+64 3 365 0294

Behavioural Interview Questions

There’s no getting around it – job interviews are nerve-wracking. But one great way to allay them is to ensure you’re well prepared.

To help you ace your interview, our experts at our New Zealand recruitment agency, Ryan Recruitment, have compiled a list of five of the most common behavioural interview questions to test the essential soft skills of communication, collaboration and culture. You’ll also find an example answer for each question type.  

What Are Behavioural Interview Questions?

In recent years, we’ve seen a significant shift from Hiring Managers focusing on hard skills to instead honing in on soft skills, reflected in the interview questions they ask.

Behavioural interview questions highlight how you’ve behaved in previous work situations. It gives the interviewer insight into how you perform tasks, tackle challenges, and interact with your team, colleagues, contractors and other stakeholders. Your answers also reveal your thought processes and how well you’ve prepared for the interview.

When it comes to answering behavioural interview questions, you can use the CAR method:

  • Context (situation)
  • Action (action/s you took)
  • Result (outcome and what you achieved)

Let’s now turn to a selection of top behavioural interview questions, keeping in mind you might encounter a variation of any of them.

Top Behavioural Interview Questions Testing Communication

These questions aim to assess your ability to communicate effectively in various workplace scenarios. A good answer will showcase examples from your work history highlighting essential communication skills, such as active listening, adaptability and empathy.

Communication behavioural questions

  1. Describe a situation where you had to communicate complex information to a non-technical audience. How did you ensure understanding?
  2. Tell me about when you had to deliver feedback to a colleague or team member.
  3. Can you tell me about a time when you successfully persuaded a colleague to see a situation from your perspective?
  4. Share an experience where you had to deliver bad news to a customer or client.
  5. Share an experience where you had to resolve a conflict or disagreement:

Example answer (CAR method)

Context – I was part of a team responsible for reconciling financial statements, and a disagreement arose between my colleague and me about some expenses. It needed to be resolved promptly to ensure accurate financial reporting.

Action – I scheduled a one-on-one meeting with my colleague to discuss our perspectives. I actively listened to their concerns, ensuring they felt heard. I then explained my viewpoint and asked them if we could find common ground to develop a workable solution. They were willing to open this dialogue using a collaborative and calm approach rather than remain stuck in a confrontational stance.

Result – We discovered there’d been a misinterpretation of the accounting guidelines. We agreed on the appropriate treatment of the expenses, ensuring accuracy and compliance with accounting standards. Not only did this resolution address the immediate conflict, it also did a lot to strengthen our working relationship.

Top Behavioural Interview Questions Testing Collaboration

This question category focuses on your collaboration skills, essentially how well you work in a team. Depending on the role you’re interviewing for, it may also speak to your leadership abilities. 

Collaboration behavioural questions

  1. What is one of your favourite experiences working with a team? Can you share the contributions you made?
  2. Share an experience when you had to delegate tasks and responsibilities within a team. How did you ensure each team member’s strengths were utilised and the work was accomplished?
  3. Describe a situation where you had to resolve a team conflict.
  4. Describe a situation when you had to support or mentor a team member struggling with their tasks.
  5. Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with individuals from different departments or functional areas.

Example answer (CAR method)

Car – I was involved in settling a complex high-value insurance claim. We had to coordinate between the claims department, underwriting team and the legal department to ensure a smooth and accurate resolution.

Action – I organised a cross-departmental meeting with representatives from each team. As the facilitator, I made sure everyone contributed and that by the meeting’s end, we’d established a shared understanding of the claim’s intricacies, timelines and requirements. I then scheduled some regular check-ins and set up an online platform for real-time information sharing, updates and documentation.

Result – While the primary goal of a successful claims settlement was achieved, we also managed to streamline our processes to minimise delays for future claims. I also felt that each team better understood each other’s roles and responsibilities.

Top Behavioural Interview Questions Testing Culture

An excellent cultural alignment between the company and employees results in a thriving environment where individuals collaborate effectively and enjoy their time while contributing to the business’s long-term success.

As a result, culture-match questions are a must in any candidate interview. They seek to understand your awareness of your values and whether they align with the company’s. It can cover a broad range of topics, from how you like to work to what you’ve done in the past to enhance company culture.

Cultural behavioural questions

  1. Describe the environment in which you work best.
  2. Why do you want to work for us?
  3. How important is work-life balance?
  4. What motivates you?
  5. Describe a situation where you actively participated in team-building activities or initiatives to foster a positive and inclusive culture within your department or organisation.

Example answer (CAR method)

Describe a situation where you actively participated in team-building activities or initiatives to foster a positive and inclusive culture within your department or organisation.

Context – Our logistics department was expanding rapidly and we had a lot of new members. It became apparent we needed to strengthen our team dynamics and cultivate a sense of belonging.

Action – To address this, I took the lead in organising a team event focused on building our communication and collaboration skills. We kicked off the day with a team obstacle course that put those skills to good use, also allowing us to recognise and rely on each other’s strengths. It helped to really build up our trust in each other, but also our bond as we cheered each other on to overcome challenges. We then did a scavenger hunt that encouraged problem-solving, requiring us to use our collective knowledge to succeed in a common goal. We ended the day with a relaxed drink and evening meal to allow us to get to know each other more on a personal level.

Result – All of the activities had a positive impact on our team and department culture. Although I could see our communication and collaboration skills had strengthened, the best part was getting to know each other as people rather than merely work colleagues. Everyone seemed more connected and happier at work after that day.

Summary

That completes our list of the most common behavioural interview questions. While it’s not an exhaustive list, it’s a great starting point for your interview preparation.

As your chances of securing the role you covet come down to your interview, you must prepare well. We can help in that area. As a premier New Zealand recruitment agency, our consultants have plenty of expertise in helping our candidates with their interview preparation, from compiling answers to holding mock interviews.

Please get in touch if we can support you in your job search, whether it’s with interview prep, fresh job opportunities, or a mix of both!