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How to ask behavioural interview questions

Try gaining insight into the way your candidate really thinks by asking behavioural interview questions. You may have found in the past that interviewees give very rehearsed, not always very good, answers to the standard “why do you want to work here?”. But these don’t really tell you anything about the way in which they’ll operate in a working environment if you were to hire them.

Why ask behavioural interview questions?

We’ve found that the best way to engage with a candidate and get an honest view of them is to ask some creative questions that require real life examples as a response. Another positive of asking behavioural interview questions is that they create a dialogue between you and the candidate, which builds rapport. Asking someone to relate a time when they made a wrong decision in the workplace then gives you the chance for follow up questions; e.g. “how did you resolve this?” or “what was the end result?”.
Surprising candidates with questions like these will also show you how well they react under pressure and think on the spot. Below are some examples of behavioural interview questions that should help your interview process:
  • Describe a time when you’ve had a disagreement with a colleague or customer.
  • Have you ever had to make a difficult decision in the workplace? Tell me how you went about it.
  • What was the last piece of criticism you received at work?
If the candidate finds these questions difficult to answer, and the interview becomes halted, try asking supplementary questions to get the ball rolling. Don’t forget, interviewing can be a daunting experience, especially when a question crops up that you’re not expecting, so it’s ok to give the candidate a push in the right direction.

Gauging results

Use the insight you get from the interviewee’s answers to evaluate how well they would fit in your team, what their values are and how they approach their work. For example, if they’re going to have responsibility for a team in your organisation, you want to ensure that you’ve covered their management skills by asking for a real life example from a previous job.
So, if you’ve got an interview coming up, try asking behavioural interview questions and gain a better understanding of your prospective employees. For help and advice on your hiring process, contact your local Michael Page office.