How to ace behavioral event-based interviews

Behavioral Event-Based interview questions are growing more common in interviews to MBA programs. Find out how to prepare stories of your professional and personal experiences for behavior-focused questions.

Indian students in recent years who have been to study abroad at top B-schools like Wharton, Stanford and MIT have found that during the interview, behavioral questions about teamwork and leadership experiences are common. The usual questions about future goals and expectations are always part of the interview. But behavioral event-based questions or Behavioral Event-Based Interview are also becoming an important part of MBA interviews.

Behavioral Event-Based Interview questions are questions about the past that have to do with what you said, felt, thought and did in a certain situation. It is a style of interview first introduced in the 1980s and since then has been found to be very effective. Questions of how you behaved rather than how you would behave in a certain situation tells interviewers about your skills, knowledge, abilities. Your answer will have to be detailed, and your interviewer will probe and will not let you generalize your answers.

Preparing for a Behavioral Event-Based Interview

During the interview, listen to the question carefully, ask any questions you want, and then answer fully. Follow a Situation-Task-Action-Result template to respond.
  • Pick an example of an event/situation in which you brought about a positive result
  • Describe the tasks that were involved
  • Talk about the actions you took for the various tasks
  • Talk about the results that followed directly from your actions

Try to give numbers and statistics in your response wherever possible. Talk about duration, percentage values, number of personnel trained etc. Your interviewer will ask you questions such as "what did you say/what did you do/how did you feel/what was your role/what was the result?" while you tell your story.

To be prepared for such BEI questions, just think about the many experiences that you definitely have had in your professional life. All that you need to do next is organize these and draw up a simple Problem – Action – Results template for the experiences, based on common BEI question types.

Common Behavioral Event-Based Interview Questions Relating to Teamwork

  • How do you resolve conflict in a team? Give an example
  • What is your typical role in teams?
  • Tell me about the time you contributed to a team.
  • Tell me about a team you were in that did not get along. What were the events? What was your role? What was the result? What would you do if your MBA group members didn't get along, based on this example?
  • Tell us about the most difficult person you have worked with and how you managed.
  • What is the most difficult thing about being a team member and not the leader?

Common Behavioral Event-Based Interview Questions Relating to Leadership

  • What is your usual style of leadership?
  • Give an example of a time you exercised leadership.
  • Talk about a time when you resolved a problem/introduced an innovation/took a position different from your team.
  • Talk about a time you led a group of peers.

Common Behavioral Event-Based Interview Questions Relating to Accomplishments/Failures/Ethics

  • What is your biggest accomplishment?
  • How has your accomplishment benefited your organization?
  • Discuss a situation where your ethics or values were challenged, and how you handled it. What did this teach you about yourself?

MBA aspirants must have a good MBA interview story as well. Also, important is the MBA essay that will get you to the interview stage, so prepare that well as well.

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Author: Swati Sarnobat19 Mar 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Be open to the interviewer and do not hesitate to be yourself, but show that these traits should prove positive to any organization. Do not hide any of your traits and always be proud of your self. Only focus towards winning with your behavior.

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