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Behavioral Interviewing Helps Employers Staff up Their Office

The success of any organization largely depends upon the knowledge, skills and dedication of its employees. Since the selection process for new employees relies primarily on the interview process, it is imperative that managers and interviewers become proficient at interviewing candidates.

Due to the ongoing struggle of finding the right candidates, many employers are beginning to utilize behavioral interviewing to better gauge the potential of a candidate, especially those who have little or no traditional work experience. Behavioral interview questions allow organizations to effectively evaluate whether or not candidates can quickly and efficiently tackle issues and solve problems, communicate well with others, collaborate in a team-environment and demonstrate true initiative.

How Behavioral Interviewing Works

The basic premise of a behavioral interview is that past performance is a good predictor of future performance. In order to apply behavioral questions to an interview, each hiring manager should review the list of responsibilities within the job description and create a list of situations that the candidate will most likely encounter in the open position.

These situations help the hiring manager to create behavioral questions to apply within the interview. By using these questions, the hiring manager will get a better sense for the candidate’s past experiences in dealing with situations that may occur within the open position, overall gauging how well the candidate will perform if they were hired into the company.

Determining the Perfect Job Candidates

To incorporate behavioral questions, employers should first determine what competencies are required for the position and then develop a series of questions to evaluate if the job candidate possesses the qualities essential to perform the job. Employers should also review the following skill-sets to develop the most effective set of behavioral questions:
  • Content Skills - Knowledge that is work specific such as gathering client data, analyzing and evaluating a client’s financial status, developing a financial plan and recommending investment opportunities.
  • Functional or Transferable Skills – The ability to work with or function with people, information or things such as analyzing, evaluating, managing, organizing and communicating.
  • Adaptive or Self-Management Skills -- Personal characteristics such as accuracy, honesty, reliability, degree of completeness, discipline, and self-motivation.

Candidates; Go Beyond the Canned Response

In a behavioral interview, rather than merely telling the interviewer what they would do in a future situation, candidates must describe in detail how they have handled a situation in the past. Candidates are required to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities, collectively known as competencies, by giving specific examples from their past experiences. Typical behavior-based questions begin with, “Tell me about a time when...“ or ”Give me an example of...” and require candidates to provide a complete, three-part response in a format known as SAR:
  • Situation- the employer wants a concise description of the setting and circumstances that you are discussing.
  • Action- the employer wants you to describe what action you took in the situation.
  • Result- the employer will be looking for the results. Using keywords and quantitative, measurable are most impressive.
It is important that employers incorporate as many of these elements into their behavioral questions as possible to effectively evaluate the candidate. When candidates provide specific examples of their experiences, employers can make more informed hiring decisions and get a better sense for the employee’s performance when hiring into the workplace.

Examples of Behavioral Interview Questions

There are many ways to approach and incorporate behavioral interviewing into the hiring process. Sometimes the level of position in which you are hiring for, or specialized skill sets required for the position, will change the way in which you approach behavioral interviewing. Some questions will be detailed and some will be more broadly-defined. Located below are a few general behavioral interviewing questions which any employer can incorporate within their hiring process:
  1. Provide an example of when you encountered conflict and how you resolved it.
  2. Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion.
  3. Give me an example of a time when you tried to accomplish something and failed. What lesson did you learn?
  4. Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and proactively developed preventive measures.
  5. What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
  6. Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.
By incorporating behavioral interviewing, employers can make more effective and informed decisions to be sure that they are hiring the best employees for the position and the company. At, we provide valuable career resources and articles across a variety of different topics, including interviewing techniques to assist hiring managers with their recruitment program. Printer Friendly PDF