3 Things Not To Do in a Behavioral Interview

1. Go into a behavioral interview without identifying the skills and experiences required.

The goal of a behavioral interview is to formulate a prediction of a candidate’s future performance by understanding the candidate’s past performance in similar situations. If you are going to be conducting a behavioral interview, you do not want to go in unprepared.

A successful behavioral interview begins with determining what skills and experiences are necessary for a candidate to have based on the job description of that position. If you are unaware that the position you are interviewing for requires an extensive expertise of, for example, conflict management, you will not be fully equipped to choose the best candidate for success.

2. Go into a behavioral interview without an evaluation approach.

The evaluation approach is also key to a successful behavioral interview. Do not go into a behavioral interview without knowing how you plan to evaluate the candidate’s answers to your behavioral questions. You may have identified the skills and experiences necessary for the position but if you are not prepared to assess the candidate’s ability to meet those requirements, you are not setting yourself up for success.

Approach behavioral interviewing evaluations with the S.T.A.R. method. Utilizing the S.T.A.R. method simply means looking for the candidate to describe:

  • Situation: a situation they were involved in that influenced the outcome or the action.
  • Task: the specific tasks that they had to complete within the situation.
  • Action: the action(s) they took in order to completely the task and reach success in that situation.
  • Results: the final conclusion of the situation.

3. Go into a behavioral interview with unrelated questions.

There are plenty of samples and examples of behavioral interviewing questions all over the internet. Do not just print out the list of 50 you found in a Google search and head into the interview. Take your time and either hand-select example questions or craft your own.

Just having properly identified the skills and experiences and knowing how to evaluate your candidates will still leave you short for successful behavioral interviewing. For example, if you are looking for a candidate with leadership skills, ask them a question about how they influenced a peer or even a boss in a situation. If you are hiring for a job that does not require leadership skills, it would seem highly unlikely that asking a candidate about the ability to influence would accurately reflect their future performance.