Behavioral Interviewing: Tips for Success (Part 1)

By Team Hireology,
August 10, 2011

If your company is using behavioral interviews as part of its hiring process, congrats! You’re ahead of the game. But, while behavioral interviewing as a technique is undeniably effective, even this structured approach to interviewing still allows plenty of room for error.

Hireology knows how easy it is to forget what we’ve learned about interviewing in the heat of the moment. For that reason, we’ve prepared a list of the most common interviewer mistakes, and strategies that can help your team avoid them:

1. Diving Right Into the Questions- Let’s face it: Many hiring managers are strapped for time. They’ve blocked 45 minutes out of their day for an interview, with meetings before and after. They want to get to the point, ask the questions on their form, make an assessment, and get on with their day.

The problem with this approach is that when you don’t take a minute or two to build rapport with your candidate, you’ll hear rushed responses to your questions, and leave a bad taste in the candidate’s mouth. Instead, try asking the candidate how their day is going and take a minute to explain the format of the interview to come. You’ll find that candidates give you more thorough responses, and get a better impression of your company when you set the stage for the interview in this way.

2. Taking Their Word for It- During a 2 hour conversation, your candidate tells you at various points in the interview that a) he had trouble meeting friends in college because the people weren’t friendly. b) In job 1, he missed a deadline because his coworkers weren’t pulling their weight. And, C) In job 2, he was passed up for a promotion because of office politics.

After the interview, it’s normal to think, “This seems plausible: This guy has really had it rough.” But, before you decide to cut the poor guy a break and offer him a job, ask yourself: Was this candidate thrown into a series of difficult situations? Or, was he simply recounting a negative take on pretty normal experiences?

Now, this may not always be the case, nine times out of ten, it’s the latter.  Using Hireology, we guide you through examining trends, or words beneath the surface.  Let’s face it, no candidate is just going to come forward and tell you, “I don’t often take responsibility for my outcomes.

3. Interviewing Alone- Not the worst, but by far the most common interviewing mistake is interviewing alone. We realize that interview teams aren’t always the most practical, but they can absolutely can produce better results.

When having a conversation with a candidate (or any person, for that matter), an interviewer is most effective when they can be “present,” or in the moment. Given that statement, the nature of interviewing presents an inherent dilemma: on one hand, you’re in a conversation and you want to be present – genuinely listening to your candidate; but on the other hand, you are simultaneously judging the likelihood of this candidate’s success with your company.

Usually, interviewers are better at one or the other, when forced to do both at once.  The simplest, most effective way to solve this problem is to have two interviewers in the room: one does the talking, and the other does the judging/assessing/note-taking . Don’t get us wrong, it is possible to do both once, and a lot of people do, but we promise your results will be even better if you use two interviewers. Your notes will better, your candidate will provide you with better information, and your scoring will be more accurate.


**Stay tuned for Part 2 of Behavioral Interviewing: Tips for Success.**

Make sure you don’t ask any of these illegal interview questions!

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