The Behavioral Interview
“The Best Predictor Of Employee Success”
The behavioral interview can be the most productive model for getting the information you need. Based on proven “predictors”, this model is easy to implement and provides a logical framework for the entire interview. It needs to be part of the hiring process.
There is a lot of confusion about this particular model. There are a number of technical definitions but let me make it very simple.A behavioral interview is where you explore a person’s background to determine how they behaved in the same or similar situations to those they will face on your job. The focus is strictly on past behavior and behavior is simply how the person acted or reacted in specific situations. There is no need to over-complicate the process.
The Behavioral Model
The behavioral model is at the heart of this form of interviewing. The model states that past behavior predicts future behavior. This is true to a very high degree of reliability. This model proves very powerful in trying to choose employees. You can accurately predict performance by getting many examples of how the person handled the same or similar situations to the ones they will face on your job. Get examples of how they closed sales if you need them to close sales on your job. Get examples of how they used a particular type of software if they have to use that software on your job.
Past behavior predicts future behavior is the single best predictor when you are hiring new employees. Imagine how easy the decision is when you know how the person is going to handle the tasks and situations on your job.
The Interview Process
One key to an effective interview is to ask your questions in correct chronological order. Start at the beginning of the person’s career and move toward the present. This has two benefits. First, it is the best way to pick up trends and patterns. Second, it is a logical, organized way to gather the data. You never get lost and the candidate can tell their story in a manner that makes sense. Create your questions and order them so the interview is simply a journey through the person’s past.
Types Of Questions
The types of questions you ask in the behavioral interview are very specific. Each behavioral interview question is designed to have the person describe how they behaved in a specific situation. See the article on behavioral interview questions for a full discussion of these questions.
One important side note. Much of what you read about this type of interviewing talks about beginning your questions with the phrase “give me an example”. This is wrong. That term opens up a number of problems including losing control of the interview. Instead, pick a specific example from the person’s background and explore it.
Don’t say, “Give me an example of a deadline you managed.” Instead say, “How did you manage the budget deadline on the ABC project?” Being specific allows you to get specific behavioral data.
In conclusion, your goal in the selection process is to predict whether or not the person will be successful on your job. The best predictor is past behavior. You can chronicle a person’s past behavior by following them through their career and getting specific example of how they handled situations and tasks.