How to break through all the canned answers and discover the real truth about your candidates.

Behavior-based interviewing: The 5 best questions

Standard or traditional interview questions no longer provide meaningful information about a candidate. These interviews use predictable, general questions that do not assess how a candidate will think on his feet in your workplace.

In the course of a day, we make about 20,000 three-second decisions. The majority of our decisions are responsive.

We follow our natural or DNA-inspired brain connections. So if our top-of-mind reactions match those needed in the job, then we typically make good decisions at work. If not, we constantly seem to make the wrong decisions.

Discover powerful techniques that give YOU the upper hand in interviews and improve your quality of hire.

Enter behavior-based interviewing. This form of interviewing asks questions about real-life situations that are phrased in a unique way to elicit a candidate’s first (natural) response. This is a better assessment of future performance than simply checking whether the candidate has previously worked in a similar role (experience).

Here are five behavior-based interview question formats. What makes them effective is that they require on-the-spot thinking and responses to real-life events. This basically tests out how a candidate thinks and solves before he is hired.

Your reputation – and your career – hinge on hiring the highest-quality applicants. But these days, it’s easy for savvy applicants to fake their way through interviews.

1. Tell me about a time when you … (then fill in a situation that will happen in the workplace). Example: Tell me about a time when you were confronted with what you felt to be an overly aggressive sales target. What did you do? What was the outcome?

2. Here is a situation you’ll have to deal with as part of this job …(provide a situation). How would you han­­dle it? Example: In our work­­place we have lines of customers waiting at the front door when we open. How would you handle this so that every customer still feels important and valued?

3. If I were to ask your previous boss about how you handle … (provide a situation) what would he say? Example: If I were to ask your previous boss about how you promote an idea or change in the workplace, what would he say? Why? Share the situation.

4. What is your previous work experience that would help you determine how to handle it… (provide a situation)? Example: What is your previous work experience that will help you successfully deal with an irate customer face-to-face? Share your experiences.

5. Here are your choices … (provide 2 choices). Which would you choose and why? Example: Here are your choices: You can short ship a customer’s order and send it out on time, or you can be late on the order and ship it complete. Which would you choose and why?


Common Behavioral Interview Questions

    • “Describe a Situation Where You Disagreed With a Supervisor.”
    • “Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work.”
    • “Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem.”
    • “Describe a project or idea (not necessarily your own) that was implemented primarily because of your efforts.”
    • “Do you feel you work well under pressure? If so, describe a time when you have done so…”
    • “Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.”
    • “Tell me about a time where you had to delegate tasks during a project”
    • “Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.”
    • “Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.”
    • “Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.”

Can you see how these questions are all trying to find out how you behaved in the past in order to predict how you will behave in the future?

So now that you know that you have to use success stories and you have an idea of what a behavioral question looks like, how the heck to you actually answer them??


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