BEI (Behavioural Event Interviewing): How to be Friends with this tool?

Phrases like "culturally fit" or "in alignment with our values" or "perfectly goes with our mission and vision" are in vogue with companies these days. Recruiters are singing a different tune altogether. Your essential technical skills for the jobs are well fitted into your resumes but that is only half the job done. Comprehensive and impressive resumes can get you a call, and post that, the real battle begins.

Have you been asked questions such as, "Are you a team player? Give me one instance where you had displayed this kind of behaviour?" "You say you always stick to deadlines, tell me one situation where you committed but could not deliver on time?" "I am sure you must have worked with all kinds of people. Can you specifically tell me about the time when you had to deal with an extremely difficult co-worker. How did you make it work with him?"

The above mentioned are some of the questions asked to aspirants these days. Do you realize how many blue chip companies are adopting this type of method to decide upon the future of the job seekers? This method which is popular with the recruiters in today’s time is known as Behavioural Event Interviewing.

Let us get a little familiar with it. What is BEI?

BEI (Behavioural Event Interviewing) is an evidence based interviewing method in which the interviewer tries to dive deep inside you looking for insights which can be beneficial for the job roles you are applying for. The interviewer tries to decipher if you can be aligned to the core belief of the company. Whether you would do justice towards the role you are applying for and your past behaviour will help the interviewer understand your future performance and many associated factors. BEI is one of the most crucial phases of hiring. It is not the sole determiner but indeed quite instrumental towards your selection at your desired organization. BEI forms the important side of the recruitment triangle after the Psychometric Testing and the Technical Interview. You can either face the BEI based on your psychometric results or just a plain BEI based on your past experiences.

Why this method?

Infancy Attrition (People leaving jobs within the tenure of 6-12 months) is on rage these days. Every second company we see in every sector or every scale is facing this challenge. To tackle this obstacle BEI was introduced. BEI is a conversation with purpose. It has become quite important for the companies to know about the aspirant's alignment to the company's core values.

Points to keep in mind if you are an aspirant:

[if !supportLists]1. [endif]The interviewer will inform you, in the beginning itself, that they are going to take a BEI.

[if !supportLists]2. [endif]They will ask you if you are uncomfortable about anything in specific.

[if !supportLists]a. [endif]Don’t be hesitant to tell them openly about it. It won’t affect your performance.

[if !supportLists]3. [endif]BEI is just like any other interview but with a longer duration.

[if !supportLists]4. [endif]There is absolutely no need to memorize anything about it. Just be yourself.

[if !supportLists]5. Never ever try to make up fictitious stories because you will never get away with it.

[endif]Scenario 1: If you face any question, in which you can’t think of any instance at that

moment; no need to panic because you can certainly ask for more time. BEI do not have

specified time limits.

Scenario 2: If the question asked to you is not relevant to you or you have never

experienced such situation, you can be vocal about it. Interviewers appreciate the

honesty since it is also a part of behaviour.

Scenario 3: You are a Fresher. In that case your position of responsibilities could range

from the college event you handled or worked in teams or so. Sometimes even your

personal experiences with family could also demonstrate your behaviour.

[if !supportLists]6. BEIs are never objective. By this I mean there is no wrong answer based on which your

will be judged. Rather how you convincingly you put your case matters.

[if !supportLists]7. [endif]If you are asked questions like “Describe a situation.” or “Imagine if you are undergoing

this difficulty”, then these hypothetical questions do not form the part of BEI

[if !supportLists]8. [endif]There is no stringent timeline for the interview. A good BEI lasts for 45 minutes to 1


[if !supportLists]9. [endif]Ideally you would see your interviewer telling you that s/he will be taking down notes

while you give answers. This exercise is only done to understand you better and later

they can analyse your answers in a better manner

[if !supportLists]10. [endif]One of the most crucial things to keep in mind: BEI is about you and you only.

[if !supportLists]a. [endif]Never emphasis on “We” when you begin to state your experience or accomplishments.

[if !supportLists]b. [endif]“What in particular was your role?” use “I” instead of “We”.

[if !supportLists]c. [endif]You will be asked subsequent questions in the above context if you don’t tell the

interviewer about “Your” role in the whole scenario.

[if !supportLists]11. [endif]The interviewer is particularly interested in knowing about you as an individual.

[if !supportLists]12. [endif]There is no rush so you can take your time and answer at your pace.

[if !supportLists]13. [endif]Just be patient and BEI would be a cake walk for you.

There is no single answer for any one situation but let me illustrate some examples. This would help you forming your answers better:

Sample Question 1: Describe a situation where you have had to deal with a difficult person.

Sample Answer:

I was transferred to a new project, at my previous company, to replace a star performer member of the team. My new team leader exhibited hostility towards me and I found myself left out of vital communications and meetings. After a few weeks, I was able to talk her into a one on one meeting. They laid out all of the key objectives for the team, the previous employee’s role in meeting those objectives, and then discussed the goals that I could set to make sure I was able to serve as a quality replacement. In our discussion, we also identified a few underlying issues with management that she had been carrying around with her. In uncovering all of these sentiments, she was able to clearly define her situation and achieve an understanding with her supervisors. In the end, the entire team morale improved, I was able to exceed my goals and the company itself became more profitable from our teams increased performance.

Follow-up questions will test for consistency and determine if you exhibited the desired behaviour in that situation:

[if !supportLists]1. [endif]"Can you give me an example?"

[if !supportLists]2. [endif]"What did you do?"

[if !supportLists]3. [endif]"What did you say?"

[if !supportLists]4. [endif]"What were you thinking?"

[if !supportLists]5. [endif]"How did you feel?”

[if !supportLists]6. [endif]"What was your role?"

[if !supportLists]7. [endif]"What was the result?"

Sample Question 2: Describe a situation when you had to deliver excellent Customer Service following a complaint.

Sample Answer: Using the STAR approach

Situation: "A customer was complaining that the bottle of the XYZ product was leaking now and then. Every 2 out of 3 bottles were having this defect”.

Task: "I needed to address the customer's immediate query and find out what went wrong in the normal process”.

Action: "I apologized, got the details and passed them to our head production, who contacted the customer within the hour. I investigated why the market complaint hadn't been answered. I discovered that it was a combination of a cap sizes of two products mixed together leading to misfit on some of the bottles. I let the customer know and we offered a goodwill discount on her next order”.

Result: "The customer was impressed by our honesty and because of our 100% track record barred us from any complications and continued the order with our company”.

Some of the popular questions asked:

[if !supportLists]1. [endif]Tell me about a specific incident on your last/current job where you went ‘beyond the

call of duty’ to get something done.

[if !supportLists]2. [endif]Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.

[if !supportLists]3. [endif]When you’ve had ethical issues arise at work, whom did you consult?

[if !supportLists]4. [endif]Tell me about a time you were able to build team spirit in an environment of low


[if !supportLists]5. [endif]Give me an example of a time you successfully built a project team from scratch.

[if !supportLists]6. [endif]Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with

your ideas. What did you do?

[if !supportLists]7. [endif]Tell me about a time when you had to work on a team that did not get along.

[if !supportLists]8. [endif]Tell me about a time you wished you would have handled an unhappy, angry, or irate

customer a different way.

Well, I hope I would have been able to do justice answering some of the common myths around BEI. I wish you good luck for your future interviews.

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