You’ve been asked to participate in a behavioral event interview (BEI). What is it, what can you expect, and how should you prepare?
Here’s how it works, and what you can expect:
The process is simple and straightforward: After seeking a bit of your background for context, the interviewer will ask you to recount several recent situations in detail, articulating what you did, what you said, and what you were thinking and feeling at the time.
You will not be asked any leading or “trick” questions. Nor will you be asked for your opinions or reflections looking back on these situations. Rather, as you recount these stories, the interviewer will simply take you back in time, guide your through your stories, and probe for as much detail as possible so that you provide an accurate portrait of your behavior in those specific situations.
Your role in the process is to be open, honest, and to the extent possible recall the details of your thoughts and actions during those specific situations or events.
Most interviewees, after the typical pre-interview jitters, find the process energizing and enlightening, and walk away with new insights of their own. That said, the BEI can at times feel intense and demanding as you are asked to recall details from situations that happened months ago.
Preparing for the interview, like the process itself, is relatively simple: Rest, relax, reflect.
The interview is long, up to 2 hours, and you’ll be doing most of the talking, so get a good night’s sleep before the day of the interview.
Do what you normally do to stay relaxed and alert, be it exercise, meditation, or simply reading a good book or watching your favorite movie.
Think about your leadership experiences over the past 18 to 24 months. Which come to mind as good, detailed examples of how the interviewers can see you at your best in your role as a leader?
That’s it. The BEI is designed to understand you and your leadership as clearly and accurately as possible. At the end of the interview most participants leave feeling they have been listened to well and been seen for who they really are – including a better understanding of themselves.