Recruiter Roundtable: Behavioral Interviews

Recruiter Roundtable: Behavioral Interviews

By Yahoo! HotJobs

The Recruiter Roundtable is a monthly feature that collects career and job-seeking advice from a group of recruiting experts throughout the US. 

The question we put before our panel this month is: "How often do you ask behavioral interview questions, and how would you suggest candidates prepare for those types of questions?"

Review Real Situations

Behavioral interview questions are common and can be valuable since they help hiring managers learn how job seekers have handled real situations and challenges previously in their careers. There are a couple of steps candidates can take to prepare for these questions. First, anticipate the types of situations the employer may want to discuss. While every interview is obviously different, there typically are common inquiries; the hiring manager may want you to describe a time you solved a business problem or overcame a client objection, for example. Once you have an idea what you may be asked, identify specific experiences you want to share that demonstrate why you are the right fit for the job, and practice delivering your responses.

-- DeLynn Senna, executive director of North American permanent placement services, Robert Half International

Share the Behavior's Impact

Our primary interview strategy is based on asking behavioral interview questions. We understand that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Interviewing is more about getting good answers, not asking clever questions. Candidates should identify key experiences that demonstrate accomplishment, leadership, motivation, communication, problem-solving, the ability to learn quickly and success working in groups. Candidates should be prepared to give specific examples of behaviors in these areas. Questions often start with the phrase, "Can you give me a time when…?" After giving an example of a behavior that demonstrates these attributes, candidates need to be prepared to share the effects of these behaviors. How did it help you become the person you are today? What did you learn? How did your behavior help others? Why would this demonstrate you are capable of performing at a high-level in this position? We focus on the candidate's ability to do the work, not get the job. Our questioning is designed to identify a trend of consistent high-quality performance.

-- Bill Woodington, learning & development manager, Wells Fargo Audit & Security

Validate Your Answers

I always ask behavioral questions, and you should be ready to answer them as more and more recruiters are using them. As a candidate, you should know which skills or tasks you want to use the most or the ones required by the potential job. After you brainstorm on situations that you faced in the past that are applicable, identify some examples on how you dealt with them. Validate that your actions/examples were appropriate then, perhaps by asking colleagues to provide third-party validation.

-- Yves Lermusi, CEO, Checkster