Know The Behavioral Interview Questions - Data Science Interview

Know The Behavioral Interview Questions - Data Science Interview


The blog highlights the importance of behavioral interview questions in data science job interviews and offers valuable tips for effective answers. It provides a list of the top behavioral questions with answers. The conclusion emphasizes the significance of thorough preparation and suggests joining a professional data science course for industry-relevant skills.

When ‘behavioral questions’ are mentioned, people tend to think of questions about location, commute or salary. In contrast, behavioral interview questions give a more nuanced sense of your work. It’s a way for recruiters to see what you can accomplish based on your past professional performance. 

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Candidates are often rejected despite brilliant technical knowledge because they didn’t spend enough time preparing for data science and behavioral interview questions. Behavioral interview questions seem easy to study but are not. 

When Are Behavioral Interview Questions Asked in a Data Science Interview?

Behavioral interview questions are asked when the recruiter has already assessed your technical skills but wants to know more about you than your resume information. These questions are almost similar to situational questions, but the recruiter does not give you any situation; you must dig into your past and answer as per the situation.

How to Best Answer Behavioral Data Science Questions

A strong answer to a behavioral interview question is structured, clear, and tells a story. The best answers are like stories. They are framed from beginning to end and include plenty of interesting detail. The goal should be to leave the listener satisfied with their initial question and possibly provide material to dig further into. Here are some important points to keep in mind:

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  • Behavioral interview questions need preparation, as thinking on your feet in a data science interview is never advisable. As they say, " Failing to prepare is preparing to fail."

  • Please make sure that your stories sound natural. 

  • Make the answer more conversational, so don't just keep talking. Pause occasionally and ask the recruiter if they have any questions.

  • It can also happen that you have only made mistakes in the past and are not very proud of it. In such a situation, its always right to talk about the mistakes and lessons you learned rather than tell lies.

  • If there is no relevant incident from your past, it's necessary to tell the recruiter that you would opt for a hypothetical situation and discuss it.

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Top Behavioral Interview Questions and What to Look for

The following are the top behavioural interview questions that ought to be prepared by every aspirant going for a data science interview. There are also some probable/hypothetical answers to understand how to answer.

Teamwork Questions

Working with people is required for almost all jobs; therefore, be ready to discuss your group dynamics experiences. You should have an incident/story ready demonstrating your capacity to collaborate in trying situations. Think about managing project restrictions, settling team issues, or inspiring others.

If you are a fresher, dig into your college experience like the final-year project.

Q: Give me an instance when you had a disagreement with a coworker. What was your approach to that?

Looking for - Interviewers ask this question to learn more about your approach to the inevitable—disagreements at work. But even when you're not at fault, appearing good in a fight can be difficult, so that you could feel anxious.

A: In a high-stakes project meeting, the atmosphere crackled with tension as my coworker vehemently opposed my proposed marketing strategy, dismissing it as impractical and bound to fail. Emotions flared, and the room became a battlefield of conflicting ideas. 
As the showdown continued, I found my voice steady, resisting the urge to succumb to anger or frustration. Instead, I listened to my coworker's concerns, recognizing the value in their perspective. We engaged in open dialogue, seeking common ground in our disparate ideas. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, but I was unwavering in my commitment to a constructive resolution.

Q: Describe an instance when you erred and wished you had handled a situation with a coworker otherwise. 

Looking for - Everybody makes mistakes, but the attitude you carried when you erred or made a mistake talks a lot about you. 

A: Failure, in my own words, is an inevitable part of life where an intended outcome or goal isn't achieved as expected. It is a valuable opportunity for growth and learning, pushing us to improve and adapt in future endeavours.

I once failed to effectively communicate a change in project timelines to a coworker, causing confusion and delays. Instead of being transparent about the deadline shift, I assumed they were aware of the update. As a result, he continued working based on the previous timeline, leading to missed milestones and frustration.

In hindsight, I realized that my assumption was a critical error in communication. I should have proactively informed my coworker about the changes. This experience highlighted the importance of clear and open communication to prevent misunderstandings.

Q: Describe a situation when you required information from someone, and they weren't very responsive. How did you act?

A: Amid a high-profile project, I needed crucial data from a colleague who remained unresponsive, causing drama and tension. Worried about deadlines, I confronted the situation head-on. I expressed the team's frustrations and urgency during an emotionally charged meeting. To my surprise, they opened up about personal struggles impacting their responsiveness. Embracing empathy, I listened attentively, offering support and reassurance. The drama dissipated as we found common ground and devised a plan to accommodate their situation while meeting project goals. Our candid discussion fostered a stronger bond, leading to improved communication. The experience taught me the power of addressing challenges directly and the importance of compassion in building resilient team relationships.

Customer Service Questions

We all typically collaborate with several clients or other parties. Have at least one instance or a story from your past where you could successfully represent your team and provide top-notch customer service.

If you are a fresher, dig into your college experience like how you worked with your peers during a project or how you approached your professors.

Q: Give me an instance where you failed to meet a client's expectations. What happened, and how did you try to make things right?

A: In a web development project, I created a client's e-commerce website. Despite my best efforts, I encountered unforeseen technical challenges that delayed the project's completion. As a result, the client's expectations were unmet, and they expressed dissatisfaction with the delays and functionality issues. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, I immediately took responsibility for the shortcomings and communicated transparently with the client. I explained the challenges faced during development and assured them of my commitment to finding a swift resolution.
To make things right, I devised a plan to expedite the remaining work and fix any issues promptly. I involved the client in regular progress updates and provided access to a test environment to gather real-time feedback. I aimed to rebuild their confidence in the project by demonstrating open communication and collaboration.

Furthermore, I offered additional features and optimizations as a goodwill gesture to compensate for the delays and inconvenience caused.



Q: Describe a situation in which you dealt with a challenging client or customer. How did you manage?

A: In a past role as a customer service representative, I encountered a frustrated client who had experienced a product malfunction. They were upset and voiced their dissatisfaction in a rather aggressive manner. HE USED ABUSIVE LANGUAGE when I tried to talk directly, but I remained calm to manage the situation, actively listening to their concerns without interrupting. I acknowledged their frustration and assured them I would do everything possible to resolve the issue promptly.

I took ownership of the problem, double-checked the warranty details, and offered them a replacement or refund. To further ease their frustration, I gave them a discount code for their next purchase. My aim was to turn their negative experience into a positive one by demonstrating genuine concern and understanding. Eventually, the client's anger subsided, and they appreciated the swift and considerate resolution.

Q: Providing outstanding service to multiple clients at once can be challenging. How do you prioritise the needs of your customers?

A: In my previous role as a customer service manager, juggling multiple clients' needs was a daily challenge. So, we had a routine in place. I first assessed the urgency and severity of each customer's issue. I responded promptly to critical situations that could significantly impact the customer's business or well-being.

Next, I utilized a first-come-first-served approach for non-urgent inquiries to ensure fairness and manage expectations. Additionally, I tried to categorize and group similar issues, streamlining the resolution process for multiple customers facing similar problems.

I also kept customers informed about the progress of their cases, even if resolution required more time. By employing these strategies, I ensured that all customers received the best possible service, addressing their needs efficiently and fostering positive relationships with each of them.

Adaptability Questions

Adaptability is a crucial soft skill that employers look for in potential employees, especially in dynamic and fast-paced work environments.

If you are a fresher, talk about your college experience or any recent gig that you took up.

Q: Consider a recent work crisis or issue that you handled satisfactorily. Identify a lesson you learned from the circumstance, even if the result wasn't ideal.

A: In a recent work crisis, my team encountered a critical software bug before a major product release. The issue threatened to delay the launch and create dissatisfaction among our customers. Despite our best efforts, we couldn't fix the bug in time, and the release had to be postponed.

I learned from this circumstance the importance of thorough testing and contingency planning. While we had conducted various tests, we didn't anticipate all possible scenarios. This experience highlighted the need to invest more time and resources in comprehensive testing procedures, including stress testing and user feedback integration.



Q: Give me an instance where you had to use your judgment.

A: Generally, in the absence of comprehensive data, I make informed assumptions and validate them through rigorous testing and simulations. My ability to exercise sound judgment led to the successful implementation of the project and earned positive feedback from my academic advisors and external stakeholders.

Q: Describe a time when you failed. How did you handle the circumstance?

A: During a college group project, I encountered a failure when our team missed an important deadline for a major presentation. The setback was primarily due to miscommunication and conflicting schedules among team members. Initially, I felt disappointed and frustrated with myself for not coordinating better.

To handle the circumstance, I immediately took responsibility for my part in the failure and initiated a team meeting to discuss the issue openly. I acknowledged my mistakes and listened to others' concerns without blame. We developed a revised plan with clearer roles, set intermediary deadlines, and improved communication channels. I also implemented project management tools to track progress effectively.

Communication Questions

We have a lot of stories because we employ our communication abilities on a regular basis as professionals. Keep in mind to make wise decisions.

Q: Tell me about a time you had to convey your ideas through writing.

I encountered a situation where my superiors misunderstood the scope of a new software development project during a team meeting. The project was aimed at streamlining internal processes and increasing efficiency, but my superiors were skeptical about its potential impact.

Feeling frustrated that my ideas were not getting through effectively, I decided to convey my vision through a comprehensive project proposal. In the document, I outlined the specific pain points in the existing process, the benefits of the proposed solution, and a detailed roadmap for implementation.

To make it more personal and relatable, I included anecdotes from team members who had expressed their struggles with the current system.

Q: Give me an instance of a moment when you effectively convinced someone at work to see things your way.

A: One instance where I effectively convinced a colleague to see things my way was during a team meeting for a new marketing campaign. We were tasked with promoting a product to a niche audience, and there were differing opinions on the most effective approach.

I believed incorporating influencer marketing into our strategy would be a game-changer, but one of my colleagues was hesitant about its potential impact and raised concerns about the associated costs. To address their concerns and persuade them, I decided to have a one-on-one discussion outside of the brainstorming session. I started by actively listening to their perspective to understand their reservations better. Then, I presented my case with a data-driven approach.

I shared recent industry reports and case studies that showcased how influencer marketing had significantly boosted sales and brand awareness for similar products. Furthermore, I addressed the cost concerns as well by presenting a well-researched list of potential influencers who had a strong following within our niche audience but were within our budget range.

Ultimately, he got convinced. This experience taught me the importance of respectful communication, being prepared with supporting evidence, and understanding and addressing others' perspectives to effectively convince them to see things your way.

Q: Describe a situation when you had to conduct a challenging talk with an irate client or coworker. How did you respond to the circumstance?

I once found myself entangled in a dramatic situation with a coworker. There was an ongoing conflict between us due to a misunderstanding that had been escalating over time.

Instead of letting the drama escalate further, I decided to have a private 1-1 conversation with my coworker to address the issues and find a resolution. I approached the conversation calmly, acknowledging that emotions were running high.

During the talk, I actively listened to her grievances and allowed her to express her feelings without interruptions. I also shared my side of the story, clarifying the misunderstanding and any unintentional actions that might have contributed to the drama.

To move past the drama, I proposed finding common ground and focusing on our shared goals as a team. We discussed ways to improve communication and avoid similar misunderstandings in the future. We took responsibility for our part in the conflict and agreed to let go of any animosity.

Motivation and Value Questions

Consider talking about a story that highlights a pertinent talent, passion, or experience you haven't had a chance to mention yet or that you want to emphasise further and present as one of your greatest successes! If you're looking for an entry-level position, feel free to discuss your academic achievements.

Q: What is your proudest professional achievement?

A: My proudest professional achievement would be leading a cross-functional team to successfully implement a complex and innovative project within a tight deadline. The project required extensive coordination and collaboration among various departments with distinct expertise and responsibilities.

Throughout the process, I ensured effective communication, fostering a cohesive team spirit and motivating everyone to perform at their best. I facilitated problem-solving sessions, encouraging creativity and adaptability to overcome unforeseen challenges.

My proudest moment came when the project was completed on time and exceeded expectations regarding quality and impact. Witnessing the positive outcomes of our collective efforts and the recognition received from stakeholders and senior management was immensely gratifying.



Q: Describe a time you took the initiative to solve a problem after noticing it.

A: I once encountered a situation where there were constant delays in the approval process for project documents. This was causing significant setbacks, impacting project timelines, and causing frustration among team members.

Realizing the negative impact on the project's progress, I decided to take the initiative to improve the approval process. I began by researching best practices and consulting with colleagues from other departments to understand their perspectives on the issue.

With a better understanding of the bottlenecks, I drafted a proposal outlining a streamlined approval process. The proposal included clear guidelines, designated approval authorities, and established timelines for each stage of the approval process.

Next, I scheduled a meeting with the relevant stakeholders, including department heads and project managers, to present my proposal. I emphasized the potential benefits of the streamlined process, such as faster decision-making, improved project efficiency, and reduced delays. After gaining support from key stakeholders, I collaborated with the IT department to implement the new approval process, making use of technology to automate certain steps and ensure transparency throughout.

The result of this initiative was a significant reduction in approval delays, leading to smoother project execution and increased team morale. By taking the initiative to address the issue, I demonstrated leadership, problem-solving skills, and a commitment to improving processes for the benefit of the entire organization. This experience also reinforced the importance of proactive communication and collaboration to drive positive changes in the workplace.

Q: Tell me about a time when you had either very strict or minimal supervision. What was your approach to that?

A: I once had an experience with minimal supervision while working on a research project. The project had a loose framework; my CEO trusted me to take ownership and make significant decisions independently.

With minimal supervision, my approach was to be proactive and self-disciplined. I set clear goals and timelines for myself, ensuring I remained on track and met the project's milestones. I researched thoroughly, seeking information and resources to support my work effectively.

I regularly provided updates to keep myself accountable, sharing progress, challenges, and potential solutions. This open communication allowed me to receive feedback and course-correct if necessary.

Without strict supervision, I sought guidance and collaborated with colleagues whenever needed. I contacted subject matter experts within the company and engaged in discussions to gain additional insights and perspectives.

Final Thoughts

The behavioural Questions interview round is not to be underestimated. It presents a valuable opportunity for every aspiring candidate to delve deeper into their experiences and showcase their true potential. Unlike the technical round, this interview round allows individuals to provide a more comprehensive picture of themselves, shedding light on their character, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal skills.

In today's competitive job market, technical expertise alone is often not enough to secure a position. Employers are increasingly recognizing the importance of hiring individuals who not only possess the necessary technical skills but also exhibit strong behavioural attributes that align with the company's values and culture.

By placing equal, if not more, emphasis on the behavioural interview round, candidates can demonstrate their ability to adapt, collaborate, communicate effectively, and handle challenging situations. During this round, candidates have the chance to share compelling stories that showcase their problem-solving abilities, resilience, and decision-making skills.

One of the fastest ways to pick up in-demand skills that are relevant to the industry is through Data Science Course. They are job-oriented, industry-aligned and will help you prepare for your interviews.


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About the Author

Mechanical engineer turned wordsmith, Pratyusha, holds an MSIT from IIIT, seamlessly blending technical prowess with creative flair in her content writing. By day, she navigates complex topics with precision; by night, she's a mom on a mission, juggling bedtime stories and brainstorming sessions with equal delight.

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