Behavior Based Interviewing For Sales Jobs

If it’s been awhile since you’ve been out of work and interviewing for a job, then you may never have encountered the concept of behavior based interviewing. Or, you may simply be someone that has never interviewed with a company or an employer for whom behavior based interviewing is the standard methodology for screening candidates for sales jobs, whether for full-time jobs or part-time jobs. Either way, you’ll need to get up to speed on the process in order to perform well in any interview in which the methods are used. Odds are good, even if you only participate in a few interviews before landing a new position, you’ll experience some behavior based interview questions. In the off chance you don’t, rest assured any practice you put in with honing your behavior based interviewing skills will still serve you well. In fact, practicing methods of appropriately answering behavior based interview questions help job seekers provide more robust and impressive responses to even the most traditional interview questions, like “Where do you see yourself in five years?”


Traditional Job Interview Methods

In more traditional interviews for full-time jobs and part-time jobs, employers asked questions that were easier for interviewees to bluff their way through. They may have asked, for instance, “Are you familiar with working in a sales management database in which you track your leads?” Questions such as these are rather closed-ended and leading in nature. Candidates are able to answer with a simple “yes” or “no,” and in order to get greater detail about the candidate’s experience, the interviewer would need to ask a follow-up question, usually something along the lines of: “Can you tell me a little more about the system you used?” Now granted, answers to these more traditional questions may provide the interviewer with some details about the candidate’s experience, but a skilled talker, as most candidates interviewing for sales jobs and media jobs will be, could bluff their way through responses with ease. Additionally, these kinds of questions don’t offer a way of determining a candidate’s demonstrated work behaviors. Essentially, the more traditional methods of interviewing falls short, leaving employers with only partial information about a prospective employee’s real abilities and skills. For this reason, more and more employers, especially those considering candidates for higher level and professional positions have begun utilizing behavior based interviewing methods. So, in your search for jobs, if you’re applying for or interviewing with an employer who will be considering you for social worker, engineer jobs, or any more professional level position, the odds of completing a behavior based interview session increase significantly.

What's Behavior Based Interviewing?

Behavior based interviewing techniques are utilized by employers who are looking for greater detail on your demonstrated work abilities. In other words, it is an interviewing method that requires you to give strong, detailed examples to support any claims you make about your skills, abilities and character during an interview or on a resume or CV. Behavior based interview questions are open-ended and require a candidate to answer in a very structured and specific manner in order to satisfy all requirements for sufficiently addressing the “situation” or “challenge” set forth in the question itself. Here are a few examples of common behavior based questions you may encounter.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a very quick decision on a matter of significant importance.
  • How do you typically handle conflict? Give me an example.
  • Tell me of a time when you took the lead on a project or specific task? What were the circumstances? And the outcomes?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with someone with whom you didn’t really like or mesh well with. How did you handle the situation?

Answering Behavior Based Interview Questions

When formulating responses to behavior based interview questions, there are two primary methods which can be used: SOAR and STAR. In each method, your answers will have four parts, with each part representing one of the letters in the acronym which is the title of the method. Also in each method, the entire answer should tell a “story” about you and your work-related behaviors, actions, skills, abilities, and knowledge. Following are the basic frameworks for each method.

The STAR Method

  • Situation – Describe a specific work-related task or situation.
  • Task – What were you trying to achieve or accomplish in that situation or through that task?
  • Action – What action or actions did you take toward achieving your goal?
  • Result – What was the result or the outcomes of the actions you took?

The SOAR Method

  • Situation – Describe a specific work-related task or situation.
  • Obstacle or Opportunity – Describe the opportunity or the obstacle you encountered in the situation or with the task.
  • Action – What action or actions did you take to overcome the obstacle or take advantage of the opportunity?
  • Result – What was the result or the outcomes of the actions you took?
You can apply these whether you want to apply in engineer jobs, sales jobs, media jobs, or social worker positions. Bear them in mind and you’re sure to ace your interview. Enjoy this article? You've got time for another! Check out these related articles: Photo Credit: Shutterstock

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less

All work and no play can create a tense and unwelcoming environment. Studies have shown that employers that offer additional perks have employees that are happier and more loyal to their place of employment. If you are looking for an employer that acknowledges how important it is to give its employees a place to de-stress and bond with their co-workers, check out these companies!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if you worked for an owner who micro-manages you my watching you work on camera and reading through your company emails.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less