALL types of interview questions for any occupation.

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