Benefits of a Behavioral Interview

March 18, 2020

What is Behavioral Interviewing?

Behavioral interviewing focuses on a candidate’s past experiences by asking candidates to provide specific examples of how they have demonstrated certain behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Answers to behavioral interview questions should provide verifiable, concrete evidence as to how a  candidate has dealt with issues in the past. This information often reveals a candidate’s actual level of experience and his or her potential to handle similar situations in your organization. Behavioral interview questions are pointed, probing and specific.

How to Conduct a Behavioral Interview

Rather than simply asking transparent interview questions about what candidates did in their jobs, behavioral interviewers ask candidates how and why they did it. The questions for behavioral interviews should be written to elicit details about a candidate’s past experience that would reflect the identified job-related competencies. These questions should be clear and concise and should encourage candidates to share openly about their typical behaviors that demonstrate the job-related competencies in question.

Examples of Potential Questions

Below is a list of questions that you can ask during a behavioral interview. You should take these questions and modify them to fit the position you are interviewing for.

  • Tell me about a time that required you to communicate with numerous people and departments.
  • Think of a specific project that you’ve completed. Were you successful in achieving the desired results?
  • What was one of the toughest problems you ever solved? What process did you go through to solve it?
  • Tell me about a time when you had a work problem and didn’t know what to do.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult co-worker. How did you handle the situation?
  • Tell me about the most effective contribution you have made as part of a task group or special project team.
  • Give an example of a time when you were trying to meet a deadline and you were interrupted and did not make the deadline. How did you respond?
  • Give an example of a time when you had to quickly change project priorities. How did you do it?

Questions compiled from SHRM’s Guide to Behavioral Interviews