Behavioral-Based Interviewing

HR Resource
December 5, 2012 — 3,312 views  
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Behavioral-Based Interviewing

The employment market remains saturated with unemployed, highly qualified workers vying for a small number of job openings. Seasoned job candidates with years of experience compete with new college graduates looking for a chance to begin their careers. With a labor market this competitive and diverse, comparing credentials and years of service isn't always the best way to measure true potential. For human resource managers and recruiters, finding the right hire has become more about choosing those with the right judgment, wisdom and reaction skills to handle the challenges of the moment. So, behavior matters as much as experience. That's where behavioral interviewing becomes key.

How Behavioral Interviewing is Changing the Employment Market:

Behavioral interviewing is an emerging form of job interviewing that uses strategic questions to test the situational behavior of candidates. Interviewers ask questions about different job scenarios and how those scenarios compare to challenges the interviewee faced professionally in the past. Answers give a glimpse into the worker's ability to adapt and choose the right behavior under pressure. The goal of the interview is to predict how the worker would actually perform on the job by using past behavior as a measurement.

Experts at the University of Delaware's Career Service Center believe behavioral interviewing can be 55 percent accurate in predicting future job behavior. By contrast, those same experts believe traditional interviewing that focuses merely on resumes, education and personality to be only 10 percent accurate in predicting job actions and aptitude.

Armed with this new knowledge, human resource managers and recruitment teams spend time formulating the proper behavioral interview style. The first goal for an interviewer is brainstorm a list of skills and behaviors desirable for the job; common skills that most human resource managers seek in the responses of job candidates include integrity, ability to adapt, leadership and interpersonal skills. The second goal for interviewers is to craft scenarios and open-ended inquiries that will allow interviewees to demonstrate those skills and behaviors through reflection on real life circumstances.

While it may appear that this interview style benefits seasoned workers able to draw from years of on-the-job training, recent graduates also benefit from behavioral interviewing because they can use campus activities, student body leadership skills, club participation and volunteer work to demonstrate situational behavior.

How Behavioral Interviewing Differs from Traditional Interviewing:

Traditional interviews tend to be extremely general and paint an overall picture of personality and achievement. In behavioral interviewing, questions are more specific and look at tendencies, habits and thought patterns of an aspiring worker. The latter offers a more critical look at the potential of a job candidate and is considered more objective. To enhance objectivity, many interviewers create a scoring system for grading responses during behavioral interviews.

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