5 tips for conducting an effective behavioural interview

The interview process is where you meet your candidates and get to know them for the very first time. It is also the time when you have the most control over the type of employees you would want to hire. Most employers today use the behavioural interviewing technique to conduct their interviews. Historically, behavioural interviewing technique has been around for over 30 years and this method is proven to be effective in predicting future success to a greater degree compared to other interviewing techniques.

However, candidates today are more ready to answer behavioural questions thanks to various easily available online sites. As an interviewer, you need to practice good interviewing techniques and ensure that you receive authentic responses rather than a set of template answers that can potentially deceive you or cause you to make a poor decision.

Here are 5 tips to help you conduct an effective behavioural interview:

  1. Choose your questions carefully

Do not take template behavioural questions that are found on the Internet. Chances are, candidates would already come prepared with the template answers. Take time to evaluate the job role and strategise your questions carefully. Determine the key competencies that are required to be successful in the role and customise behavioural questions that can reveal if the candidate can thrive in that specific role or not.

  1. Get a second opinion

It is common for us to seek for a second opinion when we are diagnosed with a certain sickness or picking out a wedding dress. It should be the same for hiring as well. More importantly, you should invite a colleague who will be working with the new hire so that he or she can easily help you spot behavioural red flags that you may have missed and even help to evaluate if the candidate is a cultural fit.

  1. Use a scorecard / take notes

A scorecard that is specifically designed to evaluate the behaviour of candidates can give you a better picture of their performance and if they display the key traits that you seek during the interview. Instead of relying on gut-feeling, which sometimes can be inaccurate, a scorecard is more precise and can become an evidence in hiring decisions. It is also important to take notes during the interview so that you can review them again after the interview.

  1. Never answer for them

Behavioural questions can be extremely tricky to answer and there are times when you are faced with a candidate who is stuck in answering them. When there is a moment of silence, you may be tempted to help them and lead them to say what you want to hear. Refrain from doing so and always remember that your role is to evaluate them as an interviewer. If one short answer is not enough to fill your curiosity, continue asking for more evidence.

  1. Make time

Behavioural-based interviews take longer time than other interviewing techniques. Make sure you allocate enough time for every behavioural interview session and reassure the candidate by saying, “Take your time to think of the answer” if you see that he or she requires the extra time. Spend the extra minutes to further dig for specific details with every story you hear to ensure that you cover everything that you need for a complete evaluation.

The success of an interview depends not just on the talent pool but the way interviews are conducted as well. In this aspect, interviewers play an important role in ensuring an effective behavioural interviewing technique is in place. Just like how candidates are to do their homework before attending any interview sessions, interviewers also need to allocate time to prepare behavioural interview questions that are geared specially for the job position. Above all, interviewers must be patient, attentive and not be afraid to ask for further information in order to make the best hiring decision.


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