Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral interview questions help Recruiters and Hiring Managers to assess candidates who have applied for the job. Use the below-given behavior-based interview questions to find your next great employee.

Why use behavioral questions in interviews?

Behavioral questions can help you understand how the candidates handled various situations in their previous job roles. These behaviors can tell you how candidates will react in similar situations at your company. Ask behavioral questions during interviews to evaluate one or more of these qualities:

  • Communication/ Interpersonal skills
  • Initiative
  • Leadership skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Teamwork

Don’t make hiring decisions just based on hard skills or first impressions. With behavior-based interview questions, Hiring Managers and Recruiters can spot candidates who have impressive profiles but lack important qualities for the job. These questions will help you understand how the candidates work in a team or what is their approach when interacting with customers.  Ask questions that allow you to test candidates’ role-specific as well as company-specific qualities. For senior-level roles or managerial positions, ask questions to check candidates’ leadership skills. If you are recruiting a salesperson, test their approach for handling customer complaints. Or, if the position involves working under pressure and meeting deadlines, include behavior-based questions that help you understand how candidates deal with stressful situations.

Behavioral interview questions

  • Tell me about a time when you made a procedure more efficient. How did you do it?
  • If your Team Leader encourages competition between team members instead of cooperation. What would you do?
  • Explain the industry term, ‘Y’ to me, considering I am a non-technical person.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a reluctant coworker. How did you communicate with the coworker effectively?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to share an unpopular decision with a team member or manager. How did you do it and what reactions did you get?

How to assess candidates’ answers?

  • Previous behaviors can tell you how people think and react, but don’t use them to predict their future behaviors. Consider other factors too. For example, candidates who describe poor collaboration with team members in the past could have learned to work in a team and maintain their calm.
  • Pay attention to the types of examples your candidates share. This will help you know how they define a challenging work environment, a difficult customer or a stressful situation.
  • If you are interviewing a fresher or a candidate with little professional experience, they might not be able to share about various situations. Ask them questions related to their educational experience and assess their qualities based on that.
  • Not many candidates are familiar with behavioral interviewing. So, for better understanding of their behavior and attitude, ask follow-up questions.
  • If candidates are struggling to answer your behavioral questions, think of easier questions. For example, if they can’t give an example of dealing with a reluctant colleague, ask them to tell you about great teamwork experience. What was their role in the team?
  • Behavioral interview questions can be difficult to answer. So, give candidates sufficient time to think. Rushing an answer may have the contradictory result; they could get nervous and make something up in order to avoid an awkward situation.

Red Flags

  • Great personality, but lacking essential skills: Recruiters should focus on results. For example, when recruiting a sales executive, you might expect a friendly candidate. However, a candidate who looks reserved and quiet could deliver great results, Relate candidates’ previous behavior to performance to find an ideal candidate.
  • No answer: A candidate who can’t share real life examples might not pay enough attention to qualities that are essential for the position they are applying for. For example, a Team Leader who can’t give a specific example of a time they helped a team member may not be very passionate about their role.
  • Hypothetical or generalized responses: Candidates’ answers should be based on real experiences. The purpose of asking behavioral interview questions is to understand how people react in various real life situations.
  • Artificial answers: they suggest your candidates are just trying to impress you, but don’t have personal examples to share. Candidates should be able to include important details and answer any follow-up questions.