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Behavioral-Based Interviewing

Many employers are aware that employing someone on the basis of two short interviews can be a risk if they do not ask the right questions in an interview.  That's why behavioral interviewing has become very popular with many managers.

What is Behavioral Interviewing?

It is a style of interview that forces a candidate to answer questions that demonstrate his competencies (knowledge, skills and abilities) by giving specific examples from his past experiences.  The focus of the interview is less about what a candidate could do, and more about what he has done in specific situations in the past.  The theory is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

What Sort of Questions Should You Ask?

Ask the candidate to focus clearly on how he handled situations in the past, such as....

  • Give me an example of how you have...
  • Tell me about a situation where you...
  • How did you deal with a situation in your past role where you had conflict with...

How Should You Conduct a Behavioral Interview?

  • Make a list of the 10-12 specific skills or traits you are looking for (energy level, goal orientation, pattern of success, resiliency, etc.)
  • Create a list of questions, following the above format, that ask the candidate to refer to past examples where he has demonstrated this skill.  For example, to assess resiliency, you might ask "Give me an example of a recent professional disappointment, and how you handled it".
  • Probe for specific detail if the candidate does not initially share it.  A candidate may not be prepared for this type of interview format, and may need some coaching that you want a specific example, not a general answer.
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