There are lots of things you need to know about job candidates that you can’t glean from their resumes. This guide to behavioral interview questions will help you dig deeper into applicants’ work styles and personality traits.
Candidates can reveal a lot about their personalities during a job interview. A smart interviewer notes the applicant’s body language, tone of voice, posture and use of eye contact. Along with the essential questions, hiring managers should use part of the interview to gain deeper insights into the candidate’s behavior and personality.
This section of the interview, called the behavioral interview, is as important as the technical/subject-matter part. The behavioral interview reveals the candidate’s emotional quotient and can offer valuable insights into whether the candidate would be a good cultural fit for the company.
You may choose to approach the behavioral interview using a general or specific set of questions. A general approach would be to ask the candidate to describe their personal style in (say) managing conflict, problem-solving and being a team player. A specific approach is when the interviewer narrates a situation and asks the candidate how they would tackle it. A good behavioral interview has a mix of general and specific questions.
As a hiring manager, pencil in these five broad areas to learn about a candidate’s personality.
1. conflict management style
Ask questions to find out if the candidate is accommodating, avoiding, confrontational, competing or acquiescing when dealing with conflict at work. In particular, you want to know whether their communication style would ruffle any feathers within the team.
If you disagreed with a colleague’s approach to solving a problem, what would you do?
2. working towards goals
You want to learn about the candidate’s attitude to work goals, and their approach to reaching them.
Say you are asked to fill in for a colleague who is on leave. An important client deadline is approaching within the week. You are doubtful of meeting that deadline while managing your daily tasks. What would you do?
3. team player or solo flier
A situation-based question can reveal whether the candidate thinks for the collective and bats for the team.
Tell us about a time when you had to work closely with someone you did not get along with. How did you manage?
4. stress management style
You want to know if the candidate can stay calm under pressure. You will also learn about the candidate’s time management skills.
You work on and submit a report under pressure. Within hours, the senior manager calls you to discuss a major error in the report. How do you handle this situation?
5. motivational fit
This bucket of questions shows not only the candidate’s level of motivation but also hints at when a manager would need to step in to offer a motivational boost.
Is there an aspect of your job that you dislike? What do you not like about it, and how would you tackle that feeling if you accepted this position?
Behavioral interview questions arm hiring managers with insights into the candidate’s personality and what they really want. A successful interview incorporates these, and many other techniques, so that hiring managers get the most out of the process. Check out our other interview tips to further hone your Q&A skills.