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Behavioral interviews: what are they and tips for preparing them

Behavioral interviews are practical tools in the process of recruiting and attracting talent. In fact, they are considered by many...
10 November 2022

Behavioral interviews are practical tools in the process of recruiting and attracting talent. In fact, they are considered by many experts to be among the best techniques for predicting job performance.   

The success of finding the ideal candidate for a job depends not only on whether they have the experience and skills necessary to assume their new responsibilities but also on whether they have the necessary potential to achieve and add up to outstanding achievements in the company throughout their professional development. 

Behavioral interviews help to be more effective in selection processes. Hence, it is interesting that you know exactly what they are, what models exist, and how you can do them correctly to get the most out of them.

What is a behavioral interview?

The behavioral interview is a type of assessment that can be applied in different areas and is based on a series of questions focused on the behavior of the interviewee concerning their experiences to reveal their potential or to detect problematic behaviors which they may incur. 

Thanks to this technique, you can learn about the candidate’s skills, potential, and their level of affinity with your company’s culture. 

The behavioral questions in a job interview essentially revolve around three aspects which, through contextualized behaviors described by the interviewee, it is intended to delve into: 

  1. Technical or challenging skills. 
  2. Interpersonal skills. 
  3. Values. 

In these interviews, you can propose questions of the following type: 

  • On what recent occasion have you felt satisfaction?
  • How did you solve communication problems with someone who did not understand you?
  • What method do you use to organize work on different projects simultaneously? 
  • What do you do if you disagree with your boss?

In any case, the battery of questions should be determined before the interview to enhance the results, as we will see below. 

behavioral interviews

Types and tips for behavioral interviews 

The structure of behavioral interviews can be adapted to different models or methodologies whose choice depends on the objectives to be achieved. 

Companies usually opt for structured selection processes. That is, their content is programmed and can be objectively evaluated in its entirety in a way that ensures a level playing field for all candidates.

We will talk about 2 of the behavioral models most commonly used by agencies and Human Resources (HR) departments. HH.

Behavioral Description Interview or Janz interview

These interviews, known as BDI -Behavior Description Interviews- or also as ECE -Structured Behavioral Interviews-, make it easier for the candidate to focus on past events. The expected responses follow the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method. 

They can focus on a critical incident or a rewarding accomplishment from the candidate’s experience that allows you to intuit how the candidate will perform in the future. 

Situational or Latham Interviewing

The situational interview or SI  focuses on proposing a hypothetical situation to the candidate in the present and observing how they respond to it to predict their behavior.

How to prepare for behavioral interviews like ECE or Structured Behavioral Interview?

The Structured Behavioral Interview for personnel selection, on which we will focus, puts the focus on the candidate’s skills, attitude, and affinity with the organization’s culture. 

For the process to be a success, you must respect a series of rules that begin with a thorough analysis of your company’s needs. 

Behavioral interviews: what are they and tips for preparing them

Behavioral interview questions

All questions must be able to be answered concretely and provide the necessary information to predict the candidate’s possible behavior. 

In order to be as effective as possible, you need to proceed to a detailed analysis of the skills and abilities, as well as the attitudes you are looking to complete based on the responsibilities of the position. 

Keep in mind that inexperienced candidates may apply, so you should plan a reformulation for those profiles. 

A level playing field for all candidates

You must ask the same questions in the same order to all the people who apply for the selection process; only then can you compare their answers without deviations from the beginning. 

Evaluation of the behavioral-based interviews

To evaluate the interview, you can use a performance evaluation measurement scale such as the one offered by the BARS scale -Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale- which allows you to identify different dimensions or specific skills like communication skills. 

In this way, you will be able to establish a scale for a series of expected behaviors at a precise level of performance. This makes it easier for you to place the behaviors described by the candidate and to score them. 

The need for trained interviewers

Behavioral interviews must be conducted by qualified professionals familiar with the interviewing technique and trained to analyze the results obtained. 

In an ideal context, there is only one interviewer to ensure the same conditions and the same treatments to the participants. 

If the same person cannot be used to conduct the interviews, you must create a script that all must strictly respect. 

It is essential that the interviewers do not exchange opinions about the candidates until the interview round is over. 

How to do a SBI or Structured Behavioral Interview?

Decision-making

In order to limit subjective and hasty judgments, do not make any decisions until all steps of the evaluation process have been completed. Otherwise, you may be influenced by the circumstances of the moment instead of being guided by the study’s results. 

As you have seen in this article, the success of behavioral interviews lies in good initial preparation, having the right professionals and objectively analyzing the answers. 

Our proctoring products can help you achieve this while respecting your privacy and that of the candidates.  

Request a free demo to learn more about improving your recruitment processes and getting the most out of them. 

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