top of page


Behavioural interviewing is a reliable way of assessing the suitability of a candidate for a particular job. It allows the interviewer the capacity to assess what a person might or might not do in the future based on what he or she has done in the past.

Behaviours could include teamwork, problem solving or an ability to work well under pressure and candidates would be asked to draw on real-life experiences to explain how they tackle various issues.

Questions typically will commence with phrases such as: “give me an example of”, “tell me about a time when” or “desc

ribe a situation where you”.

Answers need to be detailed and about the candidate not about someone else. It is also a good opportunity to ask candidates about a time/s when things did not go well and what they learned from that experience.

Preparing Your Questions

Use your prepared position description and prepare a set of questions to ask every candidate to enable you to compare their responses and reduce the likelihood of discrimination during the interview.

Consider how you want the employee to perform their duties and how they should behave on the job.

Construct questions which relate to specific work situations.

When constructing behavioural questions probe for specific examples of an applicant’s past behaviour in situations which may be similar to those they will face in the position they are applying for. The applicant’s answers should include an example of a specific work-related situation, their response, and the outcome or their actions taken.

If the applicant has no experience in such situations, the questions may be formulated as situational questions. For example: “how do you think you would respond if…..?”. Be mindful that the applicant in this situation, may say what they think is the correct answer, rather than give a true indication of their own response. It may be useful to ask the applicant if they would handle situations differently with hindsight.

Examples of Behavioural Questions

Dealing with Customers/Customer Service

Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an angry customer. What did you do? What was the result?”


Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with a number of tasks at once. How did you do it? What was the outcome?

A Team Player

Tell me about a time when you had to deal with conflict in a team environment. How did you deal with it? What was the result?


Tell me about a time when you made a mistake. What did you learn from that mistake? What steps did you take to prevent that mistake happening again?”

The guideline to remember with behavioural interviewing is that the candidate’s answer:

a) gives an example of the situation

b) gives an example of how they dealt with it

c) gives an example of the outcome.

Debra Smith




bottom of page