Be prepared for your interview experience

Take time to prepare and practice your answers to behavioral-type questions for a more successful interview.

What are some of the hardest questions to answer in an interview? Those questions that help the interviewers assess your behavior. Behavior-type questions are used to learn about you and your skills. Are you a team player? How do you handle stress? What types of communication skills do you have? Are you organized?

They are based on your life and work experiences and provide a glimpse of how you might handle situations in the future. There may be no right or wrong answer; it is more about your personality and how you handle and deal with tasks and people. Behavior questions prompt more of a story or a scenario answer. They are more thought-provoking and sometimes harder to answer on the spot. Here are some examples of behavior-type questions or items:

  • Please describe a time when you demonstrated your ability to be a team member.
  • Describe a time when you had to juggle several important tasks at once.
  • Share an example of when you applied the skills you learned in 4-H to another aspect of your life.
  • Describe an incident when you did not agree with your supervisor.
  • Share an example of a time when you had to resolve a conflict with a co-worker.

Can you see why some forethought and practice might help you hone in on the experiences you want to share or highlight? The Career Services Network at Michigan State University suggests using the PARK Method to prepare for and answer behavior-type interview questions. According to MSU’s Career Services the PARK Method helps you focus on the most relevant aspects of your experience for the employer in a structured way. Check it out:

  • P” is for the PROBLEM or situation (“What happened?”)
  • A” is for the ACTIONS you took (“What did you do?”)
  • R” is for the RESULTS or outcomes (“What was the result?”)
  • K” is for the KNOWLEDGE you gained (“What did you learn? How did you apply it?”)

Whether you are interviewing for a job, scholarship or special opportunity, being prepared to answer behavior-type questions will help you be more confident and lend to a successful interview experience. Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has a variety of career preparation resources that may also help you be more prepared for interviewing.

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