In honor of college basketball recruiting season I am going to continue the conversation I started last week about knowing who you need on your team and finding that person. Whether you are looking for an up-and-coming forward, trying to find the best receptionist for your office or are looking to hire an executive, there is going to be an interview process. You will have an hour, maybe two to decide if someone is the player of your dreams or a dud. If you are like many of us, you have never been taught how to interview. It is just a hodge-podge of questions you have come up with over time and you hope that somewhere in the conversation a light will go off that says ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Rather than just winging it and hoping for the best, how would your outcome be different if you had a plan, knew what you where looking for and understood how to develop questions that would actually give you some insight into how this person would function on your team? Sounds like a less stressful way to get to the bottom of things. That is where behavioral interviewing comes in.
What is behavioral interviewing?
Rather than asking questions that have straight forward answers like “What are your strengths/weaknesses” or “Where do you see yourself in five years” behavioral interviewing involves asking questions that get a person to tell you about events that give you insight into who they really are.
For example: I was recently doing an interview for an entry level position for one of my clients. We were looking for someone just out of college and good organization and record keeping where high on the CEO’s list of needed skills. In the interview I could have asked, “How organized are you?” But the answer to that question would only tell me how organized the person thought he/she was compared to his/her norm or expectation of organization. Instead I asked them to tell me what they did with their class syllabi at the beginning of each semester and how they kept track of class assignments, due dates and their exam schedule. The answers I received gave me the opportunity to understand how they handled information in the past and therefore how they would likely handle appointments and keeping track of client information if we hired them.
Why behavioral interviewing works
Behavioral interviewing works because it helps interviewees relax, open up and tell you who they are. There is no right or wrong answer to ‘tell me about a time you….’ Or ‘If I was your boss and I did something you disagreed with, how would you handle it?’ The conversation feels a bit like a first date. You want them to tell you who they are, not who they think you want them to be.
How to use behavioral interviewing
The first and foremost thing you need to do to use behavioral interviewing successfully is know what you are looking for. If you don’t know who you need you are unlikely to ever find them. What skills, technical and interpersonal, are important to you and your team? Make a list. If you could build the perfect teammate, who would he/she be? Once you have the list of skills and personality traits, rank them. Which is the most important and why. The clearer you are the easier it is going to be to know when someone fits. Finally, what behaviors or actions would indicate someone has what you are looking for? If empathy is important maybe you ask about volunteer work or a time they saw someone get injured and what they did. If strong communication skills are what you need, ask about when they struggled to understand someone or get someone to understand them. The stories you hear will be enlightening.
The more you know about someone’s past the more informed you will be about what actions they are likely to take in the future. It might be worth it to pay someone to help you develop behavioral interview questions. Once you know what you need and the questions to ask to find it, you can use them over and over and over. That can only help you build a better team.
What is the most important question you ask when interviewing someone? Share with us in the comments.
Tags :behavioral interviewing, building a strong team, building a successful team, Champion Performance Development, creating a successful team, Doc Robyn, finding the right teammate, interviewing, interviewing for fit, recruiting, Robyn Odegaard, successful recruiting, teammate