Job seekers are often nervous for job interviews and prepare canned answers in advance to what they think the interviewer might ask. They come prepared to talk about their experience and education in a rather robotic way. Often this interation doesn’t really determine if the person would be a good fit for the organisation.

Behavioural based interviewing is a different approach. It operates on the premise that the best indication of a candidate’s on-the-job behaviour is his or her behaviour in the past. This interviewing technique requires candidates to answer a three-part question that addresses a situation, the candidate’s action, and the result of his or her action (SAR). This can eliminate candidates who look good on paper and know how to give answers the interviewer expects. It’s also a more scientific approach than the interviewer going with gut instinct or first impressions.

Setting Up a Behavioural Based Interview

Before trying this approach for the first time in an organisation, those conducting the interview need to understand that it’s a major time commitment. The average behavioural based job interview takes at least two hours to complete. That’s understandable when considering that it takes some time for the candidate to relate stories that the interview team can then use to uncover detailed descriptions of his or behaviour.

The goal of these types of questions is to determine how this person thinks, solves problems, responds, and behaves in an everyday work environment. The interviewee should be able to describe two to three successes and failures for every example that he or she brings up. Specifically, the person conducting the interview needs to know the following:

Examples of Behavioural Based Interview Questions

A good interview of this type focuses equally on behaviour, knowledge, and skills. Below are two examples of questions from each category:

The answers to questions like this go far beyond yes or no and can display the job candidate’s personality, thinking process, motivations, frustrations, and much more. That is far more valuable to know that whether he or she simply meets the technical requirements for the job.