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Examples of Behavioural-based Interview Questions

The following generic competencies will appear on most selection criteria. Some sample questions have been provided for each one.

Customer Focus

The ability to anticipate and influence customer needs and wants, and strive to provide products and services that meet their short/medium and long term needs.

Can you give an example of a change you have initiated in the last 12 months to improve customer service in your work area?

  1. Describe the situation?
  2. What action did you take?
  3. What was the result?
  4. What would you do differently next time?

Can you give an example of a difficult decision you have had to make relating to customer service?

  1. Describe the situation?
  2. What did you do?
  3. What was the result?

What impact have you had on the way your customers perceive the services of your business unit/work area?

  1. Can you describe how you did this?
  2. What customer service principles and techniques did you use?
  3. How did you implement them in this situation?

Can you describe a situation where you had to confront a difficult issue with a customer and you were not happy with the way you handled it?

  1. What was the situation?
  2. What would you do differently next time?


The ability to create a shared understanding of requirements in the work environment and through influence, enable team members to fully contribute to the team and corporate goals.

Describe a specific situation that best demonstrates your ability to effectively develop and lead a team?

  1. What did you do?
  2. What difficulties did you encounter and how did you overcome these?
  3. How did you measure the success of the team?

Tell me about a time when you had to manage a conflict between the needs/aspirations of an individual and the team and explain how you went about obtaining cooperation?

  1. Did you have any formal authority?
  2. What did you do?
  3. What was the response?

What is an example of a difficult one to one meeting you have had with a team member?

  1. Describe the situation?
  2. How did you handle it?
  3. What was the end result?
  4. What would you do differently next time?

Can you describe a specific situation where you were a member of a team and had to take the lead to ensure results were achieved?

Have you ever had to lead a team of people from different work areas (cross-functional) as part of a project, even if the staff did not formally report to you?

  1. What did you do to get what you wanted from the group?
  2. What were the achievements and disappointments?


The motivation and ability to effectively contribute to the establishment, maintenance, and success of work teams, focused on achieving individual, team, and organisational goals.

Describe a situation that best demonstrates your approach to working as part of a team?

  1. What did you do?
  2. How did you address differences or issues that arose in the team?

We’ve all had to work with someone who is very difficult to get along with.  Give me an example of when this has happened to you?

  1. Why was that person difficult?
  2. How did you manage the relationship?
  3. How did you influence a person’s approach?

Describe how you have contributed to planning the team’s work requirements and how that was translated to your individual performance?

  1. What have you done to assess work priorities?
  2. How have you raised improvement suggestions for the work area?

Have you ever made a decision that impacted other members of your team?

  1. What was the situation?
  2. How did you communicate this to team members?
  3. What was the outcome?

Continuous Improvement & Initiative

A proactive approach applied to the identification, analysis, and exploration of opportunities that have the potential to improve the outcomes and performance of a specific work area or the organisation.

Can you think of some projects or ideas (not necessarily your own) that were sold, implemented successfully, primarily due to your efforts?

  1. What was your role?
  2. What was the outcome?

What changes have you tried to implement in your area of responsibility?

  1. What have you done to get them underway?

Describe a situation in which you found your results were not within budget or up to the organisation’s expectations. 

  1. What did you do to rectify the matter?

Give me some examples of when you have done more than required in your job?

  1. How did you identify the need for this?
  2. What specific strategies did you develop?
  3. What was the result?

Can you think of a situation you had to handle in which previous solutions didn’t work? 

  1. What did you do to handle it?

Can you think of a change in your work area that your peers would recognise as resulting principally from an innovation you developed?

What kinds of problems have you recently been called upon to solve? 

  1. Tell me about your contribution to solving them?

How many opportunities for innovation and imagination is there in your present position? 

  1. Why?

Tell me about a new policy or new idea you recently implemented which was considerably different from the standard approach?

  1. What was the idea?
  2. What approach did you take to get others to go along with it?
  3. What was the result?

Communication & Interpersonal Skills

The ability to effectively transfer ideas, concepts, and information. The ability to create, maintain, and enhance relationships with clients and staff in order to achieve work goals.

What kinds of written material have you developed?  Can you give me some examples? (follow up one example)

  1. How did you approach it?
  2. Tell me about the content and the results that it achieved?

What different approaches do you use in relating to different people?

How do you know you are getting your point across?

What are some of the more complicated kinds of ideas/concepts you have had to explain?

Have you ever done any public or group speaking? Examples?

  1. How did you prepare?
  2. Were you nervous and how did you deal with this?
  3. What were your objectives?
  4. Were you successful?
  5. What format did you use?
  6. What were some of the questions you were asked?
  7. Did you have to side step any questions?
  8. What kind of feedback did you get?
  9. Can you give me another example?

Sometimes a colleague or customer will waste your time at work. Tell me about a similar situation and how you handled it?

  1. What did you do?
  2. What was the result?

Describe a situation with someone at work that in hindsight you would have dealt with differently?

  1. What did you do?
  2. What happened?

Describe your most recent discussion with a team member who was having or causing problems?

  1. How did you get involved?
  2. How did it turn out?

How have you related a decision to stakeholders knowing that the outcome was likely to receive little support or potentially be criticised?

  1. How did that make you feel?