Case study

Claire Gannon 
Fioinsuro  Insurance Brokers .

Clare changed her whole interviewing approach.

In behavioral interviewing, you want to find out how people ACTUALLY behave rather than their PROMISE of how they MIGHT behave.

Remember: Just because people can give good answers and sound impressive -- it doesn't mean they can DO what they SAY.

The theory behind this form of interviewing is always the same: people will handle future job-related situations the same way they have before in the past. 

So, to find out how they will handle critical job-related situations, you always ask them how they handled those same situations in the past.

Let's take a very simple example. Hiring a company Receptionist

The interview starts as normal ...and you are using the same old, traditional questions.

• What is your experience, Mary?

• Why do you want to work here?

• What do you know about our company?

• Mary, what do you like to do in your spare time?

These questions aren't bad in themselves. They will definitely help you to find out more about the candidate.

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 answers!

So even if the candidate answers well - what does it really mean? Is she really good?


Is she just good at answering the same old questions that EVERY interviewer asks?

You see, at the end of all these questions, you still have very little REAL information about how the candidate would behave in real-life situations in your company. 

But there is another approach....

Instead of the same old traditional questions, well-crafted behavioral-based questions can give you a much more accurate 'printout' or 'portrait' of a candidate's true character and ability.

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.


Your mother and friends were right:

Remember the advice:

''When you choose your husband/ better love him/her as s/he is now. Because he or she isn't  going to change, and neither are you.' 

And it's true.

For the most part, people don't change their behavior from year to year. 

For 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 next year.

And if a person is notorious for always showing up is shocked if the same person is always late in his new job also.

Here's how it works:

Let's say that you want to find out more about, say the candidate's skills of diplomacy. How she might deal with people?

In the past, you might have asked:

''Would you say you are very diplomatic with people?'

'Yes, I am'.  

Full stop.

Look, you have asked her a close-ended question leading to a similar response.

However, Interview Creator will create this Interview Question for you to ask:

Mary, have you ever felt irritated or frustrated while dealing with a customer? How did you respond when customers became demanding beyond an acceptable level? 

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 candidate. 

You see how the candidate reacted in the past and that is always the best predictor of future performance. 

But that is not enough.

As an  interviewer, you need to obtain repeated examples of behavior to confirm they really exist. 

So you need to ask a number of related behavior-based questions all designed to reveal how proficient the candidate really is in this competency.

Interview Creator Online will allow you to ask up to 4 or more questions for important competencies. 


How to use this approach in your interviewing

So when you're interviewing now.....the first step is to define the essential competencies you want in a good receptionist: 

Don't rush this.

To help you, Interview Creator will create  a list of over 60 core competencies. 

Go through each one and pick out the ones that you would like in a  good receptionist: 

Also, make this a team effort. 

Get essential feedback and opinions from at at least several people who know the job well, covering a variety of perspectives (manager, supervisor, incumbents etc.)

As you're compiling this list of essential competencies, make sure you consider not only  the obvious competencies  (such as, Attention to detail, Customer Focus) but also the more subtle competencies, such as  Integrity and teamwork 

You'll need to address technical skills (using relevant equipment, for example) and non-technical skills (Teamwork, for example). 

Now discuss these with your team. 

The more thorough and systematic your approach to identifying job competency requirements, the better. 


2. Ask Questions That Closely Match Real Job competency  Requirements: 

If you’ve identified exactly what you want someone to be able to do well on the job, ask questions about exactly that. The more vague the question, the greater the chances that the answer will be about something irrelevant. Be very clear and specific .

You want to find out how customer-focused she will be?

Don't just ask:  

'Describe something you’ve done that illustrates high customer focus'.

Be MORE specific - MORE definite:

Interview Creator will create a Question like this for you:

'Describe a time when you went out of your way to do whatever was reasonably possible to ensure that a customer was satisfied with your service.'  

3.Obtain In-Depth Answers: This is possibly the most challenging aspect of the process, because it is hard to quantify exactly how much information is enough. Though there are different ways of guiding the collection of such information, here are some criteria for judging whether you have obtained enough.

a. Do you know the situation the candidate was in, what key actions he or she took, and the results?

b. Did you obtain at least several specifics, such as approximate dates, relevant quantities, people involved, etc.?

c. Can you visualize what the candidate did?

d. Can you visualize what the candidate did well enough to know whether and how well he/she took the actions your hiring criteria call for?

This is not just about volume. The candidate can go on for fifteen minutes, and claim to be a great team player, smart, hard working, personable, motivated, creative, innovative, great under pressure, etc., but if he or she hasn’t provided an adequately detailed example of having demonstrated the skill a certain question addressed, he or she hasn’t provided anything useful at all.


So here are a sample of the types of interview Questions Interview Creator Online now creates for Claire to use when she is interviewing, for example, in this case, sales and marketing people for her company. 

Tell me about a time when you had to make a sales presentation to major client. Did you get your message across successfully?

Tell me how you handle confrontation? Please give me a recent example?

Tell me about the last time you had to use your negotiating skills to bring about increased sales from a major client.

Tell me about a salesperson  you know  who has inspired you . What did you learn from him/her? How have you been able to incorporate these methods into your own sales skills?

How do you handle negative feedback from angry customers? How do you normally respond to them?

Have you ever felt during course of your work that the existing systems and solutions are not sufficient to meet needs of customers properly and need to be changed? If so, tell me more.

Tell me about the methods you use to keep informed of your sales teams's activities and progress towards their set objectives.

How do you keep up to date with recent developments in your field

Tell me about a recent sales and marketing strategy you implemented which failed to reach its objectives. What did you learn from it?

How have you fostered an atmosphere and ethos of aggressive but ethical selling behavior in your area?

When you need to employ somebody with strong sales skills, what do you look out for?

Tell me about a successful lead and referrals generation system that you created (or improved) and implemented.

When your sales team has been in danger of failing to reach their targets, what steps do you normally take?

What steps do you undertake when you have an idea to improve either a company service or product? Give me a recent example.

Tell me about a time when you had to make a sales presentation to major clients. Did you get your message across successfully?

Describe a project you undertook that required researching for possible foreign distributors for your products, how did you go about it?

What steps do you normally take to develop relationships with key Opinion Leaders (KOL). Can you give me a recent example?

Tell me about the most difficult distributor you have had to deal with? Why were they so difficult? How did you handle them?

How have you dealt with rejection in the past? Can you give me some examples?

What steps have you taken to become proficient in the use of modern office software? Which software programs are you familiar with?

Tell me about a time when your company had to make a dubious decision, and there was a possibility of an adverse public reaction. How did you manage the situation?

Tell me about a situation where two of your managers were at odds and you helped to negotiate a solution acceptable to all.

Tell me about a time when you anticipated a serious potential problem in a company's marketing strategy. How were you able to anticipate it?

Tell me about a recent sales and marketing strategy you implemented which failed to reach its objectives. What did you learn from it?

What steps do you undertake when you have an idea to improve one of your organization's marketing strategies -maybe in relation to loyalty/incentive programs, brand management or online campaigns? Please give me a recent example.


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