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Behavioral-Based Interview Questions
What Are Behavioral-Based Interview Questions?
Behavioral-based interview questions are used to learn how a job candidate has handled specific professional situations in the past. As opposed to yes/no questions, behavioral-based questions help an employer gauge if the candidate has the skills required for the job.
What Are Some Example Behavioral Interview Questions?
- Give me an example of a time you made a mistake at work. What did you learn from it?
- Describe a time your responsibilities got overwhelming. How did you handle that?
- Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a colleague. How did you address it?
- Describe a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting about it?
- What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
Are Behavioral Interview Questions Effective?
Yes, behavioral interview questions can be effective when asked correctly. It’s important to ask open-ended questions as opposed to leading questions so that candidates are more likely to give genuine responses. Candidates’ answers can help employers evaluate skills such as leadership, decision-making abilities, emotional maturity, and stress management.
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What Considerations Go Into Behavioral Interview Questions?
When answering behavioral questions, candidates are encouraged to follow the STAR method:
- Situation: Set the stage with context about the challenge you faced.
- Task: Describe the goal you set out to achieve.
- Action: List the impactful steps you took to accomplish the goal.
- Result: Share how your actions met the goal (with quantifiable results, if possible).
How Should You Use Behavioral Interview Questions?
To make the most of behavioral interview questions:
- Design them to determine role fit and culture fit.
- Focus on both hard skills (e.g., technical proficiency) and soft skills (e.g., communication).
- Ask open-ended questions, not leading ones.
- Intersperse them among unstructured questions to keep the interview engaging.
- Ask them in a respectful and compliant way.
Why Are Behavioral Interview Questions Important?
Behavioral interview questions don’t just show the results of candidates’ actions—they allow candidates to share how and why they made certain decisions. Their motivations and rationale can help interviewers get a sense of how well the candidate aligns with the company’s values and culture.
Moreover, it’s rare for candidates to tick every box on an employer’s wishlist. Learning more about them through thoughtful questions makes it easier to see beyond their resume and recognize quality talent. By broadening the definition of a good fit beyond black-and-white attributes, hiring managers can recognize potential in a more diverse group of people.
What Are the Benefits of Behavioral Interview Questions?
When carefully crafted, behavioral interview questions can help hiring managers:
- Ascertain relevant information about a candidate’s past performance and how they might support the employer’s current and future needs.
- Put candidates at ease by giving them a chance to go into greater detail about their work contributions than simple yes/no questions allow.
- Reduce interview bias by comparing candidates with a rating system.
Are There Any Potential Pitfalls of Behavioral Interview Questions?
In short, yes. The bright side is being aware of potential downsides can help interviewers thoughtfully prepare questions that will make the interview pleasant for both parties.
For example, many common behavioral questions focus on negative situations (e.g., how a candidate dealt with an angry customer or regrets from previous jobs). These types of questions provide useful insights, but only concentrating on negative instances can make them uncomfortable. Be sure to strike a balance by giving them the chance to share positive examples as well.
Also, it’s key for interviewers to remember that past behavior cannot always accurately predict the future. Passing on qualified candidates for not having perfect answers could lead to roles being unfilled indefinitely, impacting productivity. Different jobs may require different approaches, so be sure to evaluate each candidate holistically.
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