mother-in-laws are experts in behavioral
this advice: ''When you choose
your husband/wife...you better love
him/her as s/he is now: s/he not going
to change, and neither are you.'
the most part, people don't change
their behavior from year to
example, if a person is meticulous
about keeping their desk tidy and all
their correspondence up-to-date, it's
almost certain that person will
display that very same trait this time
if a person is notorious for always
showing up late.........no-one is
shocked if the same person is always
late in his new job also.
that's the key behind behavioral
interviewing is an approach that looks
at past behavior as the best
predictor of future
And it makes simple common sense!
a vital fact.
can increase by nearly 60%
your chances of hiring the right
In fact, extensive research
interviewing (i.e. using
past performance as a reliable
indicator of future
performance) as the most effective
available to evaluate suitable
*Salgado, J. F. (1997) Personnel
Selection Methods' in C. L. Cooper and
I. T. Robinson, International Review of
Industrial and Organizational
Psychology. New York: Wiley.
me a time when....."
For example, rather than asking,
"What would you do if ..."
one should ask, 'Tell me about a
time when you.....
want to find out how people
ACTUALLY behave rather than their
promise of how they will behave.
Remember: Just because people
can give good answers and sound
impressive -- it doesn't mean they can
DO what they SAY.
Let's take a very simple example.
You're interviewing Mary for the
position of company receptionist.
The interview starts as normal ...and
you are using the same old,
• What is your experience, Mary?
• Why do you want to work here?
• What do you know about our
• Mary, what do you like to do in
your spare time?
Good Questions....and bad Questions
These questions aren't bad in
will definitely help you to find out
more about Mary. But they are severely
limited, as they can lead to very
standard and well-rehearsed responses
from your interviewee.
Look, at this stage even the dogs in
the street would have a good idea what
questions you are going to ask - and
with practice, could give you great
So even if Mary
answers well - what does it really
mean? Is she really good?
Or.... is she just good at answering
the same old questions that EVERY
see, at the end of all these
questions, you still have very little REAL
information about how Mary would
behave in real-life situations.
there is another approach....
It is behavioral-based interviewing.
Instead of the same old traditional
behavioral-based questions can give
you a much more accurate 'printout' of
a candidate's true character
Remember again, behavioral-based
interviewing is highly effective
because it examines the past
behavior of a job candidate, which is
considered the most accurate indicator
of future behavior.
how it works:
say that you want to find out
more about, say Mary's skills
of diplomacy. How would
she deal with people?
In the past, you might have
you say you are very
diplomatic with people?'
Look, you have asked her a close-ended
question leading to a similar
However, a behavioral-based question
'Mary, have you ever felt irritated
or frustrated while dealing with a
customer? How did you respond when
customers became demanding beyond an
Do you see the difference?
The 'Behavior-based question'
questions how she behaved in the past
in very specific situations
relating to diplomacy.
It allows the candidate to give you a
fuller answer - and it gives you a
more accurate and truer picture of the
see how the candidate reacted
in the past and that is always the
best predictor of future
to use this approach in your
You should always define the behavioral
competencies you are looking for
in the right employee to fill your
This way you will be more focused when
recruiting. Once you know the
behavioral competencies you want, you
can then structure your interview
questions to learn more about the
interviewee.......and watch how your
success rate in picking the right
person will improve....and improve.
The goal of any selection interview is to learn enough about a candidate to
be able to predict future-on-the-job performance and behavior. That information
can then be used to make an informed hiring decision or recommendation.
Behavioral interviewing is a technique based on the idea that candidates' past
and present behavior is the best predictor of how they will behave in the
But behavioral traits don't appear on a resume — they can only come
from an interview. Furthermore, interviewers need to obtain repeated examples of
behavior to confirm they really exist.
Interviews not based on behavioral interviewing techniques inevitably focus
exclusively on education, experience, and knowledge — exactly the information
that's already on the resume. While these are clearly important, they only
reveal what a candidate actually did. Behavioral interviewing helps get at the
"how" and "why" behind a candidate's performance.
Competency-based behavioral interviewing uses "competencies" to
describe behavioral qualities. Examples include analytical, problem solver, team
player and customer-oriented. Behavioral competencies should be used to describe
job requirements ("must be articulate, adaptable, committed," and so
on) before the interview as well as to evaluate candidates after an interview.
When competency-based behavioral interviewing forms the framework for the entire
hiring system, interviewers are able to make much more effective hiring
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Susan O'Neill, Chief Interview
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