Does your organization want to hire superstars and top performers? Behavioral-based interviewing is one of the most effective interviewing techniques and is the chosen form of interviewing by most employers to hire and select top performers. Time and time again, employers tell us that behavioral interviewing practices help them select top people for the job.
Behavioral interviewing involves evaluating how a candidate acted in specific situations in the past. The underlying assumption of behavioral interviewing is that past performance and behavior predicts future performance and behavior. Unlike other types of interviews, behavioral interviewing is generally more successful in evaluating a candidate and predicting how they might perform in the role for which they are applying.
Here are seven interview tips and practices to help you hire superstars.
1. Plan the interview.
Review the job description for the position as well as the candidate's resume and employment application. Evaluate the position's qualifications. Determine the key behaviors and competencies that are essential to meeting the performance requirements of the position.
If multiple people are meeting with a candidate, which is recommended since it results in increased objectivity and better decisions, have a meeting and discuss your interview goals and strategy, and ensure that they have all the pertinent information about the candidate. Also, make sure you include job experts in the meeting.
2. Develop questions.
Using this information, draft standard questions that evaluate these job requirements and assess critical competencies. Make sure the questions are specific and objective. Behavioral interview questions ask about specific incidences of past performance and identify specific actions that the candidate has taken and results that were produced. They avoid asking about hypothetical situations. Here are some examples:
- Give me an example of _____.
- Explain a project or task that involved _____.
- Tell me about a situation where you _____.
- Explain how you _____.
3. Prepare for the interview experience.
The interview is usually one of the first experiences a candidate has with your organization, so be sure the experience is positive. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth and positive interview experience.
- Provide directions to your office and instructions for parking.
- Coordinate logistics for out-of-town candidates (i.e. hotel, transportation, hospitality, expense reimbursement, etc.).
- Have someone available to greet the candidate.
- Include relevant individuals (potential manager, peers, senior leaders, and recruiter/HR).
- Communicate the details including who the candidate will meet with, interview activities (tour, assessment, etc.), and schedule.
- Have printed information and collateral available about the organization, its products and services, and its culture.
4. Conduct the interview.
First, welcome the candidate, make introductions, and explain the purpose of the interview. Provide an overview of the position for which they are applying, and discuss the organization and its culture.
Move on to your standard interview questions. While conducting the interview, be sure to ask the same standard interview questions of all candidates applying for the position. When listening to responses, take notes on an interview sheet or form. If needed, ask for clarification by summarizing, rephrasing, and confirming the candidate's responses (e.g. "To summarize..."). Also, if responses are too short, be sure to ask for more detail by probing (e.g. “Tell me more about…”).
5. Close the interview.
Before you close the interview, be sure to offer candidates the opportunity to ask questions about your organization and the position. Close the interview in the same way with all candidates. Tell the candidate next steps (i.e. when the selection decision will be made, how they will be notified of the decision, etc.) and when you intend to follow-up with them.
6. Evaluate the interview.
After closing the interview, review the candidate against the position's requirements. Coordinate and participate in a debrief meeting with any other individuals that met with the candidate. Make sure that decisions are made based on how the candidate responded to the interview questions. Don’t rely on gut feelings and don’t rush to a decision. These mistakes can lead to the wrong hire.
Follow-up with the candidate based on whatever you indicated during the interview and either coordinate next steps or be sure to thank them for applying if they did not make it to the next phase of the interview process.
Behavioral interviewing is a skill that takes training and practice, and one that any individual involved in hiring at your organization should have. Following these seven steps will help ensure that you will carry out an effective behavioral interview and increase the likelihood that you select a superstar for the job.