Behavior Interviews

A behavior interview is a technique that is used to access candidate’s past behavior in different circumstances. It gives helpful insights into candidate behavior. For example instead of having discussion around hypothetical situation, discussion happens around actual real life situations. Common questions starts with phrase like “Tell me about a time………”. 

Expected answer for behavior interview question are in STAR i.e. Situation, Task, Action and Response format. Tough some companies recommends either SAR which is Situation, Action and Response format or SARI Situation, Action, Response and Interesting facts or learning. In case of SARI the last part is useful as it gives more insights into learnings from the incident. It also makes story more interesting by adding interesting facts.

How to create stories for your answers?

To frame your answer to create an interesting story for the situation below are some tips and tricks.


1) Understand the psychology behind the question. Why is this question asked?
2) Tie your answer with core values or leadership qualities or principles. Companies like Amazon lives by their 14 leadership principles. Their behavior interview questions are tied to those leadership questions.
3) Restrict your answer to 2-3 minutes. This will allow healthy discussion with the interviewer. 
4) If applicable provide data that helps to quantify the outcome of the story. For example if story is related to some innovating idea then how much money it saved or what was the gain when your idea got released to production.
5) Create stories in your own word.
6) Use stories from your personal experience. If you didn’t find a situation from professional experience tell story from your school/college.

Some examples to begin sentences for different part of the stories are below:

Situation or Beginning (Set the stage) : 

Get to the point quickly. Do not spend too much time setting stage. Frame your sentences like:

  • I was in a situation where ……………………..
  • I was in a situation where ………………. happened, and no one knew what to do. 
  • My co-worker and I disagreed on ……………….. 
  • I was in a situation where ………………………. 
  • I made a mistake when I ………………… 
  • I was on a team that was tasked with ………………………… 
  • The team was struggling with …………………………. 
  • I was assigned a project that was due in X amount of time …………………………
  • I figured out that this was going to take X amount of time and I only had X amount of time to..
  • My boss wanted to do ………………………….
  • I worked on ………………….. and I received criticism that said …………………………….
  • I disagreed with my boss, because ………………………
  • I was working with a co-worker and ……………………….

Action or Middle (Main content of the story) 

Narrate this section around what action you took? Frame your sentences like:            

  • The action I took was ………………………………
  • The things I suggested were …………………….
  • I stepped up to the plate and ……………………

Result or End (How did it turn out?):

 In this section result summarize the outcome of the story. Add interesting features and learning at the end. Frame your sentences like:

  • What ended up happening was………………………
  • The result was that …………………………………. 
  • The result of what I said were ……………………… 
  • The results that came from my actions were ……………………..
  • What I learned was ……………………………..
  • What was interesting about this was ………………

Next part of this blog contains list of common behavior interview questions. Feel free to post a comment if this article is helpful or you want to add something to article.