What Is Behavioral Interviewing?

Behavioral Interviewing

Behavioral interviewing is a technique used by employers to assess a candidate's past behavior and performance in specific work-related situations. The premise behind behavioral interviewing is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. By asking candidates to provide specific examples of how they have handled certain situations in the past, interviewers can gain valuable insights into how the candidate might perform in similar situations in the future.

Key Characteristics of Behavioral Interviewing

1. Focused on Past Behavior:

   - Behavioral interview questions ask candidates to describe specific instances from their past work experience

   - Examples: "Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer. How did you handle the situation?"

2. Structured Format:

   - Behavioral interviews often follow a structured format, with a set of predetermined questions

   - This ensures consistency and fairness in evaluating candidates

3. STAR Technique:

   - Candidates are often encouraged to use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique to structure their responses

   - Situation: Describe the specific situation or context

   - Task: Explain the task or challenge you faced

   - Action: Detail the actions you took to address the situation

   - Result: Highlight the outcome or results achieved

Benefits of Behavioral Interviewing

1. Predictive Validity:

   - Past behavior is considered a strong predictor of future performance

   - Behavioral interviews provide concrete examples of a candidate's skills and abilities

2. Objective Evaluation:

   - Focusing on specific, real-life examples reduces the influence of subjective impressions or biases

   - Candidates are evaluated based on their demonstrated behaviors and results

3. Improved Job Fit:

   - Behavioral interviews help assess a candidate's fit for the specific role and organizational culture

   - Employers can identify candidates who have successfully handled situations similar to those they may encounter in the new role

4. Reduced Interviewer Bias:

   - The structured nature of behavioral interviews helps minimize interviewer bias

   - All candidates are asked the same questions and evaluated using a consistent set of criteria

Developing Behavioral Interview Questions

To create effective behavioral interview questions, employers should:

1. Identify Key Competencies:

   - Determine the essential skills, behaviors, and competencies required for success in the role

   - Examples: problem-solving, teamwork, adaptability, communication

2. Craft Open-Ended Questions:

   - Develop questions that encourage candidates to provide specific, detailed examples

   - Avoid leading questions or those that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no"

3. Probe for Details:

   - Use follow-up questions to elicit more information about the situation, actions taken, and results achieved

   - Examples: "What challenges did you face in that situation?" or "What did you learn from that experience?"

4. Evaluate Responses:

   - Assess the candidate's responses against the key competencies identified for the role

   - Look for evidence of the desired behaviors and skills

   - Consider the context and complexity of the situations described