How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

Cite this article as: Palistha Maharjan, "How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions," in Businesstopia, January 19, 2018,

How to answer behavioral interview questions?

A behavioral interview is one of the commonly used methods of the interview. It is a technique set up by the interviewers to know how a candidate conducts himself/herself in situations that are probable to rise in future.

During a behavioral interview, you will be asked questions to depict your past behavior. It is because past conduct predicts future behavior.

There is no particular way that you can predict what you will be asked by the interviewer, and there is no point worrying about it. All you can do is prepare beforehand and stay as calm as possible during the interview.

However, there are some commonly asked behavioral interview questions and you can find some tips here to answer these questions. You can read sample answers to the questions, but its best to answer them on your own.

1. Tell me about a time when a group project you were on failed.


A man with blindfolds on his eyes is throwing darts but failing to hit the target.

The reason that the interviewer asks you this question is to assess how you react to failure.
People who try to escape the charge by blaming other group members can never be on the “Employee of the Month” list of any company.

So when you answer this question, talk about what you’ve learned from the failure and how you tried to motivate everyone in the group. If there were external factors out of your control that led to the failure, Be Careful! You shouldn’t mention things like “We were unable to predict that the stocks would plummet.”

2. What is your biggest challenge you ever had to overcome?

By asking you this question, the interviewer is trying to know if you have the gait to overcome any obstacles that may come up in your way.

You should make sure that you don’t go on and on about the problems you have faced in the past. Instead, you should focus on that particular challenge and explain how you approached it. Also, explain the positive impacts that overcoming the challenge has caused in your life.

3. What is your biggest achievement upto now?


A hand is holding a trophy

To become a successful person, you should never forget to praise your achievements, no matter how big or small it is. So, what you consider to be an achievement says a lot about you.

You should not underestimate your achievement but you should not be extra-proud too. Try to be careful with your words and remember, DON’T FAKE AN ANSWER.

Talk about the achievement that you actually think is the biggest and it’s okay even if you explain a personal one. But, make sure that you don’t ramble on about the accolades that you’ve got. Instead, spend some time talking about how your achievement proved to be beneficial for others.

For example, if you were able to pull off a project in a tight deadline, talk about how your efforts helped the company without sounding proud and self-centred.

4. How would you work effectively under pressure?

Companies want to hire such people who don’t easily lose their mind under pressure situation.

So while you answer this question, avoid talking about your emotional experiences like how frustrated you were or how angry you got but focus on the solution that you came up with when you were under pressure situation.

For example, you could talk about how you asked your fellow team members for help without sounding like you were lazy to do works all by yourself.

5. Tell me about a time when you had to work with the most difficult individual. How did you manage to work with that person?

One employee is upset and the other one is angry.

Cite this article as: Palistha Maharjan, "How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions," in Businesstopia, January 19, 2018,

Obviously, in any workplace, not all the people will be cooperative but you will still need to collaborate with them for the work to be done. Your answer to this question helps the interviewer to know if you are able to keep your cool while working with people who you aren’t comfortable with.

Again, instead of rambling on about the qualities of that person that you disliked (avoid the temptation!), talk about how you solved the problem, whether by talking to your immediate supervisors about it or avoiding them. Try to answer sincerely without sounding harsh.

6. Tell me about a time you had to confront a friend.

By asking you this question, the interviewer is trying to know a few things about you

  • whether you are confrontational and thus a liability in the long run
  • if you are able to “agree to disagree”
  • if you have a tendency to force your opinions on people

When you start your answer, explain sincerely why you thought your friend was wrong. Make sure you talk about the facts that supported you, and if your friend took your advice and it benefited him/her, don’t forget to mention how.

7. Describe how you handled the situation when your trustworthiness was challenged.

Remember! You are giving a behavioral interview and the questions are supposed to make you uncomfortable. Interviewers ask this question to check how strong you are emotionally.

You can relate to an example from your personal or professional life to explain your answer. Make sure you

  • respond with facts that demonstrate you were right but with right gestures
  • don’t slouch or sigh
  • show that you were proactive in gaining back the trust and didn’t run away from the situation

8. When you worked on multiple projects, how did you prioritize the projects?


A busy employee is multi-tasking.

Don’t boast about how good multi-tasker you are and that you can juggle many balls. Here, the interviewer wants to know how good you are at prioritizing.
Smartly answer the question giving relevant examples and give reasons for each of your decision – why some task A was prioritized the most and why some other project B was given lesser priority.

9. Have you had to convince a team to work on a project they weren’t excited about? How did you do it?

The ability to lead and convince people is an important skill, especially if you are applying for a leadership or managerial level post.

Describe what benefits you saw in the project and how you conveyed them to your co-workers. Be very careful not to sound bossy and talk about how you made sure that you heard everyone’s opinion and were receptive to their concerns.

10. Have you handled a difficult situation with a client, with a supervisor or with another department? How?

Every company wants to hire problem solvers. Whether you are applying for the post of a waiter or the CEO, your ability to handle difficult situations is important to the company’s success.

Again, avoid the temptation to describe the situation in more detailed form than required. Just mention what the problem was and why you thought the client or supervisor was causing the issue.
Also talk about how you communicated the issue to the person in charge and how you got out of the situation, avoiding any animosity. Show that you are an open-minded and ready to accept that you might be wrong as well.