What is a Behavioural Interview?
The behavioural interview is claimed to be the most accurate way to interview a candidate for a job.
You need to carry out some preparation beforehand in order to manage an effective interview process.
Behavioural Interview – Definition
A behavioural interview does not use hypothetical questions or any form of forward focused questioning.
All your questioning will be about actual situations which have happened in the past.
You will probe their answer to find out what happened and what they did to respond to that.
The logic is that if you can find out how a person behaved in a given situation in the past then there is a probability that given a similar situation in the future they will behave in a similar way.
In other words, behaviour in the candidate’s past experience is a good guide for future performance.
Behavioural Interview Example Question
You require someone to work on their own a lot. The first stage is to name the behaviour.
The second stage is to define ‘working alone’ as to how this person needs to behave in a job.
To be very clear about own working priorities, therefore able to make decisions without reference to anyone else.
The third stage is to create behavioural questions designed to obtain evidence from the candidate.
Behavioural questions for ‘Working Alone’
- Can you think of a time recently when you needed to ask someone else’s advice before you could complete a piece of work?
- Describe the most important decision you have made recently.
- Talk me through a project which you managed yourself over the past 12 months.
- Can you think of a time when you struggled with a decision and needed someone else’s help?
- Have you ever forgotten to do something for someone?
- Describe a deadline you have missed recently.
- Can you think of a day when you already had a lot to do, yet you were asked to do something else?
Hints on Behavioural Interviewing
- Design your questions beforehand and tailor them to the person’s CV/application form
- You can ask behavioural questions about technical skills/knowledge as well as behaviour
i.e. You need someone to use a spreadsheet package
Ask ‘Talk me through a spreadsheet you use a lot.’or ‘Describe the last spreadsheet you designed.’
- Stick to examples of behaviour that are as recent as possible
- Try to ask for examples of when the person failed as well as when they succeeded so that you get a balanced view of their behaviour
- You need to get to the situation first, then probe with a question such as: Talk me through what happened. Can you recall what they said?
How did you respond to that?
- Be very aware if a candidate replies in the plural (“what we did is”) – Always be ready to ask ‘What was your role in this?’ to get them talking in the first person (“what I did was to”).
- You need 3-4 examples of behaviour to make as objective a decision as possible.
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Behavioural Interviewing – Courses and Resources
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