Behavioural Interviewing put to the test

There are several methods deployed in interviewing. It’s good to review, from time to time, which ones work and which don’t. In a regular interview, there are straightforward questions like “What kind of role are you looking for?” or “What were some major obstacles you faced in your current job?” or “What is a typical day for you like?”

Behavioural Interviewing put to the test

Behavioural interviewing is a technique that aims at reaching deeper: by seeking to know whether the candidate has done what he is claiming to have. For instance, if he is talking about his excellent problem-solving skills, what are some problems that he has actually solved? Was it him only who solved those? Who all helped him? What are the results he achieved?

The premise is that past performance is the best predictor of future behavior. So, if we, somehow can get an authentic window into past behavior, we can conclude that similar behavior will be repeated in the future.

Tell me about a time when you had to balance multiple priorities. What were those? How did you go about doing it? What were the results?
Tell me about an unpleasant interpersonal situation at work. What was it? How did you handle it?

While the premise is sound, there are a few problems that interviewers face in its implementation:

  1. All interviewers being equally competent and updated in knowing which behaviors or competencies they should be testing for that role.
  2. The ability to ask follow-up questions or probes for a rigorous testing.
  3. A general, across-the-board proficiency in being able to establish if the answers were given are corroborating the presence of the tested competency.
  4. An accepted norm on which competencies are critical, cannot-be-compromised and which are not that central to the role being interviewed for.
  5. Finally, a general habit among interviewers of taking notes for historical data to be built to validate the interview decision with actual on-the-job performance.

So, while behavioral interviewing is a solid technique, a lot hinges on how these issues are tackled — if your organization committed to entrenching the technique deep and true in the system?

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