Conducting a Behavioral Interview

WRITTEN February 14, 2018 Author: Mark Fogel

The interview process is where you have the most control over creating your employee roster, so you’ll want to use the process to its best advantage.

Behavioral-based interviewing is a technique used by many companies to identify and assess candidates’ skills, attitudes and values.

Behavioral interview questions seek to predict candidates’ suitability for roles within your organization based on their past professional behaviors. By discovering how candidates behaved in past situations, potential employers may have a way to predict how those candidates will perform in the future.

Specific behavioral questions can help you uncover candidates’ approaches to problems, conflicts, and stress; as well as illuminate values that are important to your company’s culture. Here are 4 tips to help you conduct an effective and efficient behavioral interview.

1. Choose Your Behavioral Interview Questions Strategically

Because your time with candidates is limited and you need to find out the most relevant information about their experiences, it’s important to strategically choose your behavioral interview questions. To focus your behavioral-based questions, think about them in relation to job function in addition to culture and values.

Examine the job description and determine key competencies required to perform the role successfully. What knowledge, skills and abilities does the position require? Choose 3 to 4 areas on which to focus.

Because your company has a unique culture, it’s worthwhile to ask candidates behavioral questions that will indicate if they could thrive in your workplace. Look at your values list, consider how the various items translate into professional behaviors, and then create questions based on those behaviors.

2. Be Consistent

Prepare a list of questions for each position on your interview roster. Ask all candidates these same questions, with the same wording, and in the same order. In this way, you’ll be comparing ‘apples to apples’ when it comes time to review candidates’ evaluations.

3. Divide and Conquer

To prevent the candidate from having to repeat answers to multiple interviewers, divide behavioral interview questions among the interviewers based on their area of focus or potential interaction with the particular role.

For example, an engineering candidate’s hiring manager might focus on problem-solving behavioral questions, while a project manager would ask teamwork questions. Some companies choose to assign cultural fit behavioral questions to HR or senior/ team leaders.

4. Evaluate and Measure

Whenever possible, create a checklist and scoring system (rubric) for each question or area of focus. Objective measures will help reduce any unconscious, interviewer bias when it comes time to make hiring decisions.

Your interview process is part of your employer brand; therefore, organizing how you conduct interviews will show candidates that you respect their time, and improve your hiring decisions. Behavioral interviews definitely require some proactive planning, but the professional outcomes are worth it.

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Image Courtesy of Amtec Staffing

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