The Art of Behavioral Interviewing: Techniques for Better Candidate Assessment 

The Art of Behavioral Interviewing: Techniques for Better Candidate Assessment

Behavioral interviewing is a strategic approach to candidate assessment that has gained immense traction due to its efficacy in predicting future job performance. At its core, this technique acknowledges a fundamental premise: past behaviors serve as reliable indicators of how a candidate is likely to perform in a new role. 

It taps into the idea that one’s history of actions, responses, and decisions in previous professional experiences can offer valuable insights into their capabilities, competencies, and suitability for a prospective position. 

By delving into a candidate’s past behaviors and responses to various situations, behavioral interviewing unveils a more comprehensive understanding of their abilities, problem-solving skills, communication style, and interpersonal dynamics. 

The approach transcends the traditional use of hypothetical scenarios or questions by relying instead on real-life examples that illustrate how candidates have handled challenges, collaborated with teams, and accomplished goals. 

An organization’s hiring decision can be greatly impacted by behavioral interviews since they provide a more accurate and predictive means of judging a candidate’s potential and figuring out whether or not they will fit in with the team. 

Crafting Impactful Behavioral Questions 

Crafting impactful behavioral interview questions is a crucial skill in the recruitment process, as it allows interviewers to gain deep insights into a candidate’s qualifications, competencies, and suitability for a role. Here’s how to effectively construct these questions: 

  1. Specificity 

Behavioral questions should be highly specific, prompting candidates to provide detailed responses about past experiences. The question “Can you work well in a team?” might be replaced with “Have you ever faced a challenge while working in a team? How did you handle it?” 

  1. Focus on Competencies 

Tailor questions to assess the specific competencies and skills required for the job. If problem-solving is crucial, inquire about situations where the candidate demonstrated exceptional problem-solving abilities. 

  1. Use the STAR Method 

Structure questions using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). This framework guides candidates to describe the context, their role, actions taken, and the outcomes achieved, providing a comprehensive understanding of their abilities. 

  1. Relevance 

Ensure questions are relevant to the position and industry. Ask about scenarios candidates are likely to encounter in the role. 

  1. Open-ended 

Phrase questions in an open-ended manner to encourage candidates to share in-depth responses, rather than simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. 

The STAR Method: Structuring Responses for Insight 

The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a structured approach that empowers candidates to deliver insightful responses during behavioral interviews. Let us break it down further. 

  1. Situation 

Candidates set the stage by describing the context or situation they faced in the past. This provides interviewers with a clear understanding of the scenario. 

  1. Task 

Candidates then define their role or task in that situation. This step clarifies their responsibilities and objectives. 

  1. Action 

Candidates detail the actions they took to address the situation or task. This phase sheds light on their problem-solving skills, decision-making, and initiative. 

  1. Results 

The final element highlights the outcomes or results of the candidate’s actions. This allows interviewers to gauge the candidate’s effectiveness, impact, and contribution to the situation. 

By following the STAR method, candidates provide a structured and comprehensive account of their experiences, enabling interviewers to assess their competencies, behaviors, and suitability for the role with precision and clarity. 

Assessing Soft Skills and Cultural Fit 

Assessing Soft Skills and Cultural Fit through behavioral interviews is vital for holistic candidate evaluation. Let us find out how do we achieve the same. 

  1. Soft Skills Evaluation: 
  • Communication: Behavioral questions can uncover a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively, whether it’s conveying ideas, active listening, or resolving conflicts. 
  • Adaptability: By delving into past experiences, interviewers can gauge how well a candidate adapts to change, handles ambiguity, and learns from setbacks. 
  • Leadership: Behavioral questions reveal a candidate’s leadership style, how they motivate teams, and their approach to decision-making. 
  1. Cultural Fit Assessment: 
  • Values Alignment: Candidates can describe instances where their actions align with an organization’s values, indicating cultural compatibility. 
  • Team Dynamics: Assessing past team interactions helps ascertain if a candidate’s interpersonal skills and collaboration style harmonize with the existing culture. 
  • Problem-solving: Behavioral interviews unveil a candidate’s problem-solving approach, revealing if it aligns with the company’s culture of innovation or problem-solving strategies. 

Overcoming Common Interviewing Biases 

Let us see how we can overcome common interviewing biases which are essential to conducting fair and objective behavioral interviews. 

  1. Bias Recognition:  

Interviewers must be aware of stereotypes related to gender, ethnicity, or other factors and consciously avoid making assumptions based on these stereotypes. Acknowledge the tendency to seek information that confirms preconceived notions about a candidate, which can lead to unfair judgments. 

  1. Structured Questions:  

Ensure that questions focus on job-related factors and competencies, creating a standardized framework for evaluation. Develop a scoring system to objectively assess candidates’ answers, reducing the influence of personal biases. 

  1. Diverse Interview Panels:  

Include interviewers from diverse backgrounds on the panel to offer varied viewpoints and reduce individual biases. Encourage panel discussions to arrive at a consensus regarding a candidate’s suitability, promoting a fairer assessment. 

  1. Bias Training:  

Provide interviewers with bias awareness training to recognize and counteract their own biases during the interview process. Promote continuous learning and self-reflection to ensure interviewers refine their skills in conducting objective interviews. 

Mastering Successful Behavioral Interviews: 

To excel in behavioral interviews, both interviewers and candidates can benefit from these tips: 

  1. For Interviewers: 
  • Preparation: Familiarize yourself with the job requirements and desired competencies. Craft tailored questions that align with the role. 
  • Active Listening: Pay close attention to candidates’ responses, probing for details and asking follow-up questions to gain deeper insights. 
  • Objective Evaluation: Use a structured scoring system to assess responses based on predetermined criteria, reducing subjective judgments. 
  1. For Candidates: 
  • Research: Understand the organization’s culture, values, and the job’s demands. Tailor your responses to showcase relevant skills. 
  • STAR Method: Structure your responses using the STAR method, providing context, tasks, actions, and results for clarity. 
  • Practice: Conduct mock interviews with a friend or mentor to refine your storytelling skills and boost confidence. 

Behavioral interviewing, when effectively utilized, enhances candidate assessment, resulting in more informed hiring decisions. By scrutinizing past behaviors and employing structured questions following the STAR method, organizations gain deeper insights into a candidate’s competencies and suitability. 

COGBEE, powered by AI, complements behavioral interviewing by automating assessments, impartially analyzing responses, and ensuring equitable evaluations. Its seamless integration with the principles of behavioral interviewing streamlines the process, enhancing efficiency and objectivity. COGBEE empowers modern recruitment, aligning perfectly with the goals of informed decision-making and selecting top talent based on merit and compatibility.