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9 Behavioral Questions for Your Next Big Interview

Posted on 
June 22, 2020
Dipen Dadhaniya

Well, here you are! After all the long, gruelling hours of classroom sessions, intense mock tests, and pep talks, you’re finally here! Sitting in a chair, feeling a world away from comfort, as you breathe in the recycled, slightly stale, air conditioning, you send silent prayers to the heavens. On the other side of the very ordinary, 36”x80”, wooden door you’ve been staring at, lies the dream tech job for which you’ve been putting in all those hours. There lies your chance to make it to one of the biggest tech companies on the planet!  As you think of all the rounds of interviews you cleared in the process thus far, the momentousness of this last hurdle stirs up all kinds of emotions in you. 

This is when you bolster your confidence thinking of us, your trusted friends at Interview Kickstart, who you know are in your corner! Whether you’re going to be up against a whiteboard problem or spend hours in an interview hot seat, you know you’ve got this because Interview Kickstart has had your back right through this journey. This is what we helped prepare you for and why you now feel ready to nail the last round of your interview. 

We, at Interview Kickstart, understand how tech interviews work. While technical questions may be unique to each company, behavioral questions, which form an important part of a tech interview process, are fairly common across the board. 

Our experts have compiled a list of 9 important behavioral questions, and how to answer them, to help you ace your next tech interview.

  1. Define your dream job.

The good thing about this question is that there is no wrong answer. The key here is to convey a very clear idea of what you aim to achieve professionally, especially in the long-run. Be authentic. Top tech recruiters have been around long enough to see through insincere candidates and rehearsed answers. Substantiate your answer by talking about skills you possess that are relevant to your prospective work role. Through this question, recruiters are looking to gain insights into your key motivational factors.

  1. What do you do when you hit a wall?

It is important for recruiters to understand how candidates react to uncertainty. In an  ever-changing tech landscape, problems and challenges are constantly evolving too. This question aims to evaluate your problem-solving ability and resourcefulness when handling projects. Would you seek your manager's help to resolve an issue or try to find solutions independently when faced with a challenge? Do you look at work objectively to find the missing pieces or do you get too caught up in the details to see the big picture?

  1. Have  you worked on a side project related to but beyond your official job role?

A side project is essentially proof of your passion. Recruiters are always on the lookout for candidates who are not just looking for a job but an opportunity to develop their passions professionally. A side project indicates your dedication to your profession. It tells the recruiter that you are personally invested in developing your professional skills and bringing in additional value to the company.  

  1. What is your mantra for success?  

To answer this, communicate your approach to tasks; how you set goals, your thought process on achieving them, and the way you manage your workload. Highlight your efficiency in executing projects. Recruiters always assess a candidate’s cultural fit with the team and how well aligned they are with the company’s values and vision. Recruiters are keen to hire candidates who are self-motivated and action-oriented.

  1. How did you get started in your field?

This is a straightforward question. In this case, storytelling is key. No matter how technical or generic in nature your past roles might have been, make your story interesting and unique. This question gives you the opportunity to talk about the skills, influences and learnings you’ve had in life that motivated you to enter your chosen field. Talk about the challenges you faced in the initial stages of your career and how you overcame them. 

  1. Describe a teammate’s work style.

Interviewers are as interested in assessing your EQ (Emotional Quotient) as they are in assessing your IQ (Intelligence Quotient). In fact, your EQ probably carries more weight in assessing whether you’re a right fit for the prospective role. Avoid unintelligent answers like “He knew Java really well!” Instead, delve into the role your co-worker played in your team, how they handled tasks and how they interacted with other team members. Use explanatory statements such as “He could explain complicated problems in the simplest manner”. Additionally, highlight what you learnt from your colleague or how they earned your respect. 

  1. Describe a time in your career when you faced failure.

As you progress in your career, you’re bound to have a few hits and misses along the way. Candidates who are not upfront about their mistakes appear insincere and untrustworthy. Be honest and highlight a mistake you made or a failure you experienced in your previous job roles. However, remember to focus on explaining how you resolved or overcame the issue, your learnings from the experience, and how it helped you grow. 

  1. How would you deal with a difficult manager?

Your answer to this will indicate your views on leadership. Managers differ depending on their nature, outlook, and approach to mentorship. Supportive managers encourage subordinates to aim higher and achieve more. Difficult managers can impede your career progression. Your answer to this question should give the recruiter an insight into how you adapt to challenging situations. Highlight instances in which you and your manager did not see eye to eye and how you resolved the same. Did you act as a team player? Did you learn from the experience? Did the experience influence or impact you professionally or personally?

  1. What significant problems did you face on past projects? How did you resolve them?

This question gives you the perfect opportunity to showcase both your technical and non-technical skills. Explain challenges you faced in the various projects you handled, how you used your technical knowledge to assess the problem, and how you applied key behavioral skills such as communication or problem-solving to resolve them.

Additionally, check out these 35+ Technical Interview Questions to ace your next big interview.

Last updated on: 
August 8, 2023

Dipen Dadhaniya

Engineering Manager at Interview Kickstart

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