Time Tested Interview Techniques

Fact: Using behavioral interviewing can increase by nearly 60% your chances of hiring the right employee.

In fact, extensive research supports behavioral interviewing (i.e. using past performance as a reliable indicator of future performance) as the most effective interviewing technique available to evaluate suitable applicants. In a nutshell: Behavior-based interviewing is an approach that looks at past behavior as the best predictor of future performance.

“Tell me a time when…..”

For example, rather than asking, “What would you do if …” one should ask, ‘Tell me about a time when you…..You want to find out how people ACTUALLY behave rather than their promise of how they will behave.

Remember: Just because people can give good answers and sound impressive — it doesn’t mean they can DO what they SAY.

Let’s take a very simple example.

You’re interviewing Merideth for the position of account executive.

The interview starts as normal …and you are using the same old, traditional questions.

  • What is your experience, Merideth?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Merideth, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Good Questions….and bad Questions

These questions aren’t bad in themselves. They will definitely help you to find out more about Merideth. But they are severely limited, as they can lead to very standard and well-rehearsed responses from your interviewee. Look, at this stage even monkeys would have a good idea what questions you are going to ask – and with practice, could give you great answers!

So even if Merideth answers well – what does it really mean? Is she really good?

Or…. is she just good at answering the same old questions that EVERY interviewer asks? You see, at the end of all these questions, you still have very little REAL information about how Merideth would behave in real-life situations. But there is another approach….

Behavioral interviewing

It is behavioral-based interviewing. Instead of the same old traditional questions, well-crafted behavioral-based questions can give you a much more accurate ‘printout’ of a candidate’s true character and ability. Remember again, behavioral-based interviewing is highly effective because it examines the past behavior of a job candidate, which is considered the most accurate indicator of future behavior.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say that you want to find out more about, say Merideth’s skills of diplomacy. How would she deal with people?

“Merideth, have you ever felt irritated or frustrated while dealing with a customer? How did you respond when customers became demanding beyond an acceptable level?’”

The ‘Behavior-based question’ questions how she behaved in the past in very specific situations relating to diplomacy.

It allows the candidate to give you a fuller answer – and it gives you a more accurate and truer picture of the candidate. You see how the candidate reacted in the past and that is always the best predictor of future performance.

How to use this approach in your interviewing?

You should always define the behavioral competencies you are looking for in the right employee to fill your position.

This way you will be more focused when recruiting. Once you know the behavioral competencies you want, you can then structure your interview questions to learn more about the interviewee…….and watch how your success rate in picking the right person will improve….and improve.

SalesForce Training & Consulting is a professional sales training firm based in Boston and Toronto, providing sales coaching, sales management training, salesforce.com implementation and sales training.

by   Mark Christie