If you’ve ever conducted an interview, you might be familiar with the tactic of asking your candidate to revisit how they dealt with a work-related problem in the past. This common question is a form of ‘behavioral interviewing’: asking questions that assess how candidates reacted to and learned from prior experiences.
This technique involves asking candidates for examples of their contributions to previous projects to demonstrate their proficiency or a specific skill set. Behavioral interviews also give nuanced insight into the candidate’s way of working.
Read on to understand the benefits of behavioral interviews and how you can become a better behavioral interviewer.
Why are behavioral interviews a good assessment tool?
Every new hire brings a unique combination of skills to the table, so assessing whether these skills align with the designated position is crucial. For example, some employees do better with long-term projects involving research and deliberations, while others are better at urgent projects requiring quick problem-solving.
Behavioral interviews help identify these key traits in candidates and predict if they will be a good fit for the role: they are 55% predictive of future on-the-job behavior, while traditional interviews are only 10% predictive.
Behavioral interviews have the following benefits:
They use real-world examples of skills and aptitude. Instead of relying on hypothetical situations to assess the candidate, behavioral interviews use examples from the candidate’s past that showcase their expertise.
Since the questions are based on the candidate’s past behavior, they provide an authentic assessment, reducing the chance of disingenuous, pre-prepared responses.
By understanding how the candidate used their skills in the past, you can better decide whether they are qualified for the role.
How to become a better behavioral interviewer?
A well-conducted behavioral interview can be a great assessment tool as it helps you gauge the interviewee’s character, attitude, and insights from past experiences instead of hypothetical situations. Here are some methods to become better at behavioral interviewing:
1. Use the STAR Method
The STAR method involves structuring the behavioral interview so candidates can discuss the specific situation they were in, the tasks assigned to them, actions they took, and results garnered. You can highlight the various aspects of the STAR method by framing a behavioral interview question as follows:
“Tell me about a time you used sound judgment and logical reasoning in solving a problem. Describe the situation, the goal you were working towards, and detail the actions taken. What was the result of this?”
It is essential to cover all bases of the STAR method to assess candidates well. Encourage candidates to provide specific details and prompt them if they miss any aspect of the question, e.g., they forget to tell you the results of the specific scenario.
2. Keep the right questions prepared
One of the most significant factors determining how well an interviewer can evaluate a candidate is whether the interview is structured well. Structured interviews do a better job of capturing behavioral insights like personality traits. To achieve this, recruiters need to know what’s worth asking.
A recent study found that structuring an interview based on the past instances of employing the big five personality traits, namely: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, successfully predicted organizational behavior. Interviews asking about the big five traits were also perceived more favorably by candidates than a personality test.
Some examples of behavioral questions you can ask are:
Tell me about a specific experience, your responsibilities, how you handled a crisis, and what you took from it. Describe critical skills you used to tackle this and what the outcome was.
Was there ever a time you were reporting to more than one individual? How did you handle that situation?
What is your typical method for dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
Tell me about a time you had to be the bearer of bad news to a customer. Detail how you handled this and what the outcome was.
In this role, you will likely encounter situations that demand communication skills. Have you got an example of an experience where you used this skill to solve a problem?
3. Know how to evaluate candidates
It is essential to have a system in place to evaluate candidates. For example, at FloCareer we encourage using a scoring matrix where each interviewer ranks candidates on a scale of one to five. Then, at the end of the interview or several rounds of interviews, you can sum up the interviewee's scores and move ahead with the ones who scored the highest.
Correctly evaluating candidates is essential to making the most of your behavioral interview. Here are some ways to evaluate your candidates better:
If the candidate has limited professional experience or is a fresher, encourage them to describe examples from non-professional environments like athletic teams, study groups, and volunteer work, and assess their qualities based on their responses.
Asking long questions can make it difficult for candidates to answer all aspects. Ensure you give them enough reflection time and encourage silence as they think about how to respond. Don’t rush them for an answer as they might make something up, get anxious, or respond incoherently to avoid the silence.
Conduct better interviews with FloCareer
With a team of over 3,000 expert interviewers and a bank of 1,500,000+ questions, FloCareer can help you upgrade your interview strategy.
Our interview structuring tool gives you custom assessment questions that fit the job requirement and allows you to customize your interviews using analytics and insights. In addition, FloCareer’s online interview platform equips your hiring team with a structured interview format and the right technology to conduct interviews. Click here to get a free demo of our interviewing solutions today!