Guidelines For Passing The Behavioral Job Interview
If you are seeking a job within the competitive hospitality industry, you need to be aware that employers are frequently turning to the use of behavioral interviewing, rather than traditional modes.
Employers are aware that traditional interviews do not give the desired ability to predict a candidate's future job performance. Behavioral interviews are four to five times more likely to give the employer information about your past performance, which is the indicator of your future performance.
They will be asking questions that will probe your past and will be listening carefully for you to respond using keywords that are a part of their predetermined acceptable answers. Are you prepared to compete for the position?
What does the buzz phrase "behavioral interview" mean?
The term "behavioral interview" can be defined as the type of interview which allows employers to gain a keen sense of the type of employee you are. Rather than ask you to respond to something specific such as, "Name three things you enjoyed in your last position," the employer might phrase it, "Tell me about some things that you enjoyed about your last position." He or she will be listening for predetermined keywords and will rate you accordingly.
What are universal keywords in the hospitality industry?
- Industry Standards: Customer, Satisfaction, Service, Quality, Smile.
- Work Standards: Punctual, Detailed, Organized, Decision, Honest, Flexible, Initiative, Willing.
- Co-worker Standards: Relationship, Teamwork, Multicultural.
- Industry Experience: Professional, Expertise, Result.
Depending upon the specific position you are interviewing for (hotel, resort, food service and restaurant); there will be additional keywords the employer will be seeking. For example, a chef may want to use the word "presentation." A room cleaner would want to be sure to use the word "thorough" during the interview. A front desk manager would want to use the word "appearance." Develop your list accordingly.
Research will pay big dividends.
Whether you are applying for a position in a hotel, resort community, or a position in food service; it is critical that you do your homework. There are three easy steps you can take to prepare for the application and interview process.
Do an internet search, visit or call to gather information. It will be beneficial to write keywords used in the web content, conversation, or when applying or interviewing for a job position.
Tailor your resume and cover letter to meet the employer's needs. Use the information that you have gathered and the language in the job posting to write an effective document that will cause the employer to immediately take notice and call you in for an interview.
Become familiar with behavioral interviews. You can do an internet search to obtain lists of potential questions. The key will be to know the typical formats and have a dozen rehearsed scenarios that you can tailor to the specific question at the interview.
What format should you use in relating scenarios?
Many employers will be listening for a simple three-step response format to their questions; therefore, you will want to frame your responses accordingly. The format is known as Situation-Action-Result (SAR).
- Situation - the employer wants a concise description of the setting and circumstances that you are discussing.
- Action - the employer wants you to describe the action you took in the situation.
- Result - the employer will be looking for the results. Using keywords and quantitative, measurable results will be very impressive!
Employers will be listening to how you reacted in the situation, the action you took and the results. Be prepared to give at least one example of what might be perceived as an extremely difficult situation. Prepare to share about a negative situation that had a positive outcome.
What are the three types of questions in behavioral interviews?
These are questions that will allow you to use the SAR format and answer in a clear and concise manner. The employer will likely follow up with additional probing questions, looking for signs that you may not have been completely honest.
- Tell me about a time that you helped someone in need.
- Give an example of a situation that was uncomfortable for you.
- Relate an experience you have had as a part of a team.
These are questions that are asked for the purpose of verifying something you may have indicated during the application process or earlier in the interview. The employer is looking for consistency in your answers.
- You attended XYZ Institution, correct?
- You are able to begin next week, correct?
- You intend to live in this area for at least another year, correct?
These are questions that require you to give a logical and decisive explanation for a previous action. The employer is not judging your action, but rather your ability to reason, logic, and make a decision.
- Why did you choose to apply here?
- Why have you changed jobs within the hospitality industry three times?
- Why did you leave your position at XYZ company?
You are ready.
You have researched the company, located keywords, applied for the job, prepared a number of scenarios and rehearsed answers to potential questions. You are now ready to go to the behavioral interview with confidence.