Tips for Behavioral Descriptive Interview

“The best predictor of future performance is past performance in similar circumstances” – Dr. Tom Janz

Preparing for a job interview? Wait a minute….Only education, qualification and experience is not sufficient to ensure selection, employers today are expecting more, and they are looking forward to hire a star performer. They might put your behavioral skills on test through Behavioral Descriptive Interview.

In Behavioral Descriptive Interview (BDI) technique, the interviewer checks how  the candidate behaved  in various job related situations in the past. “Past behavior is an indicator of future actions” forms the basis of BDI. It’s a well structure interview where questions are designed according to skills and competencies required for job . Candidate’s response determines how well he fits in the position. It is the approach of BDI which differentiates it from other interview techniques.  Unlike situational interview, where candidate is given a situation and his ability is analyzed based on his response, BDI asks candidate to narrate a situation or incidences from his past experience which demonstrates a particular skill or ability.

Here’s how BDI is different:

What are your strengths? Traditional interview

What would you do if you receive a nasty e-mail from another team member?Situational Interview

Tell about a situation where you proved your multitasking skills. How well you succeeded?Behavioral descriptive interview

More and more employers are relying on BDI technique with a view to select most suitable and reliable candidates for job. They say, an employee with sound technical expertise and good behavioral competencies is likely to stay for long. With BDI technique, employers can best utilize the high investment they make on recruitment activities as well as can save on cost associated with employee turnover.

Preparing for Behavioral Descriptive Interview

BDI tests a candidate’s skills, attitude, beliefs and knowledge important for performance on job. There is no right or wrong answer for these interviews, they just check your ability to deal with situations. While answering questions in behavioral interview, be honest and focus on your positive attributes. An interviewer might cross question, probing into every possible detail  he might be interested in, being honest is highly recommended here.  Although it’s not easy to point what the interviewer might be looking for, these tips might help while preparing for BDI –

The most recommended approach to answer question in BDI is STAR method.

star PIC


–          Describe a Situation you encountered or Task you needed to perform from past experience.

–          Describe the action or steps you took to address the situation, detailing your contribution and highlighting your action.

–          Describe the outcome of your action. Detailing what you accomplished and what you learned from it.


I have tried to put together some behavioral parameters for which candidates are often evaluated during BDI. Sample questions are also given to help you prepare with situation in advance which can highlight the desired qualities.

Leadership Skills

Tell about a situation where you had encouraged your team members to act . Were you successful?

Time Management

How good at you in handling multiple responsibilities. Give a situation to prove how well you organize your work.

Stress Management

Tell about a situation when you had difficult time at work. What did you do to keep yourself positive ?

Decision Making

Tell about a situation where you had to make a difficult decision. What was the decision and the outcome? What did you learn from it?


Tell about a situation when you encountered difference of opinion within your team. What did you do and what was the outcome?

Initiation and Persuasion

Tell about most recent improvement you have brought into your project or job. What you did to accomplish it?

Flexibility and Adaptability

Describe an incidence where you were asked to help on task that was not part of your KRA or responsibility. What was it and how you managed your own workload during that time?

Achieving result

Describe an accomplishment you are most proud of. What steps you had to take to achieve that?

Customer Focus

Tell about a situation where you had to handle a tough customer. What did you do and what was the result?

Communication(written & verbal), Assertiveness, Creativity, Multitasking ability , Risk taking behavior are also the qualities employers look for in a prospective candidate. Along with your technical knowledge, preparing yourself on these aspects can present you as a best choice for any position.

Hope these tips are helpful….

3 thoughts on “Tips for Behavioral Descriptive Interview

Add yours

  1. I wish employers would get more realistic when doing interviews. Let’s face it when people are asked BDI questions 99% are going to give answers they rehearsed or tell employers what they think they want to hear. It’s ok to ask a couple of these type questions but how about ask some technical questions about the trade. Let’s face it if a person walks into an interview and says they have 10-20 years at the trade, great safety record and good references to back it up it’s probably because their a good worker who has worked well with others in the past. Keep the interview real people! All this BDI interviewing seems to be loop holes some companies use so they can hire whom ever they want without having to justify their experience or mistakes.

  2. Hello, and thanks so much for your article, which will be very helpful to me for future interviews.

    I have a small editing business, and would be very interested in assisting with this article, eg with minor typos, grammar and punctuation. If you are interested in my skills, please let me know.

    Thank you again!

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