Are you a Hiring Manager? Here’s how to set yourself up for Success through Behavioral Interviewing

So, you found a great candidate for your open position and you want to conduct a behavioral interview to ensure that they will be a fit for your team, projects, and company culture, now what? 

Understanding what a behavioral interview is designed to do is the 1st step. This article outlines what a behavioral interview is, gives a list of great behavioral interview questions, and helps prepare for your next candidate’s behavioral interview. 

What is a Behavioral Interview? 

Behavioral interviews are a type of job interview where the interviewer asks questions about the candidate’s past behavior in order to assess their potential future performance. The basic idea behind behavioral interviews is that past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior, so by asking questions about how a candidate has handled specific situations in the past, the interviewer can gain insight into how they might handle similar situations in the future.

In a behavioral interview, the interviewer will typically ask questions that start with phrases such as “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of…” The questions are designed to elicit specific examples of how the candidate has demonstrated certain skills or qualities in the past, such as leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, communication, or adaptability.

The candidate’s responses are then evaluated based on how well they demonstrate the skills or qualities that the employer is looking for. The interviewer may also ask follow-up questions to dig deeper into the candidate’s thought process or to clarify any details.

Behavioral interviews are often used by companies that prioritize a specific set of skills or qualities in their hiring process. By focusing on past behavior rather than hypothetical situations, behavioral interviews aim to provide a more accurate assessment of a candidate’s potential fit for a particular role.

What types of questions are asked in a Behavioral Interview?

Here are some common behavioral interview questions that employers may ask:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a challenge at work.
  • Give me an example of a time when you demonstrated leadership.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure to meet a deadline.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to resolve a conflict with a coworker or client.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a change in the workplace.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to think creatively to solve a problem.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to communicate difficult or sensitive information to a team or manager.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to work on a project with a tight budget or limited resources.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with a difficult or challenging coworker.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to take initiative to improve a process or project.

These questions are designed to prompt candidates to provide specific examples of how they have handled certain situations in the past, and to demonstrate their skills and abilities related to the job they are applying for. It’s important for candidates to prepare ahead of time and to be ready to provide detailed, concrete examples of their past experiences.

Why is Behavioral Interviewing important? 

Great! You’ve learned a bit about behavioral interviewing and have gained some new questions to ask but why is it so important? 

Behavioral interviewing is important because it provides a more accurate and reliable way of assessing a candidate’s potential job performance. Unlike traditional interview questions that ask hypothetical questions, behavioral interview questions ask about a candidate’s past behavior in specific situations. This approach assumes that past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior.

Here are some key reasons why behavioral interviewing is important:

  • Predicts future behavior: By asking about past behavior, employers can get a good idea of how candidates are likely to behave in similar situations in the future.
  • Provides concrete examples: Behavioral interview questions require candidates to provide specific examples of how they have demonstrated certain skills or qualities in the past. This helps employers assess the candidate’s abilities more accurately than if they were just asked general questions.
  • Consistent evaluation: Behavioral interviews provide a structured and consistent way of evaluating candidates. By asking the same questions of all candidates, employers can compare responses and make more informed hiring decisions.
  • Reduces bias: Behavioral interviewing can help reduce bias in the hiring process. Because it is focused on specific behaviors and skills, it is less susceptible to biases based on factors like race, gender, or age.

Overall, behavioral interviewing is an important tool for employers to assess candidates in a fair and accurate way, and for candidates to demonstrate their abilities and fit for the job. The next time you are preparing for a candidate interview, try incorporating some of these tips and questions. You will be surprised at how much you learn and enjoy the interview process! 

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