Hire the Right Person with Behavioral Interviewing

Hire the Right Person with Behavioral Interviewing

As the old saying goes, you’re only as strong as your weakest link, and employees in both large and small businesses are a big factor in how successful you’ll be as a team. Beyond job skills and experience, it’s important to understand how the people you are interviewing will respond to challenges and situations they may experience on the job.

Unlike traditional interviewing that calls upon the candidate to say what they think you want to hear to prompts such as, "tell me about yourself," or "what are some of your strengths/weaknesses,” behavioral interviewing gives you a deeper look in to the candidate’s character by asking open-ended questions that ask the candidate to describe how they have behaved in challenges related to skills required for the position such as, “tell me about a time when...” or “describe a situation in which….”

A behavior-based interview should start by creating a job description that describes the competencies, skills and personality traits that will make a person a good fit for the position. Even without a competency model, this technique is almost always more effective than traditional getting-to-know-you type interviews. It is also a perfect tool for interviewing someone without a lot of professional experience. Life experiences that relate to your questions can provide good insight.

See by comparison: 

  • Less effective: Do you like to work with people?
  • More effective: Describe a time when you worked with the public. How did you feel about it?
  • Most effective: Tell me about a time when you worked on a group project. What role did you take?

Examples of good behavioral interview questions:

  • Describe a job in which you had a significant amount of detail work to handle. What did you do to ensure quality? 
  • Tell me about a time that you went above and beyond to satisfy a customer. 
  • Tell me about a time when you had to be flexible for the overall good of the organization. 
  • Describe a time when you were unable to follow through on a commitment. How did you handle the situation? 
  • Tell me about a time when you admitted making a mistake and accepted responsibility for it. What was the result?

If you are a candidate, being interviewed in a behavioral interview style, familiarize yourself with the competencies related to the position so that you are prepared with stories and examples you may be asked to share.

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