Incorporating Behavioral Questions For More Effective Interviews
There are many different interviewing styles and techniques. One technique that requires a more thoughtful response from candidates is incorporating the use of behavioral questions.
What are Behavioral Interview Questions?
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 a similar situation in the past, employers have a way to predict how they will perform in the future.
Behavioral interview 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.
Use Behavioral Questions Somewhat Sparingly
Behavioral interview questions are tougher because they require candidates to think on the fly and come up with actual examples from their past experiences. You don’t want to overuse behavioral questions, but interspersing them throughout the course of the interview will allow you to see how readily a candidate can think on their feet and draw upon their past experiences.
Sample Behavioral Questions
As you will see below, behavioral questions rarely come in the form of actual questions. Instead, they tend to ask the interviewee to describe different scenarios from their past experiences. Sometimes there is a follow-up question (or two) after the statement of the initial scenario, but these follow-up questions should not be able to be answered with a simple yes or no.
- Tell me about a time when you had limited resources and were able to bring a project to the finish line.
- Describe the most challenging work problem you faced in your last job. What steps did you take to resolve it?
- Walk me through a scenario of a process you invented or improved.
- Describe a situation where you and a colleague whom you relied upon for support (i.e., to complete a project) were in conflict. How did you address the situation?
- Describe a situation when working with others produced more successful results than if you had completed the project on your own.
- Tell me about a time when you were in competition with a co-worker.
- Recount a time when you worked with a colleague who was not doing their share of the work. How did you handle it?
- Provide an example of a difficult situation with a client that you had to resolve. What steps did you take? What was the outcome?
- Tell me about a time when you went out of your way to satisfy a customer. What was the outcome?
- Explain a time when you’ve had to deliver tough feedback to a colleague.
- Tell me about a time when you had to get someone else to see things your way.
- Describe a time when you resolved a conflict with a colleague in your past role.
- Name a time you had to convince someone to do something they did not want to do.
Project or Time Management:
- Describe a time when you had to delegate work to others.
- Explain how you kept your work organized in your last role.
- Tell me about a time when you had multiple competing deadlines and how you managed them.
- Describe a time when you had to learn a new process or skill.
- Tell me about a time when you had to pivot away from a current project to address a “fire drill”.
Working Under Pressure/Stress Management:
- Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it.
- What did you do in your last role when your workload was enormous?
- What did you do in your last role if you thought that you might fall short of hitting a goal?
- Tell me about a time where you felt defeated (i.e., your project was falling apart, you were unable to satisfy a client’s request, etc.). How did you respond to the adversity?
One Last Tip – Consistency Matters!
When interviewing several candidates for a certain position, it is important to follow the same format and ask the same questions – particularly the behavioral questions. This allows you to easily compare the different candidate’s answers and to see how readily they were able to come up with their responses. Being consistent with your questions from interview to interview also helps to eliminate interviewer bias from coming into play.
And, lastly, remember that it is normal for candidates to have a certain degree of interview jitters, so you want to cut them some slack if it takes them a few seconds to formulate their response. But they should be able to come up with something!
- “How to Conduct a Behavioral Interview“, glassdoor for Employers.
- “11 Must-Ask Behavioral Interview Questions“, glassdoor for Employers. March 9, 2021.
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