Behavioural questions: nearly every interview has them. Situational behavioural questions that ask candidates to draw upon their past experiences are becoming increasingly popular. They have become part of the interview process standard in a wide variety of industries, from corporate banking to sales to management consulting. Regardless of the nature of employment, most recruiters want to know if the candidate being interviewed will be able to perform well in the workplace—if they are able to add value to the company. Performing “well” can constitute an amalgam of qualities, everything from having the necessary technical background to being able to assimilate into the company culture. It is this latter quality into which behavioural questions can provide superior insight.
What are the Benefits?
Behavioural questions that require prospective job candidates to articulate their experience in particular situations allow the interviewer to get the most out of the interview process. These sorts of questions glean the most pertinent information out of the interviewee, allowing employers to obtain a better overall view of what a candidate would be like in the workplace. Additionally, open-ended behavioural questions such as “tell me about a time you overcame objectives to close a difficult sale” create an opportunity for detailed follow-up questions, making the flow of the interview a little more natural.
Providing Real Life Examples
This is about being able to “walk the talk”. Anybody can say on their resume that they have superior leadership skills or that they are seasoned problem solvers. In fact, according to a 2017 employment screening benchmark report, 85 percent of employers caught applicants falsely altering their resumes or applications. Behavioural questions help to partly circumvent this issue by pushing job candidates to go beyond their resume. Providing solid, concrete examples of past experiences in the interview room is more difficult to fabricate than simply writing a falsification on a resume. For example, when interviewing candidates for an office management role, asking a situational question about their experience with simultaneously juggling multiple tasks allows recruiters to see exactly what that candidate has accomplished in his or her previous roles.
Behavioural Questions are Easily Customizable
Traditional interview questions are common to nearly every interview prep guide online. Anybody who does a little bit of preparation before the interview will be able to answer questions such as “what are your strengths and weaknesses” or “tell me about yourself”. Behavioural questions, however, are easily customizable to the employment position at hand. Since they can be so specific, it is more difficult for prospective candidates to prepare for them, allowing the interviewer to see past the surface of a well-polished and rehearsed interviewee.
Better Intuition in Hiring Decision Making
An often overlooked, but crucial part of being able to perform well in the workplace is the ability to work well within the structure of the company culture. Sometimes candidates will have great skills and work histories but will not be the best match for a specific job. Behavioural interviews allow recruiters to gain a deeper insight into the personality and the drivers of the individual. If a potential applicant is team-oriented and has relevant previous experience, but the position they are applying for requires high levels of autonomy, they are not the right fit for that role. The only way to extract this kind of information is by employing behavioural questions in the interview process.
Prospective Candidates Feel More Comfortable
Sometimes the most qualified applicants are the worst interviewers. When their nerves get hauled into overdrive, suitable candidates might not represent themselves in the best light. Behavioural interview questions can make candidates less nervous by making the flow of conversation more natural. Since the focus of these sorts of questions is akin to telling a story in a normal conversation, candidates will feel more comfortable, allowing them to rid their feelings of anxiety or nervousness.
Behavioural questions, when integrated properly, can maximize the value recruiters receive from the interview process. But in today’s global workforce, this process is no longer enough on its own to effectively gauge an applicant’s ability to perform. In conjunction with the interview process, pre-employment screening is essential in making consistently accurate hiring decisions. Predictive Success offers cognitive and behavioural assessments to complement any company’s recruitment process. Click here, to find out more about the Predictive Index System®.
Matthias is a social media intern at Predictive Success. He is currently a second-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce at Queen's University. He spends his mornings brewing the perfect cup of coffee... or cups of coffee. Is there such thing as too much coffee?