The key to preparing for behavioral interview questions is to ensure that you have proper coverage for all of the core behavioral question types. To put it another way, you want to make sure that you have a story that applies to every question your interviewer might ask. What you really want to avoid is being prompted with a question you didn’t prepare for and having to come up with an answer on the spot. Not only are you likely giving a weak answer, but you’re also wasting an opportunity to make yourself stand out.
The following tracker is intended to provide you a quantitative way to track and measure your readiness for behavioral interview questions. For additional context on the subject, please visit my posts regarding interview tips and general recruiting tips.
Click below to download the MBA Excel Story Tracker
- Story Database to track stories in SAR format
- Question Coverage tab to show preparedness against each major question type
- List of 12 major behavioral question types
- Conditional highlighting to show level of coverage
- Input area for appending additional questions and assessing coverage of those questions
Instructions for Use: Step 1
Go to the Story Database tab and populate all of your stories starting with your most impactful stories first. It may be a good idea to confer with a colleague to get his or her opinion on which of your stories are the best.
- Be sure to give each of your stories a unique name so you can easily refer back to it
- Document your stories in the Situation Action Result format with 3 – 4 bullet points for each section
- Bullet point format is good because you don’t want to sound like you’re reading from a script; having some variety each time you tell it is a good thing
- I’ve created space for 20 stories in the tracker, though I feel that anywhere between 10 to 15 stories is usually sufficient
- DO NOT re-sort the order of the stories; the ordering is linked to the next tab we will be using; if you do need to move stories around, just manually copy and paste them over
Move to the Question Coverage tab and cross reference each story you listed with each of the core behavioral question categories. Place an “x” in cells where the story can be applied to the question type.
- This won’t always be the case, but you’ll typically find that your most impactful stories are also applicable to the most question types
- Make sure you have at least one story for each core question type; if you don’t the “Coverage” column will be highlighted in red
- Ideally you’ll have two stories for each core question type, but for some of the more unique questions, such as “dealing with an ethical issue,” you’ll probably only have one
Now we move to the interview specific section of the tracker. While still on the Question Coverage tab, get a list of potential / expected questions for your next interview. Copy and paste them in the Level 2 Section of the Story Coverage Matrix. Then repeat the previous step by cross referencing your original stories against these new questions.
- Question lists for specific interviews can be derived either online or through a database kept by your MBA career center
- If you come to a question with no coverage, you’ll probably need to come up with another story
- There is space for 200 Level 2 questions in this list; you can either save a different version of this file for each interview you do, use the additional Question Coverage tabs, or continue appending to this list so that you have the coverage for all of your interviews tracked in one tab