Behavioral interviews require answers, not your questions

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Adapted from a recent online discussion with career advice columnist Lily Garcia.

Arlington: I have a behavioral event interview coming up next week. I understand the general ideas behind a BEI, but does that format allow for me to ask questions about the organization?

Lily Garcia: Behavioral interviews are based on the principle that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. In a behavioral interview, job applicants are asked a series of hypothetical questions designed to elicit detailed information regarding how they might respond to the demands of the job. The behavioral interview might allow a period for your questions at the end. It all depends on how strictly the organization sticks to the format.

Washington: I had a behavioral interview with about seven questions. Two of the questions stumped me. Just flat-out stumped me. I wound up not answering them. (After pausing for 20 seconds, "Can we move on to next question?" was my response.) I'm told that this shows poise. But I'm also told that it shows you aren't a good fit or don't have a good background. Am I in trouble? Is there hope?

Lily Garcia: I am very sorry, but the honest truth is that skipping over behavioral questions in an interview will most likely disqualify you from consideration.

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