Cracking the Behavioral Interview

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Behavioral Interview is a type of interview that focuses on the candidate’s past behavior and experiences in order to predict their future behavior in similar situations. This type of interview is important for all type of companies specially for FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) interviews because these companies are looking for candidates who have a track record of success and have demonstrated specific skills and abilities in their previous roles. Behavioral interviews are a way for the company to get a sense of how the candidate has handled certain situations in the past and how they may handle similar situations in the future. This helps the company make a more informed decision about whether the candidate is a good fit for the role and the company culture. Behavioral interviews are a popular way for employers to evaluate candidates for a position. As a mobile software engineer, it’s important to be prepared for this type of interview and to understand what the interviewer is looking for.

If you never face any behavioral round, I have some common questions that I was asked by Hiring managers from different companies:

  1. Can you give an example of a time when you had to work with a difficult team member?
  2. Can you describe a situation where you had to think on your feet to solve a problem?
  3. Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision.
  4. Can you describe a situation where you had to work under pressure to meet a deadline?
  5. Tell me about a time when you had to share bad news with your team or manager.
  6. Can you give an example of a time when you had to handle a challenge or obstacle in your work?
  7. Tell me about a time when you had to manage multiple tasks and priorities.
  8. Can you describe a situation where you had to adapt to a change in project requirements?
  9. Tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult customer or client.
  10. Can you give an example of a successful project you have led and what made it successful?

Please note that these are common behavioral interview questions and the actual questions you may be asked could be different and also aligned with your experience and resume, but these questions give you a sense of what to expect. The interviewer will be looking to understand how you have handled certain situations in the past and how you may handle similar situations in the future.

Here are a few tips for cracking the behavioral interview as a mobile software engineer:

Understand the purpose of a behavioral interview

These interviews are designed to assess your past behavior and experiences to determine how you will perform in the role. The interviewer will ask you to provide specific examples of situations you have faced and how you handled them.

Who will be responsible for conducting the behavioral interview?

A behavioral interview is typically conducted by a hiring manager or a member of the human resources department. These individuals are responsible for evaluating a candidate’s qualifications, skills, and fit for the position and company. They may also be responsible for leading the interview process, asking questions, and evaluating the candidate’s responses. The hiring manager or human resources representative will likely have a list of pre-determined questions that are designed to assess the candidate’s qualifications, skills, and fit for the position. They may also ask follow-up questions to gain more information about the candidate’s background and experience.

During a behavioral interview, the interviewer will typically ask the candidate to provide specific examples of past experiences and how they handled certain situations. The interviewer will be evaluating the candidate’s ability to handle stress, problem-solving skills, communication skills, and ability to work in a team. It’s also possible that the interviewer is not just the hiring manager or human resources representative but they may also include the team leader, peers or even the future supervisor of the candidate. This will give a broader perspective on the candidate’s fit for the position and the company’s culture.

Prepare your examples

Before the interview, think of a few examples of situations you have faced as a mobile software engineer that demonstrate your skills and qualifications. Be sure to have specific details and outcomes ready to share.

Communicate your problem-solving skills: As a mobile software engineer, you will need to be able to solve complex problems. Use your examples to show how you have used critical thinking and problem-solving skills to overcome challenges. Those are my top tips to crack this section:

  1. Review the job description and requirements: Before the interview, review the job description and requirements to understand the specific skills and abilities that the company is looking for. Identify the key competencies that are required for the role and think about examples from your past experiences that demonstrate those skills.
  2. Prepare STAR stories: STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. These stories are used to describe a specific situation, task, action, and result that you were involved in. It’s a good idea to prepare 2-3 STAR stories that you can use to demonstrate your skills during the interview.
  3. Practice your responses: Once you have your STAR stories prepared, practice telling them in a clear and concise manner. Make sure to focus on the key takeaways and emphasize how your actions led to a positive outcome.
  4. Be specific and quantifiable: Try to provide specific and quantifiable examples that demonstrate your skills and abilities. For example, instead of saying “I am a good leader,” you could say “I led a team of 5 people in a project and was able to increase productivity by 20%.”
  5. Be ready to answer follow-up questions: Behavioral interview questions often lead to follow-up questions, so be prepared to provide more details and specific examples.
  6. Be honest and authentic: Don’t try to exaggerate or make up stories, be honest and authentic. It will be beneficial for both interviewer and yourself if you are honest about your past experiences.

Highlight your technical skills

Be prepared to discuss your technical skills and experience with mobile development technologies such as Swift, SwiftUI, and React Native if you have any chance in the behavioral round. Use the simple words to describe your technical skills and try to merge your soft skillset while describing.

But avoid technical iOS jargon

Avoiding technical iOS jargon in a behavioral interview can have several benefits. It allows the interviewer to focus on the candidate’s soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork. These skills are often more important in the long-term success of an iOS developer, as they can help the developer work effectively with other team members, communicate with stakeholders, and navigate the complexities of the iOS development process.

It also allows the interviewer to assess the candidate’s ability to explain complex technical concepts in simple terms. Being able to clearly and effectively communicate technical ideas is an important skill for any developer, as it allows them to collaborate with non-technical team members and stakeholders. It enables the interviewer to evaluate the candidate’s ability to learn and adapt. A candidate who can explain technical concepts in simple terms, rather than relying on jargon, is likely to be able to learn new technologies and adapt to new situations more easily.

Show your passion for mobile development

Employers want to see that you are passionate about mobile development and will be invested in the role. Share your enthusiasm for the industry and your eagerness to learn new technologies. When I was a Junior developer, this part is challenging for me. I know that I am passionate about iOS development and mobile app development. I tried my best to present it through my body language and tried to be enthusiastic and passionate throughout the interview but I think those are the top 5 approaches for cracking this section:

  1. Share examples of mobile development projects you have worked on: Share specific examples of mobile development projects you have worked on and the technologies you used. Explain the challenges you faced and how you overcame them, and highlight any particularly successful or innovative aspects of the projects.
  2. Show your knowledge of the latest mobile development trends: Demonstrate your knowledge of the latest mobile development trends, such as new technologies, frameworks, and tools, and how you stay updated on industry developments.
  3. Discuss your interest in mobile development outside of work: Share examples of your interest in mobile development outside of work, such as personal projects, hackathons, or open-source contributions.
  4. Explain how you approach mobile app development: Explain your development process and the steps you take when building a mobile app, such as user research, design, testing, and deployment.
  5. Show your willingness to learn: Highlight your eagerness to learn new technologies and frameworks, and how you stay updated on industry developments. Show your willingness to continuously improve yourself and your skills.

TL;DR – Be Honest

TL;DR or tl;dr, short for “too long; didn’t read”, is internet slang to say that some text being replied to has been ignored because of its length. If you want to remember one tip from all the tips I mentioned in this post, I would recommend being honest with your answers. I mean 100% honest. Being honest and not making up stories is important in a behavioral interview round for several reasons:

  1. Authenticity: Interviewers are trained to spot inconsistencies or exaggerations in a candidate’s responses. If you make up stories, it is likely that the interviewer will catch on and it will damage your credibility. Being honest and authentic will demonstrate your integrity and help the interviewer trust in your responses.
  2. Reliability: Behavioral interviews are used to predict how you will behave in similar situations in the future. If you provide false information or exaggerate your past experiences, the interviewer will not have an accurate understanding of how you will handle future situations. This can lead to a misalignment between your skills and the role’s requirements.
  3. Honesty is a good trait: Honesty is a highly valued trait in any workplace, and it’s a reflection of your integrity. Demonstrating honesty during the interview process can help establish trust and positive relationship with the interviewer.
  4. Matching your skills: If the interviewer can see that you have been honest and truthful in your examples, they can better match your skills to the role and company.
  5. Future reference: If your interviewers found out that you have not been honest during the interview process, it may harm your career in the future if the same interviewer is involved in your future interviews.

Being honest and not making up stories during a behavioral interview round is important because it helps establish trust with the interviewer, provides an accurate understanding of your skills and abilities, and is a reflection of your integrity and reliability as a candidate. If you don’t know the answer or never faced certain behavioural scenarios just tell your interviewer politely that “I don’t know. This situation is new to me. and Smile”. It is simply not possible to face millions of behavioural scenarios in a short span of life.

By following these tips, you can effectively communicate your qualifications and skills during the behavioral interview and increase your chances of landing the job as a mobile software engineer.

✍️ Written by Ishtiak Ahmed

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