Tips for Interviewing at Pfizer

Behavior-based interviewing is driven by the philosophy that past performance predicts future performance. Since performance is a result of how we behave, we can predict a candidate’s future performance by probing into, or assessing, past behaviors.
Behavioral-based interviews are designed to assess a candidate against a standard set of competencies required for the role.  Competencies are the attributes of an individual that are important for effective performance in a role and are usually a mixture of skills, ability, motivation and knowledge.

How are behavior-based interviews conducted?

A behavior-based interview is a structured interview made up of specific questions relating to each competency area that is to be assessed.  The interviewer will be asking you for specific examples of your past behavior which demonstrate evidence against each competency, and all candidates applying for the same role will be asked the same questions.  Questions often begin with "Tell me about a time when…" or "Give me an example of…" For each question, the interviewer will ask you a question and then follow this up with a series of probing questions to gather all of the information they need for each competency area.

How to prepare for a behavior-based interview

Now that you have some insight into what a behavior-based interview is and how it will be conducted, you can begin to prepare and practice for one.

Unfortunately, we cannot tell you exactly which behaviors or competencies we are assessing at the interview.  However you should be able to think of situations you have been in that demonstrate to us that you have the qualities we are looking for. Draw on your specific accomplishments and relate them to questions being asked and skills being assessed.

A useful technique to use when preparing for and answering competency based questions is the ‘S.B.O.’ technique. This acronym acts as a reminder to you as to how to structure your response.

  • Situation – what was the context / situation of the example?
  • Behavior – what was required of you in terms of aims / objectives / challenges? What actions did you take?
  • Outcome – what happened / what was the outcome of your actions?

You will be asked to provide specific examples with detail.  When using this format it is useful to give the interviewer a little bit of the Situation but the bulk of your example should consist of your Behavior – what you did and said in this situation. It is always a good idea to also think about challenges and problems that you faced and how you overcame them as well as what you learned from your experiences.

By following this format, you will give the interviewer a good understanding of your experience and behavior.

Tips for the Interview

  • Be yourself - act naturally, the interviewer wants to get to know you.
  • Don't be afraid to take time to collect your thoughts and think of your best example to fit the question before speaking
  • It's OK to ask questions – remember it's a two-way conversation.
  • It's also OK to ask the interviewer to repeat a question, or clarify your understanding of what you are being asked.
  • If you are unsure about whether your example is what the interviewer was looking for, at the end of your response check with the interviewer that you have answered their question.