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What exactly is Behavioral Interviewing?

Behavioral Interviewing

What exactly is Behavioral Interviewing?

Behavioral interviewing is a style of interviewing that more organizations are using in their hiring process.  The basic premise behind behavioral interviewing is this:  The most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation.  It provides more objective facts on which to base employment decisions than other interviewing methods.  The process of behavioral interviewing is much more probing and tries to pinpoint certain characteristics.

Important Points about Behavioral Interviewing:

  1. Employers predetermine which skills are necessary for the job opening and then ask very pointed questions to determine if the candidate possesses those skills.  To assess which skills the employer is seeking, talk with a current (or former) employee, read the company literature carefully and at the company's website.
  2. In the interview, your response needs to be specific and detailed.  Tell them about a particular situation that relates to the question, not a general one.  Tell them briefly the situation, what you did specifically and the positive result or outcome.  Frame it in the three-step "STAR" process:

Situation/Task,                      Action,                        Result

  1. The interviewee tells a story for a few minutes.  Typically, the interviewer will pick apart the story to try to get at the specific behavior(s).  The interviewer can probe further for more depth or detail such as "What were you thinking at that point?" or "Tell me more about your meeting with that person," or "Lead me through your decision process."
  2. Always listen carefully to the question, ask for clarification if necessary and make sure you answer the question completely.
  3. Your interview preparation should include identifying examples of situations where you have demonstrated the behaviors sought by a company.
  4. Your resume will serve as a good guide when answering these questions.  Refresh your memory regarding your achievements in the past couple of years.  Demonstration of the desired behaviors may be proven in many ways.  Use examples from prior work experience.  You can also use examples from involvement in professional organizations, community service, and other relevant activities.

Behavioral Interviewing Websites