How to Prepare for a Behaviour Event Interview

How to Prepare for a Behaviour Event Interview

The City of Greater Sudbury uses behavioural-event interview (BEI) techniques to question candidates about their past experiences. BEI is based on the idea that past behaviour is an excellent predictor of future behavior. 

Instead of asking a candidate what they would do in a situation, candidates are asked to provide real examples of how they handled a situation. BEI questions provide the ability to evaluate a candidate’s skills, knowledge, and behaviours based on the required competencies for the position.

When answering a behavioural-based question, your response must include the following:

  • The specific situation
  • The specific actions taken
  • The results of the actions.

Relevant competencies that may be assessed through the BEI questions are outlined in each specific employment opportunity. For more information, please refer to our Leadership Competency Dictionary.

Example 1

Competency: Planning, Coordination and Execution. It is defined as the ability to plan and coordinate work, understand and effectively manage resources, prioritize steps to be taken, anticipate potential issues/barriers and develop contingency plans to address these, and execute individual and team activities in a way that ensures the achievement of a set of objectives.

Question: This position requires strong organizational skills. Give us an example from your past where you had multiple demands or priorities, and how you organized yourself to complete the work demanded.

Sample Response:

Situation: In my last job as Event Coordinator, I was the team lead for the food service at the company’s recognition event. The team included me and two other people, the Event Assistants. We had one month to plan the event, and my role was to co-ordinate the food service, which included appetizers, the main dish, desserts and tea and coffee.

Action: To ensure I did not miss anything, I created a list in excel of each task that needed to be done. I then prioritized each task and created a schedule, noting when each task had to be completed and who was responsible for each task. I had daily check-ins with the two Event Assistants to make sure we were on track and made sure the spreadsheet was updated daily to note our progress.

Result: During the banquet, the meal service went smoothly, and I received many compliments about the quality of the food. The manager in charge of the event asked if I would be willing to do it again next year.

Example 2

Competency: Customer/Citizen Focus. It is defined as the desire to work closely with internal and external customers (e.g., citizens of CGS, residents, patients, colleagues, other divisions/departments, community partners, key stakeholders, etc.) to meet and exceed their expectations.

Question: Tell us about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer/client.

Sample Response:

Situation: In my previous position as Account Manager, I had customer transferred to me who was upset about the cost to disconnect their services. They had recently finished a contract and were provided a new promotion for their tv and internet. Agreeing to the new promotion put them into a new two year contract, which meant there was a cancellation fee should they cancel their services before the contract was done. The customer was only 3 months into the new contract and indicated that when they were offered the promotion, they were not advised that it started a new contract and now they needed to cancel their services, as they were moving.

Actions: After listening to their concerns, I reviewed their case and noticed that the cost to remain on their old plan for 3 months would have cost them significantly less than the new promotion price, plus the cancelation fee. As such, I offered to revert their package back to their old price for the past 3 months used, and they would just need to pay the difference between the two packages for the 3 months and could cancel their services without a cancellation fee.

Results:  The customer was happy with this solution and provided positive feedback on our customer survey.

Example 3

Competency: Innovation. It is defined as the willingness and ability to take a creative approach to problems or issues, to “think outside the box”, to go beyond the conventional, and to explore creative uses of resources (e.g., doing more with less).

Question: Tell us about a time when you had to be creative in solving a problem, or looking at the way things are done.

Sample Response:

Situation: In my previous role as a Human Resources Assistant, I was responsible for posting all jobs in the organization. When we were recruiting for 10 lifeguard positions, I noticed that we weren’t getting a lot of applicants using our traditional methods, which included posting on our website and advertising at our local high schools and post-secondary institutions.

Actions: I decided to take advertising at the local high schools one step further. Because the jobs were only advertised in the high school’s co-op office, not everyone was seeing them since not all students visit the co-op office regularly. I decided we should also advertise on the school’s morning announcements. I drafted a short script that included information about our job posting and information on how to become certified as a lifeguard. I contacted the communication departments for all the school boards in the city and they all agreed to add the advertisement to their morning announcements.

Result: We were able to obtain enough applicants for the 10 positions, and also had other students sign up for lifeguard certification courses.