Four Tips for Successful Behavioral Interviewing

Created in the 1970s, behavioral interviewing has become popular in recent decades for its value in predicting a candidate’s future performance based on past behavior. Behavioral interviewing techniques are based on the belief that past performance is the most accurate predictor of future performance in similar situations, and that an accurate estimate of past performance can be developed in an interview.

Like other interviewing techniques, behavioral interviewing is an art as well as a science. To perform more insightful and effective behavioral interviews, consider the following tips:

  1. Start from the job description.

The job description should describe the key requirements, skills, and qualities necessary to succeed in the position for which the hiring manager is interviewing. Use these criteria as the basis for developing your questions. You’ll want to ask the candidate to tell stories describing situations in which he or she used the skills, qualities, and traits in the job description successfully.

If the job description is out of date – or worse, if there is no job description – work with the position’s direct supervisor or with other employees who hold the same position to create one. Use the most essential functions of the job to create the “core” of the description, then work outwards to fill in the most important skills, qualities, and traits for a successful candidate.

  1. Make a list.

Creating a written list of behavioral interview questions allows you to stay on track during the interview. Since behavioral interviews ask candidates to tell stories, it’s easier for candidates and hiring managers alike to wander, ramble, or become distracted.

Leave room on the list to make notes, and print off a new copy for each interview. If asked to defend your hiring decision at a later date, you’ll be able to come back to your questions and your notes to refresh your memory and make your case.

  1. Mix in a few traditional interview questions.

Behavioral interview questions are useful for exploring a candidate’s past performance, communication skills, ability to stay on topic, and other skills. But traditional interview questions can also help you uncover specific traits or information. Don’t hesitate to follow up on a behavioral interview question like “Describe a challenge you faced at work” with “So what would you say was your greatest weakness in that situation?”

  1. Talk to your recruiter.

Most hiring managers know they can rely on their staffing firms to help them find candidates, check references, and narrow the field before an interview. But fewer hiring managers realize that their staffing partners also provide a great resource for structuring behavioral interview questions. Talk to your staffing partner about ways to improve your interview skills in order to identify and target the candidates you want.

At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our experienced staffing partners can help you choose, interview, and evaluate the best candidates for an opening in your organization. Contact us today to learn more about our staffing solutions in the Twin Cities.

Share it