7 Great Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that behavioral interview questions have become the norm.

The problem is, most job applicants struggle to answer behavioral interview questions properly because they don’t know know the one trick to acing this type of interview!

I’ve given thousands of interviews and know exactly how the answers should be constructed.

In this blog post I’m going to give you 7 perfect examples of behavioral interview questions and answers to each one. You will know exactly how to answer when behavioral interview questions are coming at you one after another.

Don’t Be Afraid!

You might be saying to yourself, “Man I’m kind of nervous for these behavioral interview questions!”

I assure you though, there is no need to be scared. Let me show you why…

These types of questions allow the interviewer to hear you tell a story, and show them if you are calm and cool under pressure.

So, the funny thing is, you’re already well prepped for behavioral interview questions!

That’s because you have real life scenarios that will give the interviewer the type of answers  that they’re looking for.

Trust me…

With a little prep and thought, you will crush these questions!

Avoid the One Biggest Mistake

There’s one mistake that most applicants make, and it’s easy to avoid…

The behavioral interview questions will always be asked in a similar form.

That form will be, “Tell me time when you pleased a customer.

The mistake that most applicants make is that they answer the question with a general statement.

An example of a general statement type answer is, “I always try to go out of my way to help customers and make sure they’re happy”.

That answer doesn’t give the interviewer any information about what you actually did in the scenario.

The interviewer want’s a specific example. A real life situation.

When you give a general answer about your overall philosophy, there is no proof or evidence of what you did to make sure that customers were happy!

interview questions for job hoppers youtube thumbnail
Also see Nick’s 9 Perfect Interview Questions for Job Hoppers

How to be a STAR and Give the Answers to They Want

Replying with the answers to the behavioral interview questions is actually simpler than you think.

So how do you do it? Easy…

Answer in the form of a story!

There is a very popular interview technique called STAR, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

As you answer, just make sure that you hit all 4 of those topics!

What was the SITUATION you were in?

What was the TASK at hand?

What was the ACTION you took?

What was the RESULT of your actions?

For example, if the question is, “Tell me about a time you had an argument with a coworker, what did you do to resolve it?

Your answer would just be the story, in detail, when you had a dispute with a coworker, and how you resolved it. That’s it!

Be sure to hit your S.T.A.R. and I promise the interviewer will be impressed, maybe even relieved, because you told the whole story start to end.

And a quick but ultra-important piece of advice:

Don’t over think it! Just tell the truth.

I cannot stress that enough!

That’s because answering with a true story, full of details, tells the interviewer exactly what to expect from you if they were to make you a job offer.

Job Interview

The Questions Will Fit the Environment

You don’t need to worry about studying for all sorts of crazy scenarios. That’s because the  behavioral interview questions will pertain to the industry you are applying for.

Let me give you a few examples…

If you are applying at a company that deals with face-to-face customers, expect a question about a difficult customer you have dealt with.

Trying to get a job with a call center? Anticipate a question about a customer using bad language and threatening you.

Are you going to be working on a team? You can expect a question about collaboration and how you make sure everyone has a voice.

Going for a sales position? Then you know there will be a question about persuading a customer or maybe the largest sale you ever made.

You see, it’s not incredibly difficult to know what to expect.

Alright, let’s get to it! Here are…

The 7 Most Common Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

Ok, here are the 7 most common behavioral interview questions and answers to each one!

Question 1. “Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a coworker and how it was resolved.”

This is a great question because most people won’t tell the truth because they shy away from the work “conflict”.

Answer 1. Give them THE TRUTH about a time that you had a conflict with a teammate. What started it, how did it escalate, what did you do, who was wrong, how did you speak to the person, was there a past of issues between you, what ended up happening? Tell the story!

Question 2. “Give me an example of a time when you did exceptional work.”

This question is great because it allows you to detail a time where you excelled!

Answer 2. Your answer here should be in 3 parts; First, the thing that you killed it on! What was the accomplishment? Second, it should involve some humility. Don’t go tell them you are the best at everything and no one else on earth understands that. No, tell them you took the actions that you did because its in your values or maybe it’s how you were raised. Third and finally, your answer should involve other people. Who did you teach or who else contributed. I’m not saying give ALL the credit away, but make sure you recognize the people that assisted you.

Question 3. “Tell me about a time you worked as a team to overcome the odds.”

I love this freaking question! I ask it myself in interviews that I conduct because I want to know if the applicant can work with others and be successful, or if they are more of the Lone Ranger type. By the way, both are ok!

Answer 3. This is as easy as telling them about your job at McDonald’s, how you all banded together on a Saturday when the drive thru speaker system went down and you all had to work together to ensure customers didn’t suffer.

Question 4. “Did you ever have a time where you had a policy that you didn’t agree with?”

It sounds like a trap!!! But it’s not I promise. Just tell the truth. Every large company has countless policies, and every employee has at least one they don’t agree with!

Answer 4. Just tell them the policy or procedure that was implemented, and why you disagreed with it. But, be sure not to roll your eyes, or become visibly negative. The interviewer wants to see how you handle this, because they know it’s going to happen again. Tell your story about how you implemented it even though you didn’t agree with it, and if you can, inject some details about how you supported others to implement the policy as well.

Question 5. “Tell me about a time that you saw someone doing something wrong and what you did.”

This seems similar to question 4, and it can be, but to really ace this question, go for the moral issue detailed below!

Answer 5. This can be a tough one because it can be answered two ways. Way 1; You describe a time that a coworker was doing a procedure wrong and how you stepped in and supported them. If you go that route, be sure to include what you taught them! Way 2 to answer; Describe a time that you witnessed someone doing something immortal and how you addressed it. It could be stealing time, or taking office supplies, or even a situation where there was someone being bullied! Either answer is fitting, but way 2 is much more impressive!

Question 6. “Give me an example of a time you handled a difficult customer/client.”

Great question, and maybe the most common for any business that has face to face contact with customers/clients.

Answer 7. Tell the story from the beginning, but hold back from scoffing or being extra dramatic when you start the story! A vast majority of applicants start the story like they’re complaining about the customer. NO! Go through and detail what you did to fix the issue the customer had, how you eased the tension, and then what the end result was.

Question 7.  “Tell me about a time when you trained or mentored someone.”

This is where you’re going to talk about anyone that you’ve taken under your wing.

Answer 7. Tell a story about your favorite person that you ever worked with, and how you mentored them in some way! Be detailed and outline the interaction that you had with them to help them grow. Any tough conversations you had to pull them aside for? Any big praise that you gave them? Did they end up maybe winning employee of the month? Brag a little about the person you mentored!

Perfectly ACE the Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

So now you’re ready to crush the behavioral interview questions and answers!

Lets go through and do a quick recap…

  • Answer in the form of a story
  • Tell the truth!
  • Give good details
  • Involve others in the stories
  • Be a STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result)

Glad we could get you ready to go for your your next behavioral interview!

-NG

How To Win Customers During Wait Time

Wait Time Can Make Customers Upset, or it Can Be Used to Make an Impact

Imagine you are visiting somewhere for the first time and you walk in the lobby to someone 20 feet in front of you chewing gum and waiting for you to get directly in front of them before they will even speak to you. They take your name and tell you they will call for you (yelling for you is the most likely outcome). While you wait for the 20-30 minutes you were told would be the wait time, no one speaks to you. No one asks if you have been there before, thanks you for giving them a shot at earning your loyalty and no one gives you a chance to ask any questions a first-time patron might have. While you wait for what seems like days you see people who came in after you go in, so you begin to think you have been forgotten, or that they called your name and you didn’t hear it. You go back to the person taking names and ask them how long it will be, they look at you with disgust and tell you, “I told you 20-30 minutes and it’s only been 15.” Now imagine how you would feel sitting down at a table or how angry you would feel when you finally get into your appointment. Think about how likely you would be to go back to this place, not likely right.

Companies spend millions of dollars figuring out how to attract customers to their business, only to mess it up when they walk in the door. You may have the best product in your category, possibly winning a customer for life as soon as they experience your food or get their hands on your item. There is one problem that you may have and it will cause people to have a negative opinion of your offering, even if it is amazing! Wait times. Waiting in your lobby to get in and spend their money will send a message to your guests, one which you may never have an opportunity to rebound from.

Ignoring the Wait Time Sends Three Messages to Your Customers

  1. We don’t know what we are doing
  2. The quality of staff here is poor
  3. We don’t really care about YOU, just your money

Think about a restaurant, doctor’s office, clothing store, barber, meat counter, cell phone retailers and so on. They all have the same problem; while you wait for even a short time, it feels like you have waited FOREVER! I cannot tell you how many time, as I am sure is the same for you, that people have come up to me and asked, “how much longer?” and “how many people are in front of me?”

After hearing these questions a few hundred times I wondered if there was a way to share this information.
We tried installing TVs in the lobby with a list of people’s names on it; they didn’t read it.
We tried to pager system with vibrating “it’s your turn alarms”.
We even tried handing out notecards with estimated wait times and a few promotional items to browse while they waited.
None of these worked. We still had upset customers asking questions and sitting down with a negative attitude when it finally was their turn.

Send the Right Message to Your Customers

Communicate to them that they WANT to wait. That this wait is worth it! Over 20 years of managing stores with a lobby where customers have to wait to be assisted, I have come to one conclusion. It will instantly improve public perception and keep people from leaving, to never return. The solution isn’t rocket science. It isn’t a fancy system with pagers that vibrate when it’s their turn, nor is it a video game or trivia system for people to pass the time. The solution is simple…

TALK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS!

Talking to your customers sounds easy and plain, but it works. When I first started doing this I would walk around to each guest and introduce myself as the floor manager and would SHOW THEM where their name was on the list and give them an estimate about how long the wait would be. I would describe (not point) the person who was ahead of them in line so they knew who would be up before them. This seemed to work well, we were seeing marked improvement in customer service scores and less upset customers.

I Still Felt Like We Could do More

I tried something new. I assigned the responsibility for customer wait time frustration to the person taking the names. Their responsibility was to keep these people happy while they waited. You should be hiring quality people, not just a body to fill a spot, right? Would you trust just anyone being the first impression a potential new customer sees when they walk in? If you know that this position is important and have someone who is amazing up front, then they will have the ability to check people in AND keep them happy. I assigned my greeters more responsibility than writing a name on a list. Not only would they keep the list of people, they would also continuously check in with them. I told them I expected them to be remembered by those in line. Now they would tell each person where they were in line each time a person was pulled from line. If you were in line and 7 people were ahead of you, they would check in with you as you moved to numbers 6,5,4,3,2 and then telling you that you were next!

This may seem like overkill,  but customers LOVE it!

The ONE thing to NEVER do

The greeters were also FORBIDDEN from “cattle calling” or yelling their name across the room like it was a livestock auction. The greeter should know who each person is and be able to approach them, thank them for waiting and tell them their table or salesperson or doctor will be seeing them now.

The waiting game is one you can lose as soon as your guests enter your business. You must have someone up front who CARES about how the greeting happens. Make sure they understand that when the customer finally gets past the wait and into the establishment, they should be on a first name basis with your greeter/host. Whomever you have up front CANNOT stand behind the podium growing roots in the dirt. They must walk around engaging your customers and asking them if they need anything while they wait.

As you grow your business, do you want people leaving being blown away by how tremendous your service was, running out to the door calling their friends or family to tell them they finally visited you and it was out of this world? Or, when they leave, you happen to be in the front of your business and you say “see ya next time!” and as they push the door open they say “not likely.”

-ML

The ONE Customer Service Rule that Wins Customers for Life

Win Customers For Life

Any time I hire a new employee onto my team, I ask them to follow one rule. This ask is a simple one. It is easy, and it will empower your team in their day to day interactions with guests of any business.

Find a Way to Say Yes

That’s it, nothing more, like I said, simple. Now I know this sets off alarm bells in your head and you are watching your hard-earned profits fly out the window faster than you can imagine. What if I told you that this mantra could MAKE YOU MORE MONEY? What if it could capture customer’s loyalty and bring them back to spend more money with you? This isn’t a sales pitch, this is reality.

When you empower your employees to be creative and train them not to be the police officers of your checkbook, you will see amazing things happen.

Let me begin with my experience with “find a way to say yes”. When I was promoted to District Manager at my company, I moved to an area where I knew no one, including any of my employees. The first week I was in market I wore street clothes and visited all of my stores to see what the view from our customer base was. As I watched and listened, I came to a very quick reality, my staff was only following the rules and didn’t care if it cost them a life-long customer. It was terrifying. I literally watched customers leave to never return. I talked with customers who felt free to chat as I never explained who I was. A few of them told me they were giving us one more chance to make it right before they went running into the arms of the competitor across the street. I want you to think about that for a minute……. how close is your nearest competitor……how long would it take you to drive there? Better yet, how MANY of your competitors are close to you? Or have online ordering that you compete with?

I know this seems too easy. That’s because it is easy.

After I spent my week observing, and it was extremely difficult not to jump in and fix things immediately, I went to my managers and asked them to follow me into a new way of doing things. I asked that they ensure no one leaves our stores with their issue unresolved. We may not have been able to have a definite solution right now, but we would ensure they knew a solution was coming and they had the contact info of management at the location. We told them we would respond within 24 hours and that we would stop at nothing to find the answer. We would own the problem, even if someone else caused it. We would NOT pass it on to someone else.

Now, as we started to work this system we encountered a lot of what I call, layups. These are issues where our employees should not need to ask for help from management, yet they would continually bring the issue to us. Issues like waiving a $5 late fee for a 7-year tenured customer, giving a discount to someone who was military but hadn’t added their employee discount to their account. The list goes on, but they were all equally easy to solve.

More and more I came to a simple realization, my front-line employees couldn’t do things for themselves, they needed someone to give them the green light. While I sat there trying to understand why, it hit me, let them be the hero! I immediately went to my managers and told them simply this, empower your people to “find a way to say yes”.

The Customer is NOT Always Right

This does NOT mean we give the customer exactly what they are asking for. Simply find a way to avoid the word “no” and, the best excuse ever, “they won’t let me do that”. I HATE that phrase! Who is “they”? THEY IS YOU! You have got to get your employees to fight for their customers, to go to bat for them, to stand up for them. I told my front line not to come to a manager if the solution was for $25 or less. They still had to come back and tell us they did the discount or waived the fee, but it would be AFTER the guest left (this is the part where you freak out and hold tight to your wallet).

Building a Team of Hero’s Takes Guts

The next thing I told my management team was, “you are not allowed to get mad if they do it wrong”. We wanted them to feel empowered. If they got yelled at they would stop trying to be the hero. It was ok to ask for their justification, ask for customer tenure details, how much money did it make us from a revenue prospective and so on. Once we had the backstory, we could have an open dialogue about what WE would have done and thanked them for working hard to protect the customer base. If they did something wrong we would discuss the right solution. If they made the same mistake next time, then you can let a little frustration show. Remember though, even if they made a small mistake, does the customer revenue outweigh the discount or waived fee?

“You can exchange it, but you need to go to the location you bought it from”

I recently went to a large retailer and bought my wife a sewing machine so she could make our Halloween costumes. She used it for a few days and then it broke, brand new machine, broken. I told my wife “no worries love, I will exchange it, no problem” and off to the retailer I went. My mistake, apparently, was going to a different location of the same retailer. This was in the same town, no more than 5 miles apart. It was a 10-minute drive from A to B. I walked to customer service and talked to a woman and explained my situation. “I bought this a few days ago, it broke, and I would like to exchange it for the same model”. What I heard next floored me. She told me, “You can exchange it, but you need to go to the location you bought it from”. I couldn’t understand (I still don’t), why did I need to go back to the original location when they were a national retailer with thousands of locations. What If I was traveling, would I be told the same thing? After 15 minutes of back and forth and me finally about to lose my mind, a manager came to us and asked what he could do to help. I explained that I just wanted to exchange this sewing machine as it was defective. The manager, Matt, looked at me and said, “no problem, go back and grab the other one and come here and we will get you swapped out soon enough”. The funniest part of this, the woman looked at HER MANAGER and said “you aren’t supposed to do that.”

Policy is the Berlin Wall of Customer Service

I was happy, yet disappointed. Why did it take all of that to get to this conclusion. If it was that easy why didn’t the Women say yes? I was to the point of going back to the original location and returning it altogether. I had already looked it up on Amazon to see if they had the same model or, gasp, a more expensive model since this one broke so easily. When I asked Matt why she was so stubborn, he said a few words I will never forget, nor understand, “It’s policy”.

Policy will not pay your bills and it will not grow your customer base. Policy is the Berlin wall of customer service. Do you want your customers on your side of the wall or on the other side, with your competitors? When someone comes to you with a problem, in this age of competition, you have the opportunity to help them leave happy or help them test out your competition. Which do you want to accomplish?

I am not asking you to give blank checks to your employees nor am I advocating for buying customer happiness. I am imploring you to empower your people to look for a way to make your customer feel valued and allow them to find a solution. They do not have to agree to give a free month of services because a customer is upset, but could they offer to waive a half month, or could they offer a free one-time visit with the purchase of another visit? What if they agreed to give a 10% discount for the next 6 months? Most people see that as 10% lost for 6 months. I see that as a customer for the next 6 months who is with us and not across the street. Is 90% of 6 months revenue better than 0% from that customer forever?

Everyone has their own red line, the amount they would allow their front line to be empowered with. Figure out your red line and talk thru it with your team. This is not to buy customers, it is to show your team that what they do makes a difference, they are part of the solution.

Beg them to avoid “no”, instead ask that they “find a way to say yes”. You will win customers for life when you do.