Talent Acquisition

4 Tips for Conducting an Effective Behavioral Interview

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The interview process is where you have the most control over who fills your employee roster. Behavioral-based interviewing is a technique used by many companies to find out more about a candidate’s skills, attitudes and values.

Behavioral interview questions seek to predict a candidate’s suitability for a role based on their behavior in past jobs. By finding out more about how a candidate behaved in similar situations in the past, employers have a way to predict how they will perform in the future.

These questions can help you uncover a candidate’s approach to problems, conflict and stress, as well as illuminate values that are important to your company’s culture. Here are 4 tips to help you conduct an effective and efficient behavioral interview.

1. Choose Your Questions Strategically

Because your time with each candidate is limited and you want to find out the most relevant information about their experiences, it’s important to strategically choose your behavioral interview questions. To focus your behavioral-based questions, think about them in relation to job function and culture and values.

Look at the job description and determine key competencies required to successfully perform the role. What knowledge, skills and abilities does the position require? Pick out 3–5 areas of focus.

Because your company has a unique culture, it’s worthwhile to ask candidates behavioral questions that will indicate if they could thrive in your workplace. Look at your values list and think about how they translate into behavior. Then craft questions based on that behavior.

2. Be Consistent

Prepare a list of questions for each role. Ask all candidates the same questions, in the same wording and the same order. This way, you’ll be comparing apples to apples when it comes time to evaluate the candidates.

3. Divide and Conquer

To prevent the candidate from having to repeat answers to multiple interviewers, divide up questions based upon the interviewer’s area of focus or interaction with the particular role.

For example, an engineering candidate’s hiring manager could focus on problem-solving behavioral questions, while a project manager asks teamwork questions. Some companies choose to assign cultural fit behavioral questions to HR or senior leaders.

4. Evaluate and Measure

Whenever possible, create a checklist and scoring system for each question or area of focus. Objective measures will help reduce any unconscious interviewer bias when it comes time to make the hiring decision.

Your interview process is part of your employer brand. Getting organized about how you conduct interviews will not only show candidates that you respect their time, it will make your hiring decisions easier. Behavioral interviews definitely require some planning ahead, but the payoff is high.

For more best practices and sample behavioral interview questions, check out our eBook on behavioral interview questions and templates.

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