Key Steps to Successfully Conducting a Behavioral Interview

There’s nothing worse than a bad fit. There are many hidden costs associated with hiring the wrong person. Successfully conducting a behavioral interview is a great way to sift through the fluff and open up key areas of compatibility in a potential new hire. If your CRE company is interested in improving your interview game, read on for key steps to incorporate into your process.


conducting a behavioral interview

What Is Behavioral Interviewing?

Traditional interview methods ask how a candidate may react in a given situation. After all, a hiring manager is after key information to ensure the candidate is qualified for the job. So, questions in this mode directly ask what the candidate’s responses might be.


However, conducting a behavioral interview is different. In this mode, the hiring manager asks how a candidate has already responded to a situation like this. What specific solutions did they innovate? How did they adapt in a previous incident on the job?


The premise is that a new hire will act according to their set patterns or previous record. If you can look into their past, you’ll more accurately predict their future.


The Process of Conducting a Behavioral Interview

Boiled down, there are basically three steps to nailing this interview approach:


1. The first priority with this approach to interviewing is identifying the skills and experiences required for success in your agency or organization. What key traits or skills do you find common among others who have been successful in this or a similar role? Valuable traits to look for may include:

  • Confidence

  • Adaptability

  • Focus

  • Integrity

  • Enthusiasm


2. Second, craft a list of interview questions that solve for these skills and traits. If communication is important, ask for a specific example of their clear communication. Some effective interview questions you might ask while conducting a behavioral interview are:

  • Describe a time when you had to work with a person whose personality or work style differed from yours.

  • How have you anticipated a problem in the past and successfully taken steps to prevent it?

  • Have you ever faced a looming deadline with multiple priorities? How did you balance them to meet the deadline?


3. Thirdly, evaluate candidate responses and ask detailed follow-up questions. Behaviorally-based interview questions have been around for decades, and job seekers may prepare polished answers in advance. Rather than simply asking what they did, follow up with detailed questions about why they did it, how they did it, and how their colleagues might have described the incident.


Additional Helpful Steps

In addition to the three process steps described above, here are more helpful steps you can benefit from in conducting a behavioral interview more effectively:

  1. Write a job description that solicits candidates who excel in the traits and experiences at the top of your priorities.

  2. Review the hiring documents (resume, cover letter, application) with your target traits in mind prior to the interview.

  3. Narrow down the talent pool with a phone screening that discusses your most crucial target traits or qualifications.

  4. Ask multiple questions about a high-priority trait for a multi-dimensional understanding of their qualification in that area.

  5. Partner with a high-performing recruiting firm to ensure a pool of qualified talent and for help with often overlooked interview tips and practices.

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