Ask The Career Counselor

Ask The Career Counselor

What is a Behavorial Interview?

Behavioral based interviewing is interviewing based on discovering how the interviewee acted in specific employment-related situations. The logic is that how you behaved in the past will predict how you will behave in the future i.e. past performance predicts future performance.

Traditional Interview vs. Behavioral Interview

In a traditional interview, you will be asked a series of questions which typically have straight forward answers like "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" or "What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them?" or "Describe a typical work week."

In a behavioral interview, an employer has decided what skills are needed in the person they hire and will ask questions to find out if the candidate has those skills. Instead of asking how you would behave, they will ask how you did behave. The interviewer will want to know how you handled a situation, instead of what you might do in the future.

Behavioral interview questions will be more pointed, more probing and more specific than traditional interview questions. Examples of questions:

  • Give an example of an occasion when you used logic to solve a problem.
  • Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.
  • Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled implementing it.

To learn how to effectively compete in an interview and win the job, sign up for one of our upcoming Interviewing workshops!

I have not been on a job interview in awhile, what are some of the questions I should expect?

Job interviews are always stressful - even for job seekers who have gone on countless interviews. The best way to reduce the stress is to be prepared. Take the time to review the "standard" interview questions you will most likely be asked. Also review sample answers to these typical interview questions.

Then take the time to research the company. That way you'll be ready with knowledgeable answers for the job interview questions that specifically relate to the company you are interviewing with.

Interview questions may be sorted into categories. Here are some “standard questions”:

Work History:

  • What did you like or dislike about your previous job?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What did you find most challenging on your last job?
  • How does your experience and training qualify you for this job?

About you:

  • What type of people do you work with most effectively?
  • Describe yourself in three words

About the new job:

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • If you were the employer what would you look for in a candidate applying for this position?

The Future:

    • Let's assume you've been hired. Your assignment is to maintain or improve current service levels while reducing the budget by 10%. What steps will you take?
    • Where do you see yourself in 3 years? 5 years?

To learn how to effectively compete in an interview and win the job, sign up for one of our upcoming Interviewing workshops!

I have heard the STAR Technique mentioned regarding interviewing. What is this?

S.T.A.R. is used in behavioral interviews.  This is what it stands for:

Situation or 


Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.

Action you took

Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did -- not the efforts of the team. Don't tell what you might do, tell what you did.

Results you achieved

What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?

You would use this technique when answering a question.  Examples of interview questions where you might want to use the S.T.A.R technique:

  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
I'm a student about ready to graduate from my training program and I have head I need to be utilizing "social media" in my job search, not just a resume.

You’ve heard right! Here is some information and links to get you started….

A Resume Is Not Enough: Why Students Need Professional Online Profiles

Perhaps you’ve heard about LinkedIn, the professional social network, but you’re not sure exactly what it is. Or, you’ve set up a LinkedIn profile but you don’t really know what to do with it.

For students who are accustomed to Facebook, LinkedIn can feel like a foreign land — a bit uncomfortable and a bit intimidating. It’s true that LinkedIn is a different world from more socially minded online networks; however, it is a world where students need to be. If you are a student or recent grad who is looking to build your career prospects, setting up a professional profile and becoming active on LinkedIn are absolute musts. Here are the key reasons why.

Important people are Googling you.

First and foremost, LinkedIn is about professional visibility. When a networking contact, grad school admissions officer or prospective employer types your name into a search engine, you want that person to find something more than your Facebook profile or an article from your college newspaper quoting your opinion about what band should play at spring fling.

By having a LinkedIn profile, you’ll guarantee that at least one search result is providing information about your professional accomplishments and goals. LinkedIn profiles rank very highly in search results (almost always on the first page), so having a LinkedIn profile is like a business having a listing in the yellow pages: it shows that you are proactively taking part in the professional community. Just as you build your professional visibility by showing up at a company information session, industry association conference or networking event, you need to “show up” online as well. LinkedIn is the place to do that.

A resume is no longer enough.

In today’s ultra-competitive job market, a good resume is not the only tool required to land a position. Online portfolios, blogs, Twitter feeds and other virtual tools are helping people present their credentials in new ways. Smart students know this and manage the online representations of their credentials as carefully as they craft their resumes and cover letters.

LinkedIn profiles can supplement the contents of your traditional one-page resume in several ways, even if you don’t have much paid work experience. On your profile you can include volunteer positions, extra curricular experience, web links to examples of your work and recommendations from people who can vouch for your skills and talents. To make sure that people find of all this supplemental information, be sure to include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resumes, business cards and in your email signature.

Relationships are crucial to your career success.

We all know that success is not just about what you know, but whom you know. Another important reason for students to have professional online profiles is to use social networks to build and maintain professional relationships. A LinkedIn presence facilitates networking, and the earlier you begin to network, the more robust your professional relationships will be throughout your career.

“I don’t know anyone!” many students will protest to this advice, but this is another important reason to join LinkedIn. By uploading your online address book to LinkedIn, you will discover that you know more professionals than you might think. This includes family, friends, neighbors, former teachers, professionals, work and internship colleagues and many others. And all of these people can potentially lead to connections with hundreds of other people and opportunities. Remember that people are in a different mindset when they are in the professional environment of LinkedIn, so even people you see every day will interact with you in a different, more professionally focused way on the site.

LinkedIn also helps you maintain your relationships over time. It can be difficult to keep in touch with the various people you meet in your career; however, when you have a strong online network, you can have small, frequent interactions — like commenting on someone’s status update or answering a question in a group discussion — that keep your relationships strong.

Building a global profile

Finally, a professional online profile is an essential step toward a global presence and a global network. In nearly every professional field, international relationships are a valuable asset and can lead to exciting opportunities. Almost half of LinkedIn users are outside the United States, representing over 200 countries, so it’s the perfect place to keep in touch with friends you have met while studying abroad, international classmates and alumni and new connections from across the globe.

If you don’t have many global relationships, you can make a few on LinkedIn by joining an internationally focused group or participating in some discussions on international issues. Within LinkedIn there are countless opportunities to forge new relationships and learn about different perspectives from around the world. Of course, none of that can happen unless you sign up and join the conversation!

In the end, building a professional presence and growing your professional network on LinkedIn are great ways to declare to the world that you are here, you are ready to contribute and you are eager to make your mark on the world — the online world and the real one.

Related Links 

To get more information on how to effectively use LinkedIn see our Calendar for the next workshop and how to register!

I've sent out many copies of my resume but I still have not gotten an interview. Why aren't employers calling me?

If you are not getting responses, it’s likely that your resume and cover letter need updating. 


Here’s a great approach:  Before applying for a position, research the company and the position online.  Visit the company’s website.  Become familiar with the terminology they’re using.  You will then have the ability to tailor your resume to meet the company’s needs.  Use their terminology where appropriate to highlight your existing skills.  Where possible, give concrete examples of your skills.  Examples:  Supervised up to 10 people in a retail store with annual sales of $250,000.  Developed filing system to streamline retrieval of customer records.  Served lunch to 200 customers on a daily basis.  This approach will help you demonstrate that you are a great candidate for the position. 


Cover letters addressed “To whom it may concern” are not ideal.  Your cover letter should include the name and address of the company.  If you locate the human resource representative’s name online, you should address the cover letter to that person.  Otherwise, you may address your letter to “Dear Human Resources Representative:”.


Both your resume and cover letter are documents that you can – and should – revise each time you apply for a position.


Do you need access to a computer?  You can use the One-Stop Centers to research companies online, as well as to type and print your resume and cover letter. 

Would you like someone to review or type your resume? Please call (716) 278-8246 for a free resume review appointment with a representative. 

There is no charge for any of our services, so feel free to take advantage of these great opportunities to upgrade your job search.  Services are funded through a federal Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act grant.

One Great Tip for Your Job Search

Think of your job search as a flow chart.  This will help you identify where the issues are, and you can then fix any “non-flowing” parts.

Not getting interviews? 

-->Update your resume and cover letter.  The purpose of your resume and cover letter are to help you land interviews.  If you aren’t landing interviews, it’s time for some remodeling.  Resume reviews are offered by appointment with our One-Stop representatives.  Please call (716) 278-8246 to schedule your free resume session.

Getting interviews but not getting called back by the employer?

-->Improve your interview skills.  Reserve a seat for one of our free workshops on Interviewing Skills.  Workshops are listed on the Event Calendars.  Take advantage of a free one-on-one Mock Interview, which will simulate a real interview.  You will receive feedback on your performance which will help you answer questions in future interview settings.  Please call (716) 278-8246 to schedule a free mock interview with a One-Stop representative.