How to conduct a behavioural interview in 5 steps

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To find the perfect candidate you need to conduct the perfect behavioural interview

A behavioural interview is a great way to assess the practical skills and experiences of your candidates, but it can be difficult to know how to conduct one. If this is your first time asking behavioural interview questions – or even your first time interviewing at all – no worries. We can help.

Behavioural interview questions zero-in on your candidate’s past experiences. When they answer – talking through times when they tackled problems or navigated tricky situations – you’ll be able to gain an appreciation of how they respond to different circumstances.

But there’s no point in Googling ‘top behavioural interview questions’ and jotting down any that take your fancy. You’re looking for a very particular candidate with certain skills, so you have to conduct your behavioural interview well.

Step 1 – Come back to the job description

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of hiring and lose your focus. But your company needs someone with a certain set of skills, and it’s your job to deliver.

It’s always a good idea to come back to the job description and remind yourself of what exactly you need to be looking for.

Whether it’s about experience using certain software, managing projects or knowledge of the industry, these are all thing to keep in mind for the behavioural interview.

Step 2 – Look at some examples

Now that our brains are completely turned on to what we need, we can take a look at some behavioural interview question examples!

It’s really vital that we do this after coming back to the job description and get precise about what we’re looking for. Because – as I said before – it’s easy to copy down any old question and run with it, but it might not be perfect for you.

It’s always a good idea to ask every candidate the same questions so that comparison is easier.

We would recommend always asking what your candidates learned from these experiences as follow-up questions!

Tell me about a time you resolved a conflict

Tell me about a time you worked well under pressure

How do you work within a team?

How do you build relationships with clients?

Tell me about a time you communicated well

How have you dealt with authority in the past?

How have you approached problems at work in the past?

Tell me about a time you received feedback and how you acted on it

How do you handle stress?

How do you handle deadlines?

how to conduct a behavioural interview

Step 3 – Create your own

Every well-prepared candidate will have perfect answers ready for these questions, so let’s do something bold. Let’s come up with our own.

Here’s some ideas:

  • If your team recently tackled a specific problem, ask your candidates how they have tackled something similar in the past.
  • Does your team need someone to come up with more ideas or to execute them?
  • What communication styles work well in your team?

You can use the STAR technique of answering questions to come up with them in the first place. This is a great way to formulate a clear question.

  1. Situation
  2. Task
  3. Action
  4. Result

For example, tell me about a time that you took initiative and lead a team to success.

Step 4 – What to expect

You can get all kinds of answers to behavioural interview questions. Some candidates might use that same STAR technique to clearly explain a complex problem and resolution, and some might give a brief, vague answer that does little to impress.

It’s a good idea to have a notebook ready to jot down your thoughts in real-time. These answers can go on for a little while!

Those that take unusual behavioural questions in their stride will be problem-solvers who can think on their feet. Just the kind of people you’re looking for!

Step 5 – Follow-up

A behavioural interview is hard to conduct and just as hard for your candidates to master. So put those notes to use in your follow-ups after the interview!

Any feedback that you can give your unsuccessful candidates will be vital for their next interview. The more detailed, the better!

And now you can get on to the exciting stuff, inviting your candidates to their next interview or even offering them the job.

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