So let's be clear about one thing. The behaviour-based interview technique is the most used technique by professional executive search consultants and HR managers. Learn what it is and more importantly how you ace these kind of job interviews.

They say that leopards never change their spots and that a candidate’s past performance is the best predictor of future performance. You will need to provide detailed responses including specific examples of your work experience. The best way to prepare is to think of situations where you have successfully used your knowledge and skills. The simple explanation behind the much hyped behaviour-based interview technique is: if you have done it before, you can do it again.

Before meeting you, the hiring company has decided what skills are needed to be successful in the job and will be asking questions to find out if you have those particular skills. Instead of asking you how you would behave in a certain scenario or situation, the interviewer wants to know how you actually handled a situation in a real work-related task or situation. So it’s not about what you might do in the future but what you actually did in the past.

The professional recruiter will suggest you organise your answer by using the concept we call STAR. The devil is known by many names and you may come across abbreviations like CAR, SCAR etc. – all names that are same same but different. Back to STAR; ST stands for a situation or a task that you have encountered; A for the action you took and R for the result or outcome.

Here are some typical behaviour-based questions, basically all inviting you to dip into your memory and tell a real story from your work-life that demonstrates an experience related to the specific question the interview wants to hear:

•Can you give me an example of when you [insert].

•Could you tell me about a time when you [insert].

•Tell me more about when you [insert].

•Describe a situation where you [insert].

To better understand your actual role, there will be follow up questions such as: when did it happen, how long did it take to finish, what was your specific role, who else was involved, describe the environment and culture, what was the impact you made, what were the biggest challenges you faced, what technical skills did you use and learn, or how did your boss manage you.

It can at times be difficult to quickly think about examples of achievements; in particular when you sit in the pressure cooker we call an interview. It’s a good idea to prepare notes of your personal stories you want to talk about. Bring your notes about these achievements for the meeting and also take your resume along; place your papers on the table in front of you for easy reference.

Most answers during the meeting should be about one-to-two minutes long. If you talk for more than three minutes, you risk losing our interest and will likely be ranked as boring, long-winded, or too self-centered. If you talk for half a minute, you are most likely considered superficial, incompetent, or lacking interest.

This process is less stressful and more enjoyable than traditional interview sessions. No need to think about what we want to hear or what you would do in whatever situation. Simply talk about what you have done in real life work situations.

When employers say, "tell me about yourself," state what you are currently doing and what you have done in the past three to five years, and not much more. Few employers are interested in the details of your early career or in your minor roles. The interviewer does not want your life story; they want to know your business capabilities. Get to the point by saying precisely what makes you ideal for the job.

Providing real examples from your career is the most important part of this exercise. Interviewers will use your examples to form their judgments about your competency. Most candidates talk in generalities so being specific with real examples is much more convincing.