A Recruiter's Guide to Behavioral Interview Questions

March 20, 2023
Claire Stachniewska
A Recruiter's Guide to Behavioral Interview Questions

According to recent statistics, behavioral interview questions have a 55% predictive accuracy rate for on-the-job success. However, using these types of questions effectively requires a certain level of skill and knowledge. 

In addition to using behavioral interview questions, recruiters should also consider using a combination of different interview techniques to evaluate candidates more effectively. Each technique provides a unique perspective on a candidate's skills and suitability for the job. 

Structured interviews ensure fairness and consistency, situational interviews assess problem-solving skills, panel interviews provide a more comprehensive evaluation, and stress interviews assess adaptability under pressure. By preparing thoroughly before conducting an interview, recruiters can ask more effective questions and make better hiring decisions.

In this article, we will provide a recruiter's guide to behavioral interview questions and offer insights into how to use them to make informed hiring decisions.

Predicting job-fit accurately means being able to cover all job-related requirements. HiPeople covers them all. Use our assessment library to cover everything that matters to you, and leave out the bits that don’t add value.

What are behavioral interview questions?

Behavioral interview questions ask candidates to describe specific scenarios from their past work experiences and how they handled them. This helps assess their past behavior and predict their future job performance. Successful navigation of similar situations in the past indicates higher chances of success in the role they are applying for.

Types of behavioral interview questions and answers

Behavioral interview questions assess a candidate's past behavior to predict future job performance. They ask for specific scenarios and how the candidate handled them. Types include situational, competency-based, and experience-based questions. Answers reveal problem-solving and communication skills, and job fit.

Candidates who excel in behavioral interviews are able to provide specific examples of how they have handled similar situations in the past. They can demonstrate their problem-solving skills, their ability to work under pressure, and their communication and interpersonal skills.

Here are a few examples of behavioral interview questions and potential candidate responses based on the references provided:

"Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult coworker or supervisor."

A strong candidate might describe a situation where they approached the difficult individual with an open mind and a willingness to listen. They may have tried to understand the person's perspective and then worked together to find a solution that satisfied both parties. Alternatively, a weaker candidate may have let their emotions get the best of them, escalating the conflict or avoiding the individual altogether.

"Describe a time when you had to make a tough decision with limited information."

A good candidate might discuss a time when they gathered as much information as possible before making a decision, but ultimately had to rely on their instincts and expertise to make the best choice. They may have consulted with colleagues or supervisors for advice, but ultimately took responsibility for the outcome of the decision. A weaker candidate may have made a decision impulsively or without fully understanding the potential consequences.

How to evaluate candidates using behavioral interview questions

To evaluate candidates using behavioral interview questions, it's important to keep a few key strategies in mind. These include:

  1. Listen carefully to the candidate's responses: Pay attention to the specific details of the candidate's stories, as well as their communication style and tone. Take note of how they describe their actions, how they interact with others, and whether they take responsibility for their own mistakes or failures.

  1. Ask follow-up questions: Use follow-up questions to clarify specific details or to dig deeper into certain aspects of the candidate's responses. This can help you get a more complete picture of the candidate's problem-solving skills, communication abilities, and overall fit for the job.

  1. Compare candidates' responses to the job requirements: Use the job description and the requirements of the role to evaluate whether the candidate's past experiences and behaviors align with what you're looking for in a candidate.

Examples of behavioral interview questions that can help evaluate candidates include:

  1. "Can you describe a time when you had to work under a tight deadline? How did you manage your time and prioritize your tasks?"

  1. "Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer or client. How did you handle the situation?"

  1. "Describe a time when you had to make a tough decision with limited information. How did you approach the decision-making process?"

Red flags to look out for

  1. Lack of enthusiasm or interest in the position or company.
  2. Inability to provide specific examples or details when answering questions.
  3. Negative comments about previous employers or colleagues.
  4. Lack of preparation or knowledge about the company or industry.
  5. Inability to take ownership of mistakes or accept feedback.
  6. Poor communication skills or difficulty explaining ideas clearly.
  7. Inconsistent or contradictory answers.
  8. Inappropriate behavior or language.
  9. Overconfidence or arrogance.
  10. Unwillingness to learn or adapt to new situations.

Why use behavioral questions in interviews?

Behavioral interview questions are designed to assess a candidate's past behavior in specific situations to predict their future performance in similar situations. Using behavioral questions can help recruiters to:

  1. Identify candidates with relevant experience and skills.
  2. Assess a candidate's fit with the company culture and values.
  3. Predict a candidate's future job performance more accurately.
  4. Provide a more objective and standardized interview process.

Some companies that are rumored to use behavioral interview questions include Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft.

If you're looking to streamline your recruitment process and find the best candidates quickly, consider using behavioral interview questions. With HiPeople's assessments, you can immediately spot the candidates that fit your job the best and quickly move them forward, saving you time and resources. Stop screening endless CVs and candidates and start finding the best talent with HiPeople.

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