Make Your Case:
Answer Any Behavioral Based Interview Question with this Strategy
“The most effective questions you can ask a candidate are behavioral-based questions," asserts the Resource Guide for Hiring Managers and Supervisors. If behavioral based questions are considered the most effective interview questions, what are the most effective answers to these questions and how can you come up with them? There’s one way to be prepared for almost any behavioral-based interview question: draft your own case studies before heading into your next big interview, and get ready to make your case.
A case study works a little bit like a roadmap to answering a behavioral based question. Prepare one before going in for your next interview, and you’ll know exactly where to start, what points to hit, and where to finish when your interviewer asks you one of those tricky questions like, “Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses at work that tested your coping skills. What did you do?”.
When you’re creating a case study, you’ll want to think of a project that you’ve worked on at work or in school that you felt passionate about. You should include every important detail you can think of about the project: who did you work with, what was the challenge you needed to solve, what was your strategy, how did your plan play out, and what were the end results? When you have all the significant points mapped out in front of you, you will have a clear and concise way to answer exactly what the problem or stress at work was and how you coped with it.
You’ll be able to use your case study to prove that you were successful with your project by providing a comprehensive explanation of the end result and how you reached it. If you were striving to bolster the online presence of your company and you can tell your interviewer that you increased the views on your company’s social media pages by 400% using the following strategy, your interviewer will recognize your ability to rise to a challenge and be reassured that you can bring these skills to their company.
While your resume might include some projects you worked on that you could use to answer a behavioral based question, the description of the challenge and your solution are likely just a bullet point amongst many. Without a case study, you might forget to include a significant detail about the project that you couldn’t fit on one line of text.
Maybe you realized that your company’s social media pages weren’t getting many clicks from Google searches, so you researched Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and found ways to incorporate keywords and phrases into your company’s Facebook posts to elevate the number of views per day as a result of Google searches. Your resume probably won’t do justice to all the research you did to reach the end result, but a case study will.
No matter your level of professional experience, a case study can benefit you. If you just graduated from college and haven’t spent much time in an office, you can flesh out all the details of the thirty page research paper you aced senior year through a case study and provide your interviewer with an in-depth view of your work ethic and problem-solving skills. If you’ve had twenty years of experience in the field you are applying to work in, your resume is probably pretty crowded–pulling out two or three projects you felt really passionate about and explaining them in depth will impress your interviewer by highlighting your true enthusiasm for your work.
Case studies are great for answering behavioral based questions, and the best part is you can tweak your case study to answer any question thrown at you. If your interviewer asks you to speak about a time you worked on a team, you’ll have information right in front of you about who you worked with and what challenges you overcame. You will be able to explain the challenges and benefits you experienced collaborating with a coworker and prove your ability to thrive as part of a team. With a few really great, detailed, and organized case studies, you’ll be able to answer any tricky question and make your case for the value you would bring to a company.
About the Author:
Sarah is a recent Boston College graduate with a degree in sociology, continuing her education by working toward a copy editing certificate. She continues to develop her copy editing while writing and editing blog posts for My Brand Evolved, LLC. In her free time, she enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles, cooking, and kickboxing.