Behavioral Interview questions have long been a favorite of HR Managers and Hiring Managers and for good reason. Behavioral interview questions give you a glimpse into how the applicant will perform in your role based on their past behavior. By asking how they've handled situations in the past you're able to learn about their ability to problem solve, communicate, work with team members, and what they think is a “great” job.
I believe behavioral interview questions should be part of your selection process.
Behavioral interview questions can’t stand alone though. They need you to be an active listener who asks for clarification or qualification until you understand. Often, the greatest value comes from outside the scope of their initial answer.
The key to Behavioral Interview Questions is that they ask about a SPECIFIC example or situation that happened in the past. If you want to ask about future or hypothetical situations you should use situational interview questions.
Here are some Behavioral Interview Questions to ask:
- Tell me about a time that you went above and beyond for a customer.
- Give me an example of a time that a co-worker frustrated you and how you handled it.
- Describe a situation when you had to resolve conflict in the workplace.
- Tell me about a time you had to convince someone to complete a task your way. Or to do something they didn’t want to do.
- Tell me about a time you set a goal and achieved it.
- Tell me about a time you set a goal and DIDN'T achieve it.
- Tell me about a specific thing about your favorite leader that really had a positive impact on you.
- Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision.
As you can see, Behavioral Interview Questions set the stage for job applicants to tell you about their skills, their experience, and their approach. All of which can be very helpful in determining their fit for the job.
However, I think one of the most powerful, yet underutilized aspects of using behavioral based interview questions is from the simple fact that many people don’t actually answer the question you asked.
Tell me about a time that you went above and beyond for a
Response: Well, at ABC Company we prided ourselves on the
customer always being right. It allowed me to really go above and beyond in many ways.
Do you see the problem?
The response doesn't actually answer the question! It was a nice, articulate response – but skirted the actual question being asked.
The true value of behavioral questions is the fact that you get an insider view of if they will actually listen and follow instructions. Most people – around 50-60% will give a specific answer once you ask the question a second time. However, there is a section of the population that really believes they are answering the question and they will begin to get annoyed with you because you are asking them the same thing repeatedly.
That, my friend, is a pretty clear sign that they are often going to have trouble following your instructions and probably not someone you want to hire. Check out this post for other indications that you probably don't want to hire someone.
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