The How-Tos of Behavioral Interviewing

Interviewing candidates for open positions is a skill that’s easy to learn, but difficult to master. There are different styles of interviewing, and one that can be the most helpful is behavioral interviewing. Based on the idea that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, behavioral interviewing asks very specific questions about candidates’ past accomplishments and challenges to determine if they have skills relevant to the job for which they are applying.

To conduct an efficient behavioral interview, you should ask questions in a way that the candidate doesn’t know what skill or trait you’re trying to learn about. The questions should be more probing, more difficult to answer, and more open-ended. Crafting questions like this takes a lot more preparation than traditional interview questions, but the results can be much more useful.

The best way to write questions for a behavioral interview is to start with a description of the open position. Working from the job listing, make a list of skills and characteristics that you’re looking for. Add qualities that you’d like to have in your employees in general. From this list of skills, you can now start writing questions. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Describe how you handled your most recent unhappy customer. Were you able to resolve their issues?
  • Describe a decision you had to make that was unpopular, and how you dealt with the aftermath.
  • What was the last deadline that you missed? How would you change things if you got a second chance?
  • What was the most recent time that you disagreed with a co-worker? How did you resolve the situation?
  • Has there been a time when you were able to motivate your co-workers? How did you accomplish this?
  • What was the most recent rule that you had to bend or break to get something accomplished?

Behavioral interviewing skills take time to master. If you’re short on time, contact a staffing specialist at Key Resource Group and let us take care of the hiring for you!