AMA Victoria


AMA Victoria made this resource available to members only.
Get access to all of AMAV's articles, events, and more by joining today.

  •  Access all member-only resources from AMAV
  •  Dig deeper into the subjects that matter to you
  •  Get in depth articles to achieve your professional goal

Join Now

Already a member? Log in

Another interview question format that can be anxiety provoking is the dreaded ‘behavioural event interview question’ (BEI). BEI questions require you to come up with a good example on the spot, which demonstrates your skill and competence against the selected role criteria - the assumption being that ‘Past Behaviour Predicts Future Behaviour’! These questions usually begin with ‘Tell me about a time… Give me an example of when…’

Our top piece of advice to you in preparing for these questions is DO NOT attempt to wing it on the day. For 99% of you this will end badly, with your performance at interview lacking substantially – in our experience very few people do this well! Instead, your strategy for these questions is to tackle them head on through: Planning, Preparation and Practice…


  • Identify the key skills, competencies, and hot topic areas relevant to the role / specialist field you are interviewing for. 
  • The job description often provides clues on this in the ‘Key selection Criteria’ or ‘Role Competency’ sections, or it is addressed directly in the job advertisement or in an information session they hold. 
  • It is also good practice to ask peers ahead of you, what interview questions they have asked in previous years as a guide.


  • Under each area document examples that demonstrate your previous experience dealing with a similar situation or highlight your competence or skill. 
  • A structure you can use to capture this information in is the ‘S.T.A.R’ (Situation, task, action, result) or ‘C.A.R’ (Challenge, action, result) model. 
  • Come up with as many examples as you can for each competence, skill, or topic area, approaching it from different perspectives. 
  • For example: ‘Conflict management’ – Come up with examples that highlight conflict from several perspectives –Peer, Nurse Unit Manager, Allied Health colleague, superior, patient, family etc. The more the better!


  • Now practice speaking your examples ‘out loud’ using the STAR or CAR structure.
  • Do not do this in your head! It is essential you get a sense of how your responses sound out loud. 
  • Aim to be able to talk through each example in approximately 2 minutes as a general guide for non-clinical questions. 
  • The focus of your response should be on ‘the actions’ you took (50-60% of your response).  A good general guide is Situation & Task – 20%, Actions – 60%, Result - 20%. This is a guide only and there can be exceptions to this.
  • Time yourself to get a sense of length of responses and record yourself to hear how you sound.  Ask yourself – ‘Am I easy to follow?’, ‘Am I waffling?’, ‘Are my responses succinct and well structured?’, ‘Do I sound confident and competent?’, ‘Would I employ me?’.

A couple more important tips:

  • You must use an actual example not a hypothetical scenario when responding to these questions.
  • It is important to put yourself at the heart of your answer by using the term ‘I’ or ‘my team’.  Do not use the term ‘we’, your response is about what you did not what the team did!

If interviewing is not a strength for you the good news is that it is a skill you can acquire.  To help you build muscle in this area you can schedule an interview training package with one of our team.  Or if you believe you are tracking well and want to test your preparedness you can schedule a ‘Practice Interview’

If you have any further questions, please email us at [email protected].

Further reading in the 'it is interview season' series