Behavioral-based interviewing is a method that allows hiring authorities to probe for information that is directly relevant to the capabilities required in the role to be filled

The interviewee is asked about specific duties or behaviors from the past that might be indicative of how they will perform in the future. The reason behavioral based interview questions are so effective is due to the fact that job candidates who have demonstrated relevant abilities in the past are more inclined to be successful in the future. This technique puts employers in a position to take a more targeted approach to hiring in training, based on the information gleaned from their interviews.  Behavioral based interviewing also puts in place a systematic process that is easily replicated by any interviewer.

Behavioral based interview questions are designed to elicit answers from interviewees that methodically articulate a situation they have been confronted with, the task required to address the situation, the action(s) they took to complete the task, and the result of the actions. This model is known as the STAR Method for behavioral interviews.

Let’s go through an example

  • Hiring Manager: “Give me a specific example of when you had to start a task without being asked to do so.”
  • Interviewee: “(Situation) One afternoon at my previous place of employment, I completed to my to-do list earlier than expected. I was free to leave early but I knew that my immediate supervisor’s plate was full with lots of reports that were due the next day. (Task) I knew that I could not file the reports myself, but I could probably help alleviate some of the pressure on my supervisor by helping her out with the legwork. (Action) I immediately began doing the required research for 2 of the 3 reports. (Result) By the end of the work day, the research was complete, shaving 2 hours off of my supervisor’s day and she was able to leave the office and get home to her family shortly thereafter.

As you can see, asking the interviewee a behavioral-based interview question produced a comprehensive example of their abilities. Had the hiring manager asked “Can you start a task without being able to do so,” the response would likely have been a one-word answer: “yes!”

Behavioral-based interview questions should always be tailored to the competencies of the position in need of filling

However, there are a few questions that every interviewer should ask that will help paint a clearer picture of each applicant they interview:

1. “Give me an example of a situation where you were completely honest with a supervisor, peer, or direct report, in the face of potential negative consequences.” This behavioral-based interview question gives the interviewer an idea of how the applicant uses communication to solve a problem.
2. “Tell me about a time that you were confronted with a major work-related crisis.” This behavioral-based interview question demonstrates how the applicant will respond when they are inevitably confronted with a major problem in your own company.
3. “Describe a situation where you were tasked with doing something you were not trained for and in what way you approached it.” This behavioral-based interview question illustrates the applicant’s ability to take initiative and work autonomously.

Including these 3 questions in your behavioral-based interviews will set you on the path to hiring the best and the brightest in your industry, but don’t wait until the interview is scheduled to implement best practices in hiring. Download our free whitepaper “Executive Recruitment in Decline” to avoid the hidden costs of executive recruitment!