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Explanation of how to develop behavioral interview questions

As noted by Collins (2001) in his book Built to Last, it is important to get the right people on the bus. With well-developed job descriptions, it is appropriate to find the right person to fulfill those stated responsibilities. For the discussion here, we will focus on an interview technique known as "behavioral interviewing."

In the late 1970's, industrial psychologists studied the effectiveness of traditional interviews and concluded that they are not very effective in predicting a candidate's ability to do a job. Yet, the primary purpose of an interview is to gain relevant information that will help you decide which candidate is the better choice. You want to ascertain whether the skills (both verbal and non-verbal) are adequate, as well as to discover information on the person. You also want to hire someone you won't have to fire! (Remember: 85% of all terminations are the result of poor hiring decisions.)

Behavioral interviewing is different from traditional interviewing in that the focus is on past behaviors. Therefore, the questions in a behavioral interview stem around an applicant's past experience vs. theory or conjecture.

For example:

A traditional question: "How would you address an angry customer?" Answers to questions like this tend to be mushy and theoretical at best, such as, "I would ask the person to tell me the problem and then I'd help that person come to a resolution with the situation."

Using a behavioral approach, you (the interviewer) would ask, "Give me a specific example of a time when you had to address an angry customer. What was the problem and what was the outcome?" The applicant then gives you a real example from past experience. At the end of a behavioral interview, most applicants are exhausted! We're not yet used to this type of interview, and it can be difficult to think of various situations when the applicant is expecting the traditional easy-to-answer questions.

In behavioral interviewing, the interviewer takes on a great deal of the responsibility to guide the process. Asking probing questions is a must, such as: "Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at your previous job that cost the company money." Applicant shares an experience. Your probe: "Is that the worst mistake you ever made?" or "What impact did it have?" or "What did you learn?" or "What should you have done?" The rationale behind behavioral interviewing is that past behavior is the best indicator of current and future behavior.

My question is how might you go about developing behavioral interview questions for a given position in your division?

Solution Preview

I would first conduct a job analysis to identify and determine what the job entails. "A job analysis is the systematic process of identifying and describing the important aspects of a job and the characteristics a worker needs to do it well." (Phillips, Gully, 2009). Secondly, I would develop a job description based on the ...

Solution Summary

This solutions provides a detailed explanation of how to develop behavioral interview questions for a given position.
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