What is a behavioral interview?
Behavioral interviews focus on a candidate’s past experiences to assess how they’ve navigated specific situations and utilized skills relevant
to the position. Rather than asking theoretical “How would you handle ___?” questions, your interviewer will focus instead on concrete “How did you handle___?” prompts. The main difference between this type of interviewing and a regular interview is that rather than merely sharing your opinions or ideas about what you would do in a situation, as in a regular interview, in a behavior-based interview you must describe, in detail, how you handled a
situation in the past.
These types of interviews are very common in companies as they always want to hire someone who can fit into the company culture and adopt the
firm’s way of working. The advantage to this type of interview is that there are tons of resources available which can help. There are also AI tools which
can help you record answers and provide feedback.
The absolute key to this interview is to be prepared. It is not just necessary to prepare your answers well but also how you present yourself and how you face the questions which might be somewhat different than what you prepared.
Here are the steps I followed to prepare for most questions asked in behavioral interview:
1. Start by listing at least 25 of the most common questions asked in behavioral interviews. The answers to these questions will most likely cover all possible questions that can be formed for you. Pick questions that are at the level you are aiming for. Example: If you are interviewing for an associate’s role, there is no point in you forming answers to managerial questions. As you move higher up, your question base will increase.
2. Start writing simple bullet points for every question in your list. Do not start out with writing out complete paragraphs. The reason for starting with bullet points is so you can form answers to most questions and understand which are the ones that you need to think about more.
3. Ensure every answer has the following:
a. How did you come about this situation?
b. What did you do in the situation?
c. What was the impact? Note: I use the word ‘impact’ rather than ‘result’ to make it clear that you need to say what was the positive / negative consequence of your task.
d. What did you learn or improve or understand?
4. Once you have simple bullet points, it is time to start forming proper answers. There are 2 parts to this. For very specific questions, like why you want to work for us, you can form a specific answer with complete sentences. But for question types like when you faced major conflict, do not write down complete sentences. The idea is to ask yourself a question and form an answer on the fly using your bullet points. The reason for this is simple, it is more important to make your interview a conversation rather than a simple QA session. In addition, by doing this you will be able to understand what feels natural to you and what doesn’t.
5. Once you have a working version of your answers, it is time to get a third-party opinion. Ask for help from a friend/mentor to interview you, right from the greetings to the end. This is to increase confidence in your answers along with learning how to open and close
6. The last step is to stay calm before and during your interview and be aware of what questions are being asked of you. They will most likely be a combination / version of everything you have already prepared for.
Databases, Azure, & Agile Methodologies. The sample response would consist of
Tell me something about yourself
Who are you?
My name is _________.
Currently pursuing my ___________________ where
most of my projects have focused on __________
I worked as a _______ at university, and I
also interned during the summer as a _______.
I have built numerous full stack applications
with the help of cloud-based services.
Most projects I use cloud-based services to
build web applications but
combined with using third party APIs.
In a few of my more recent projects, I have
been involved with analyzing the data to identify discrepancies and creating
simple functional tests.
I have favored using agile methodologies, such
as Scrum or Kanban or even a combination of both in most projects along with
Git for version control.
Now I am looking for full time opportunities
where I can work on interesting projects with a strong team that aims to solve
In what ways can you contribute to our
organization? // Why should we hire you? // What is the overlap between your
experience and employer needs?
This role will be fast paced role where the
person will be having to be willing to be hands on from day 1.
The person will need to have strong analytical
skills to ensure that the work they perform is giving the expected results.
They will have to be able to translate
technical knowledge into general knowledge to be a part of a cross functional
team with tax professionals
They will also need to have very strong basics
in programming, database design and have experience wrangling data to get into
the desired format that will be useful for analysis and storage.
The role also requires that the person be up
to date with the newest technologies in the field as _____ will adopt the best
tools in their processes.
One of the most important aspects on this role
would be that the person would be working as part of an agile team and hence
they must understand the principles that govern this methodology.
2. Describe a mistake you made and how you learned from it.
· During my Spring semester, I was enrolled in the class of Deep Learning.
· Final project my team had selected the topic of using Vision Transformers for Lip
Reading. It was a completely novel use for vision transformers. Our task was to
apply this model onto an existing dataset to try to beat the current best
· I was involved with readying the dataset for the vision transformers. The Lip-reading
dataset contained small videos of the person speaking the word along with labels for what they were saying.
· I made the mistake of underestimating how large the dataset was and underestimating the resources required.
· We had over 1.1m files that consisted of 500 words with 1000 videos of each. Loading this data onto a server itself required us to make use of a separate file system that could be mounted onto the server.
· After that came the problem of training the model itself, ViTs need large amount of data to pretrain, and we had that data.
· But what we underestimated was the time required to train every model. It took days to even complete a simple experiment.
· My team tried numerous different solutions, but we were not able to increase the accuracy or even run multiple experiments to form analysis.
· In the end, we decided to go to our professor and explain the problem. While he understood, he wanted to know why we had not been able to estimate these roadblocks before starting and what was our plan further.
· In the end, we pivoted ourselves to understanding the robustness of smaller ViT models and we were able to successfully meet the deadline for the project.
· I learned from this project the importance of performing simple feasibility analysis of the projects before investing time and effort.
· In addition, I learned how some projects might fall out, and how to start up again to produce some results
3. When did you face any major problem? How did you solve it? //
Tell me about a time you had to be a problem solver and the methods you used to
solve the issue.
· Startup had a product that created health report according to guidelines given by government
· Government never enforced the guidelines provided earlier
· We had received official guidelines and what kind of report was required by the local authorities.
· The entire development was centered around making this compliance requirement easy and simple.
· Never enforced officially as everyone expected:
· To counter, I developed time sheets which increased the use of my software and made it usable again.
· Other features like guest system, contactless, health-identity cards while being extremely customizable at a great price made
it an attractive deal.
4. How do you handle conflict?
· In most cases, I handle conflict well. I value diversity and understand that different people have different opinions, which may lead to conflict. When faced with conflict, I work to collaborate and have a clear dialogue with others to resolve the issue in a way that is mutually beneficial for everyone involved.
5. What is your greatest accomplishment?
· My greatest accomplishment is a project I completed during last year. It was at the time that India had opened itself for vaccination for all adults and charitable organizations were allowed to distribute and administer vaccines after obtaining permission.
· There is an organization in my home city which manages different Jain religious festivals and temples for the entire city.
· Technical transformation
· Thus, when the idea for this project was floated, I immediately volunteered for it. The organization wanted to carry out a charitable vaccination drive. They wanted to build an application that would allow people to register with their identification information and let them select a time slot.
· After giving a small pitch to the management of the organization, I was asked to give a timeline and complete the project.
· I along with my team worked on the project using an agile method and delivered the project to them according to their specifications.
· Out of all my projects, I consider this my greatest accomplishment as it gave me a chance to give back to society, I was a part of at such a crucial time.
· During the time that no one was in control of the situation, I believe that I was able to make a difference.
6. When you're working on multiple projects, how do you keep yourself organized and on track?
· I maintain 3 different to do lists. I color code them with priority
· Rather than arranging the lists by project, I break the projects into smaller tasks that I need to complete. This way I ensure that I am blocking no other developer and that I am on track to meet the deadlines.
· The added benefit is that I can be extremely concise with my tasks and hence I do not feel overwhelmed by the huge tasks that different projects might need. It allows me to tick things off my list regularly which serves as a small boost in productivity every day.
7. What is your ideal work environment?
· I prefer to work both independently and as part of a team.
· When I researched your company, I noticed found that the culture of that many employees work together and then branch off into their own respective duties. I've found that this balance of teamwork and independence is how I thrive most as an engineer. While I love collaborating with others, I also enjoy spending time alone to research and find solutions that the team can benefit from.
8. What do you do outside of university/work?
· I enjoy playing video games after work or simply cooking a great meal.
· Cooking is a new hobby which I started after coming to New York. It has been a journey of experimenting and I really enjoy trying different things.
· I also love watching F1 races on the weekends with a group of friends. It is usually followed by an intense discussion of well, who we support.
9. When have you had to learn something from scratch?
· When I moved from the AI project to Neo4J. It was a completely new type of database that I was going to be using.
· The thinking to generate data and form queries is different in Graph Databases.
· First thing I read a little about Neo4J by going to their official website. I also found different introductory courses there, so I completed 2.
· Next, I decided to be more hands on and try to run some simple queries using the database we were creating.
· This also details my learning strategy for most things. I try to learn more about something usually from official sources or reading a small guide or documentation.
· But I believe I do learn most by being hands on
· In less than 3 days, I had already created new datasets for our previous AI project and answered a few questions
10. Can you tell me a time when you had to deal with a difficult client?
· I had a client for a live-streaming platform.
· Building a platform where the host could live stream and simultaneously interact with the audience using games.
· Created the software in phases,
· Got continuously changing requirements -> hours wasted.
· After a huge number of changes, we decided to discuss this problem.
· They were not aware that their changes were changing the foundations every time. They believed it was just a design change or adding some new stuff.
· Finalized the core modules of the software before moving ahead
· Learned to have more open and clear communication as some things are not visible to people outside the development process