Interviewers representing top companies across the globe are searching for authentic, honest, and credible employees. Behavioral interview questions are designed to help identify these qualities from an employee’s sharing of their past experiences.
What are the real reasons that interviewers ask behavioral questions during the interview process? In this article, we’ll crack the code on the software engineer behavioral interview with more insights on frequently asked behavioral questions.
In my article English Made Easier: English Language for Software Developers, you are asked to imagine yourself as a software developer named Developer-1, completing your first day and tasks at a great Fortune 500 company ‘X'.
For the purposes of this article, imagine you are again Developer-1 and have now mastered English and the basic skills of software development. You are ready to upskill and find remote work as a mid-level developer. It’s time to brush up on your interview skills Developer-1. Breathe, it will be okay!
You smile to yourself as your technical interview skills have been sharpened with your latest experience working at company ‘X’. You then feel a tug pulling down your smile as you remember your difficulty with those seemingly unimportant behavioral interview questions.
I’m Steve and I’ll be your behavioral interview advisor through this article. Let's understand and unlock the hidden meaning behind software engineering behavioral interview questions. We will then model some answers to make your behavioral interview skills as fluent as your English!
To take full advantage of the software engineer behavioral interview with questions and answers article, we have to understand ‘how’ and ‘why’.
Okay, Developer-1, I know you’re super excited to speak ‘behavioral interview’ as fluently as your mother tongue, so let’s get you ready!
What is the best way to answer these questions, you ask? Well, as honestly as possible! Remember, this isn’t a test. It's an opportunity for you to participate in an activity that most people enjoy–talking about yourself. You will share behavioral information about your past that gives the interviewer an accurate view of how you will work in the future. It’s a lot like when you share interesting experiences about yourself on a first date. Your goal here is to paint the best picture of yourself and, hopefully, how you plan to spend time with this person.
Here are steps to express your best self for any behavioral interview question:
You are likely to be asked behavioral interview questions during one or more stages of the interview process. We will now look at common questions, learn what information they are seeking, and view some great example responses.
Great Developer-1! You have the best steps in the industry for answering any behavioral interview question. However, as your behavioral interview advisor, I want to be 100% sure you’re ready on interview day. So fire up your favorite text editor, or note app, or take out a good-old-fashioned pen and paper. Let’s start crafting those great responses.
First, we begin by jotting down answers to the earlier steps. Then we’ll look at examples and example formats for you to craft your answers. Here are the steps rephrased into actionable instructions:
Super! Time to understand the actual meaning of those strangely worded behavioral interview questions. That means we will transport ourselves into the interviewer's mind!
Interviewer💭: “I wonder what this candidate will be like to work with? Better question, will our culture here be a great match for them?”
I know. Why not ask me directly what it’s like to work with me? Developer-1, I expect you’ll tell me that you are a wonderful employee and a perfect candidate to work at a company ‘Y’, and so do interviewers. However, most candidates will say the same. Show your interviewer that you’re different. Show them that you understand their company mission and that your skills and future outlook align with theirs.
Tip: Check out more ‘about yourself’ questions.
Interviewer💭: “Can this candidate help us to succeed? Does this candidate’s interests and skills fit well within our company?”
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out these examples.
Interviewer💭: “Is this candidate leaving their past job because they lack the skills their company, and we, are looking for?”
Other examples can be found here.
Interviewer💭: “Will this candidate be a great team player, kind and professional while handling a conflict?”
Interviewer💭: “Is this candidate flexible and able to apply multiple methods to get unstuck?”
Example answer format:
See more examples of this question here.
Interviewer💭: “How does this candidate act under pressure? Are they able to maintain their professional integrity?”
Example answer format:
Interviewer💭: “Is this candidate honest? Do they have an attitude to keep learning and treat mistakes as opportunities for growth?”
There are more answers to this question here.
Resources I’ve been using to perfect my behavioral interview answers is this curated list of top questions by company.
Books are also a great place to find trustworthy information as authors usually conduct considerable research to support their writing. Check out this ultimate guide to preparing for the coding interview, “Cracking the Coding Interview” by Gayle Laakmann McDowell.
Feeling ready to conquer the behavioral interview now, and want to freshen up your other interviewing skills? Check out this ultimate guide to help you prepare for the coding interview for pointers on popular types of interview for tech jobs.
It’s great knowing how to interview, but how do you find a job that is a perfect match to your own values and technical strengths? Review tips on job searching and get that much closer to your dream job!
Finally, if you’re unsure of what salary expectations to have when transitioning to your new role, take a look at some starting salaries in software development.
The best way to prepare for the behavioral interview is to review common questions to learn what they are seeking from you. Craft clear responses to these questions and inject personal and relevant details that highlight the skills and values asked for in job descriptions.
Developer-1, that new job is as good as yours! When a hiring manager/recruiter asks you a question to determine your values, soft skills, and fit for their company, you now have the answers to demonstrate your value!
If you’re ready for greater challenges and opportunities, then 3x your salary by learning to code with Microverse!