The purpose of interviewing a candidate is not just to know if he or she can get the job but also if the person can do really great in the job. You don´t just want to know what they did in the past or what skills they have, but also how they are going to do their job because that will tell you if they are really going to excel at it.
Traditional interview questions can get you insights on what candidates say they can do well but those are actually just hypothetical answers and they probably won´t reflect how they really behave in certain situations.
That´s where behavioral questioning comes in because these type of questions will give the interviewer much more insights into past performance and behavior. The candidate will need to give concrete examples of how they did certain things in their previous or current job that caused them to be successful. The theory behind behavioral questions is that the most accurate indicator of future success at work is the previous performance in similar situations and the questions should reveal thought processes and emotions that caused a particular behavior. So the purpose of behavioral interviewing is to get these impactful insights that will give the interviewer concrete examples of how the candidate acted in certain situations.
A big advantage of behavioral questions is that they make it very hard for the candidate to make up stories since they will have to describe situations much more into depth including their thought processes. Therefore, these type of questions will provide more much valuable insights into the role of the candidate in certain situations.
Types of behavioral questions
There are different categories of behavioral interview questions. Dependent on the role you´re recruiting for, certain categories might be more relevant than others but all will be able to give you additional rich information on the candidate especially when combined with the factual information (e.g. obtained from the resume or traditional interview questions).
- Teamwork behavioral questions
If your role requires a strong team player, focus on situations that illustrate the ability to collaborate with others under challenging circumstances. For example, ask about examples of team conflict, difficult project constraints or a time when another team member didn´t do his part of the job.
- Client-facing behavioral questions
If this is needed for the role you´re interviewing for, you should have at least one question focusing on client-facing skills. Ask for examples of a situation where the candidate had to represent the company and had to interact with a very difficult client or a team when he or she didn´t meet the client´s expectations.
- Leadership behavioral questions
If the role needs leadership skills, ask about situations where the candidate had to motivate a direct report or solve an issue within the team reporting to him or her.
- Flexibility or ability to adapt behavioral questions
Can the candidate navigate a crisis at work? How did he or she adapt to changing circumstances? These are important qualities for any job.
- Communications skills behavioral questions
This is a no-brainer, almost every role needs someone with good communication skills. Ask for situations where the candidate persuaded someone or about a successful presentation they did, focus on why their approach was successful.
- Biggest failure behavioral questions
Asking for someone´s biggest failure is nothing new, however, make sure not only ask for the facts but to dig deeper into the behavior and emotions involved in that situation. What exactly did the candidate do and who or what caused this behavior? Also, what would they do differently looking back?
- Time Management behavioral questions
Time management is key for almost every role. Make sure to also get behavioral questions in the interview on juggling multiple responsibilities, organizing and making deadlines.
What other behavioral questions are a must in your interviews?