Traditional and behavioral interviews are very similar to one another, with the only difference being the type of questions that are asked. But behavioral interviews can provide keen insight into the skill set and workplace behavior of your potential candidate. This set of questions is more complex, encouraging the interviewee to provide immediate, unrehearsed answers. If you ask the right questions, you can get a more complete picture of your candidate’s previous success on the job and how they could replicate those efforts at your company.
1. Tell me about a tough problem you’ve faced recently.
This question will not only illuminate the candidate’s previous work experience, but will also give you an idea of the way they think and solve problems. Interviewees may describe interpersonal dilemmas, issues with their work, or even struggles with professional skills like meeting deadlines or leading meetings. It’s a bad sign if they aren’t able to think of an answer — everyone faces problems in the workplace, regardless of the nature of the issue.
Questions that will give you similar insight include:
Describe a time you made a risky decision.
Tell me about how you’ve worked well under pressure.
2. Describe a conflict you’ve experienced with a co-worker or customer.
Behavioral interviews are as much about learning a candidate’s social skills as they are their technical skills. This question will delve into their ability to manage interpersonal conflicts. It’s a good sign if the candidate admits responsibility for the conflict or describes actively trying to resolve the issue. On the other hand, it’s a bad sign if they put all of the blame (and responsibility for resolution) on the other party. After they answer, you will have a good sense of their ability to accept responsibility and their interpersonal skills in the workplace.
Similar questions include:
Have you ever made a mistake? How did you handle it?
Describe a time you handled a difficult situation with a supervisor.
3. Describe a time you dealt with a workplace policy or guideline you didn’t agree with.
With this question, you’ll learn how your candidate navigates the complicated world of workplace diplomacy, as well as the strength of their problem solving and interpersonal skills. Look for interviewees who were able to work creatively with restrictions or were (respectfully) open with their supervisor about this conflict. Take it as a warning sign if they chose to break policy at the cost of their job performance because they felt they were right. Even if this displays initiative, it shows a lack of respect for authority and can be a bad sign of future behavior.
These questions will provide similar background:
What do you do when you disagree with your boss?
Give an example of a time you disagreed with your supervisor’s opinion.
These (and similar) questions can provide vital behavioral information on your potential candidates. They will give you a solid idea of the interviewee’s work history and ways in which that history might inform their future with your company.