A behavioral interview is a structured interview conducted either by an individual or panel of interviewers. Behavioral interview questions prompt candidates to describe a past experience or situation, demonstrating how he/she handled the situation. Past experiences are generally a good indicator for how he/she would handle it again. An effective strategy for answering a behavioral interview question is the PARL method.
The PARL Method
Problem: Identify the problem or situation you encountered
Action: Describe the action you took to address the problem or situation
Result: Disclose the result of the action you took
Learn: Discuss what you learned from the experience (can be helpful to include when discussing previous failures or challenges)
Behavioral Interview Strategies
- Research employer website and review job/internship posting for clues on what employer/organization is seeking
- Prepare a minimum of three questions based on your research to learn more about the employer and job/internship
- Dress professionally and invest in a portfolio to store application materials, e.g. resume, writing samples, transcript, certificates, reference letters
- Provide specific examples of your skills and experiences
- Focus on the positive and highlight your strengths
- Display a positive attitude and your desire to learn new skills
- Send a thank you note or email within 24 hours of the interview
Practice Behavioral Interview Questions
- Why did you apply for this opportunity?
- Which pages of our organization's website did you review to prepare for your interview today?
- What five words best describe you?
- Describe an area of weakness in your previous employment.
- Why did you decide to attend UT Austin?
- What were your reasons for selecting your liberal arts major?
- How does this job/internship opportunity relate to your future career plans?
- What student organizations were you actively involved? Did you assume a leadership role in these organizations?
- Which of your academic, volunteer, leadership, work, and internship experiences are most relevant to this opportunity?
- What are examples of the courses that prepared you for this opportunity?
To schedule a mock interview with a Career Coach, contact our office at 512-471-7900.