The Behavioral Interview: Actions Do Speak Louder Than Words

Apr 14, 2015

The Behavioral Interview

Behavioral interviewing is based on the theory that a person's behavior in past situations will give a good indication of his or her future choices and behavior. There are a few definitions of behavioral interviewing you should know.

  • It is a process to identify a candidate's actual behaviors and choices.
  • It is a strategy to uncover behavioral indicators in important situations.
  • It is a means to assess a candidate's competencies and skills against job-related qualifications.

Below are some examples of legally defensible behavioral interview questions and hiring assessments that can lead to uncovering core competencies in a possible candidate.

  1. What has been a demanding goal for you to achieve? What were the obstacles you faced and how did you get over those hurdles?
    • This question taps into the candidate's achievement orientation.
  2. Can you think of a situation in which an innovative course of action was needed? What did you do?
    • This question uncovers the candidate's ability to create solutions to problems.
  3. What are the normal customer interactions you have in your present position? Can you think of a recent example of one of these?
    • This looks into a candidate's customer service orientation.
  4. In your current position, what standards have you set for doing a good job? How did you determine them?
    • This shows the candidate's work standards.
  5. Have you ever been in a situation where you have had to take on new tasks or roles? Describe this situation and what you did.
    • This will help show the candidate's degree of flexibility.
  6. Have you done things in your job beyond what was required of you? Tell me about some things you've done that exceeded requirements.
    • This taps into the candidate's initiative.
  7. Can you tell me about a situation in which you attempted to raise someone's level of performance? Describe the situation and your actions in this process.
    • This will tap into the candidate's people management skills.
  8. Virtually all jobs have stresses associated with them. What kind of pressures or stresses have you faced in your present position? How did you deal with these situations?
    • This taps into the candidate's stability and ability to deal with stress.
  9. We all have had to work with people who see things differently from us. Can you think of a person or group you have worked with who saw things quite differently from you? Give me an example of when they didn't agree with what you were doing. How did this make you feel and what was the end result of the situation?
    • This shows the degree of sensitivity the candidate has.
  10. Describe for me the best boss you ever worked for. Describe for me the worst boss you ever worked for.
    • This question will show the best management style for the candidate.

In addition, you can use "probing" questions to dig deeper into the situations and circumstances explained by the candidate. Using these techniques often will help perfect your behavioral interviewing technique throughout both the prehire assessment and the hiring assessment.

We cover this topic and many more at the ZERORISK HR Behavioral Interview Training Course. Find out more and register for our next public session.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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