Behavioral Interview Questions
If you want to increase your chances of finding the best new employees, it's a good idea to incorporate behavioral interview questions into your job interview process.
What Are Behavioral Interview Questions?
The basic premise underlying behavior based job interviewing is the belief that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Behavioral interview questions cannot be answered with a simple yes or no response. The idea is to get applicants talking about their past, which can provide you into very telling glimpses about how they will function as employees. Instead of asking candidates hypothetical questions, behavioral questioning techniques focus on getting applicants to share information about their experiences and actions, and the associated outcomes or consequences.
How do you Determine between Behavioral Versus Traditional Job Interview Questions?
If you are interviewing people for a telephone customer service position, one of the things you'll want to find out is whether or not they will be able to cope with irate customers effectively. If you ask an applicant if he or she can handle irate customers, each candidate is likely to respond by saying yes . However, the fact that someone tells you he or she can handle unhappy customers doesn’t really mean anything.
If you want to get a better idea of how an applicant will handle an unpleasant customer interaction, you're better off getting him or her to give you a response that goes a little deeper than a simple yes or no.
Try asking: Can you give me an example of a situation in which you dealt with an irate customer? The applicant will have to pull from his or her past to respond to the question. Once the candidate has given you the scenario, follow up by asking the applicant to describe his or her actions. Conclude the subject by asking the individual to describe the outcome of the situation described.
What is the STAR Questioning Technique?
The best tool to use for coming up with the right types of questions to ask job applicants is the STAR technique. The word star represents an acronym, describing the different components each question should have. Questions that have each the four elements of the STAR technique are truly behavioral interview questions.
- S - Situation (describe the who, where, why)
- T - Task (explain what was needed)
- A - Action (describe how you were able to accomplish the task)
- R - Result (what was final the result?)
What are Some Example Questions?
Keep in mind that STAR questions have several components. Often, the S and T components can be addressed by a single question. This means that each item will have between three and four questions. Be sure to listen closely to each applicant's responses before rushing on to the next part of the question. After all, the value of conducting behavior based job interviews is the wisdom that comes from listening to what candidates have to say.
- Describe a time that you were responsible for a project that had to produce accurate results. What did you do to ensure the goals were met? What was the end result?
- Tell me about a time that you had to enforce a policy with which you did not agree. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?
- Reflect to a time when you had to discipline an employee. Describe the situation for me. How did you handle it? What was the outcome?
- Describe the situation that has brought you the most pride in your experience as a team leader. What actions did you take that contributed to your success? What was the outcome of those actions?
- Tell me about a difficult customer service situation you had to face. How did you respond? What was the outcome?
- Describe a time where you had to explain the same procedure to an employee or co-worker for the third or fourth time? How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?
Why Should you Implement Behavior Based Interviewing?
When you want to make sure that job applicants aren't just telling you what you want to hear it's a good idea to take a behavioral approach to interviewing. By structuring questions so they tap into applicants past experiences, behaviors, and the related outcomes, you are reducing the likelihood that the people you are interviewing are simply spouting off answers they memorized to get through the interview. Instead, you'll see how effectively they can think on their feet, and you'll catch a glimpse into what they perceive to be acceptable on the job behavior.