Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Behavioral Interviews

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 the candidate handled the situation. Behavioral interviews are based on the premise that a person’s past performance on the job is the best predictor of future performance.

Below are some examples of behavioral interview questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
  • Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.
  • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.

The PARL Method: An effective strategy for answering a behavioral interview question is 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)

Top 8 Behavioral Interview Tips

  1. Analyze the position you are being interviewed for by looking at the job description; determine the skills required.
  2. Evaluate and reflect upon your background to identify your skills and experiences related to the position.
  3. Develop brief scenarios or “PARL stories” prior to your interview that demonstrate your teamwork, communication, leadership, etc. Each “story” should explain the problem, action, result, and the lesson learned (PARL).
  4. Be specific in your stories. Giving generalizations will not help the employer understand and evaluate your behavior and skills. Employers want to know what you did do rather than what you would do in a given situation.
  5. Be prepared to provide examples of occasions when results were different than expected. Your skill in handling failure as well as success will be probed.
  6. Be prepared for questions asking for more detail than you’ve already given.
  7. Identify three to five top strengths – attributes that set you apart from other candidates – and be sure to point them out during the interview.
  8. Identify qualities relevant to the position and identify/prepare relevant and effective behavioral stories.

Mock Interviews

Schedule a mock interview to practice and improve your interview techniques. 

  •   Map
  • Liberal Arts Career Services

    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508