How to Assess For Past Behaviour With Behavioural Interview - Atomic Hire Blog
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How to Assess For Past Behaviour With Behavioural Interview4 min read

February 11, 2019 3 min read


How to Assess For Past Behaviour With Behavioural Interview4 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Recruitment companies will always evolve their hiring methods, such as the movement from manual applicant filtering to automated applicant tracking systems. However, the methods to assess for past behaviour have remained relatively constant, as they can provide one of the best predictors of job performance.

Behavioural job interview

There is a strongly-followed belief that past behaviour predicts future behaviour, which in respect to a candidate that is applying for a similar role as their last job, is probably true. And when an interviewer asks the right questions, it can elicit a factual past experience. In comparison to other factors in an interview process, this type of response can be one of the most important predictors for future behaviour. Therefore to assess for past behaviour, there is a single proven recruitment tool that provides the best results: the behavioural interview.

Read more: 201 Interview Questions for Every Occasion

Behavioural Interview

This type of interview involves the use of situational questions that can elicit certain memories of specific behaviours. And in regards to the role in question, an interviewer should know the behaviours they want from the ‘perfect’ candidate, therefore can create role-specific questions to instigate examples of these behaviours. Indeed suggests that an interviewer is generally looking for three things in response to a behavioural question.

  1. How a candidate behaved in a real-world situation
  2. Understand the measurable value a candidate added to that situation
  3. How a candidate defines something like “pressure at work”

However, creating effective behavioural interview questions can be a challenging process. John Boring, CEO of Accelerate Mobile Apps, suggests “the first rule of creating behavioral interview questions is that they do not end with a question mark. They are not questions at all but more a sentence asking that the candidate reflect on past experiences”. Therefore an effective behavioural question is more like a statement that stimulates a situation, with introductory phrases such as;

– ‘Tell me about….’

– ‘Describe a time where….’

– ‘Give me an example of….’

– ‘Share an example of how….’

The best questions will be short and specific to the desired behaviour, while not giving away the answer. There can be a fine line between a vague question that gives the candidate too much creative freedom, or a precise question that gives them the answer on a plate.

After asking an open-ended behavioural question, an interviewer should usually then ask a relevant probing question for further information. A person that answers honestly can recall relevant information easily, whereas an untruthful candidate may struggle. This technique can be very effective in filtering out the most capable candidate dependant on their ability to handle such questioning.

For a better understanding of a behavioural interview, both the interviewer and the interviewee can use the STAR method to create and effectively answer behavioural questions.

– Situation

A question must be able to focus on a specific situation, allowing a candidate to recall and provide a relevant memory.

– Task

A good example should involve a task or objective that can relate to the projected behaviour.

– Action

Usually the most important part, the action represents a step-by-step re-enactment of what happened.

– Result

To complete an effective behavioural question, a relevant conclusion must be formed to support the desired behaviour.

Following this simple acronym an interviewer can divide the production of relevant questions into different sections, while also providing the interviewee with a step-by-step process of how to best answer a challenging behavioural question.

After a successful behavioural interview, a recruitment professional should have a stronger understanding of how a candidate behaves in different scenarios. This type of information can help to determine their capability for the role in question, as well as their suitability within the team.

However, it must be taken into consideration that a behavioural interview is most effective with candidates that have come from a similar field or industry, as their experiences will be more relevant for predicting their job performance. Therefore a hiring manager might choose alternative methods in regards to specific candidates, saving them a bit more time and a bit more money.

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