The Effects of
Have you ever hired someone who interviewed well, but proved to
be a disappointing performer? Ever wish you could predict a job
candidate's performance before making a hiring decision? Well,
now you can by using a technique known as behavioral interviewing.
Statistics show that behavioral interviewing is five times more
accurate than the traditional interview style for choosing the
right candidates. Utilizing proper interviewing and selection techniques
can save your organization hundreds of dollars per year. It will
also help you avoid other outcomes of mis-hires including low employee
moral, poor productivity, lost customers, and reduced profit margins.
Behavioral interviews are based on the premise that past behavior
predicts future behavior. This comprehensive process uses carefully
structured, in-depth questions to gather and evaluate information
on a candidate's experience and skills. This technique helps predict
employee performance and reduce subjectivity when making a selection.
Many companies are now using the behavioral interviewing techniques
to select candidates whose skills and personalities fit both the
job and the company's values. Although behavioral interviewing
is more time-consuming than traditional interviewing techniques,
it is a better predictor of a person's ultimate success on the
job. Here are the six steps you should follow in preparing to present
a behavioral interview to a potential job candidate:
- Analyze the job. Break down each position
into the competencies and behaviors needed to be successful at
that job. For example, a candidate may require technical skills,
people skills, customer orientation, personal integrity and emotional
- Identify skills within each competency category. Once
the competencies are determined, identify the necessary skills
within each category. Competency in technical skills, for example,
might include technical proficiency, work experience, education
credentials, adaptability, and the ability to be promoted.
- Develop questions relating to each skill, competency
and behavior. The next step is to prepare two or three
appropriate questions for each of the skills, competencies
and behaviors identified. For the first skill, technical proficiency,
you might ask: "Having the ability to operate an ZYX machine
is a specific skill that we're looking for. Give me an example
of when you operated an XYZ machine." Another question
might be: "What are the most difficult parts of learning
to operate an ZYX machine?"
- Conduct the Interview. Ask the questions you've
developed—in sequence—to each candidate. Make sure
that you keep good notes on each candidate's responses to the
- Rank the response. For each question, rank
the candidate's response. Candidates could be ranked using a
scale from "not demonstrated" to "partially demonstrated" to "strongly
demonstrated" - for each skill.
- Evaluate the results. Compare each candidate's
responses to your company's needs. If you're interviewing several
people, compare your results. Once you become proficient in this
technique you can increase your luck and find an ideal candidate
who will strongly demonstrate each of the skills and competencies
that you're looking for.
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Here are some sample behavioral interviewing questions on topics
in these areas:
- Decision Making
- Planning and Organization
- Time Management
Careful preparation is the key to giving an effective behavioral
interview. Make sure that you are thoroughly prepared well in advance.
- Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker critized
your work in front of others. How did you respond? How has that
event shaped the way you communicate with others?
- How do you ensure that someone understands what you are saying?
- Tell me about a time when you had to present complex information.
- Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication
skills in order to get across an important point.
- Give me an example of a time you had to make a difficult decision.
- Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer. How
did you approach the problem? What role did others play? What
was the outcome?
- Give me an example of when taking your time to make a decision
- What did you do to prepare for this interview?
- Give me an example of a situation that could not have happened
successfully without you being there.
- Describe a situation when you had many projects due at the
same time. What steps did you take to get them all done?
- How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time? Give
me an example.
- Describe a time where you were faced with problems or stresses
that tested your coping skills.
- Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker
understand a task. How did you assist them? What was the result?
- Tell me about a time when you influenced the outcome of a project
by taking a leadership role.
- Give me an example of when you involved others in making a
- Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What
things did you fail to do? What were the repercussions? What
did you learn?
- Tell me about a time when you were particularly effective on
prioritizing tasks and completing a project on schedule.