Behavioural-descriptive interviewing is an approach that looks at past behaviour as a predictor of future performance. The goal of the interview process is to predict future job performance based on a candidates responses from previous specific behaviours, which illustrate desired competencies through careful probing.
Interviewers look for behaviours in situations similar to those to be encountered in the new job. By relating a candidate’s answers from past experience, you develop indicators of how the individual will likely act in the future.
Behavioral questions ensure more spontaneity than traditional questions since candidates can’t practice as easily for them in advance.
Here are a number of examples of behaviour-based interview questions
Organizational, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills:
Describe a situation that you have encountered (or how you would handle such a situation if you have not been faced with one) when you had responsibility for the operations of a unit. You determined that staff was not being used in a way that helped meet goals, but many of them were very resistant to change. What options did you explore to handle the situation? What did you do to overcome the resistance? What was the outcome?
Tell me about an accomplishment in a work setting that makes you feel good to remember and why you are proud of it.
Describe a problem you confronted without success. If you could go back in time, how would you handle it differently?
Give an example of the most significant problem you have faced and solved at work. Describe the process you used to find a solution.
Tell me about the most difficult co-worker with whom you have ever had to work. What actions did you take that proved helpful? What did you find made things worse? What would you do differently if you were faced with a similar situation in the future?
Initiative and flexibility:
Describe your vision of an ideal supervisor. Now tell me about the worst supervisor you have ever had.
Tell me about a project that you undertook that was your idea and that you had to persuade others to let you do.
What new skills have you learned in the past 12 months? What would you like to learn in the next year?
Describe a significant change in your job responsibilities and the steps you took to manage the transition smoothly.
Tell me about a situation when you abruptly had to change what you were doing.
Tell me about a time when you worked on a project that did not turn out well. How did you handle that?
When you take on a new project do you like to have lots of guidance and feedback up front, or do you prefer to try your own approach?
How do you measure your own success?
Teamwork, sensitivity to the needs of others, ability to work well with others:
Describe a sensitive situation in which you were able to guide your actions by your understanding of others individual needs or values.
Describe a time when you felt it necessary to modify or change your actions in order to respond to the needs of another person.
What kinds of people do you not enjoy working with?
Tell me about a work situation that bugged you.
Describe the most creative, work-related project you have done.
Give me an example of a time when you had an unusual idea that worked well.
When was the last time you “broke” the rules and what did you do?
What is the most interesting thing you have done in the past year?
Describe a situation when you were asked to meet two different deadlines given to you by two different managers and you could not do both. How did you handle this?
Describe how you handled a request to take on an exciting new project that you really wanted to do at a time when you already had more to do than you could do well.
Honesty, integrity and judgement:
Have you ever experienced a personal loss from doing what is right?
In what business situations do you feel honesty would be inappropriate?
Describe a situation when you were faced with making a decision that involved important conflicting needs between an individual and your employer and explain how you handled it.
Ability to influence others:
Describe a project or idea that initially met resistance but that you were able to “sell” to others and implement.
Tell me about a time when you disagreed with the others in a group about something important but were able to work with them to reach a consensus that you felt was a good one.
How have you handled a situation when you needed to “correct” your boss?
I’ll bet there’s plenty of conversation in your workplace — about today’s tasks, about that rush order, about that sudden snag, about the project that should have been done yesterday. But do you and your colleagues ever step off the task treadmill and talk about the workplace itself? If you work full time until retirement age, you’re going to log at least 90,000 hours on the job. Doesn’t it make sense to spend a few of those hours teaming up with co-workers to figure out how to make the workplace better?
Sure it does, but that only sparks more questions: What exactly should you talk about? How do you keep the conversation from turning into a gripe session? Is there a way to make meaningful discoveries instead of talking on and on about the obvious?
That’s what this Top 10 list is all about. It gives you thought-provoking questions guaranteed to open up worthwhile conversation about your workplace. Share the list with colleagues, select the one or two questions that seem most relevant, then set aside some time to talk. There are no right or wrong answers, and you don’t need a full day for this. Just an hour or so of dialogue, with ears and minds wide open, will deepen everyone’s understanding and point the way to practical improvement.
When was the last time you got so caught up in interesting work that you lost track of time? What were you doing? What was it — about the work itself, how you were going about it, its connection to a greater good — that made this such a wonderfully consuming activity?
Seeing the fruits of your labor When you want to see the results of your work, what do you look at? How do you know that your effort is having a positive impact? If you could wave a wand and instantly create a more meaningful system for tracking results, what would it look like?
John W. Gardner observed, “We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” What is your biggest insoluble problem? What makes it so tough to tackle, and what is the great opportunity that lies within? How would you go about pursuing this opportunity if you divided the challenge into manageable steps?
Meetings, meetings, and more meetings
How many hours do you spend each week in meetings? How many of these hours are well spent, and how many are wasted? If you could redirect that unproductive time to worthwhile activity, what would you do?
The voice of the customer
When your customers talk about your organization behind your back, what do you think they say? Who has the highest praise, who is most critical, and why? Now think about your own immediate customers: When they talk about you personally (and you know they do!), what do they likely say?
The community-individuality balance
What gets greater emphasis in your workplace: teamwork and togetherness, or individuality and diversity? If it’s teamwork and togetherness, does the pursuit of unity prompt people to downplay their differences? If individuality and diversity are the main focus, does the workplace ever feel like a loose collection of conflicting styles and agendas? What can be done to maintain a good balance between unity and uniqueness?
From passive complaints to positive action
What is your biggest complaint about the workplace? Now, rephrase it in the form of a positive goal. Here’s an example: “I’m tired of busywork. I spend half my day crunching numbers that no one looks at.” Here’s the corresponding positive goal: “I’d like to spend my time on work that relates to our mission and affects our customers. If my number-crunching has real value, I’d like to know exactly how.” After defining the goal, think action: What can you and others do to make it happen?
Giving and getting respect
Johann von Goethe said, “The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.” What did Goethe mean, and how does this play itself out in your workplace? What could be done right now to make respect one of the workplace’s greatest strengths?
Can we talk? Is there an elephant in your workplace — a big problem or concern that no one ever talks about? Something that’s well-known to all and in desperate need of dialogue? If so, why is the elephant so unacknowledged? What are the risks of talking about it? What are the potential benefits?
“If I had just a bit more authority at work, I would _____.” Fill in the blank with several actions you’d like to take right now to be more effective in your job. Then explore why you can’t. What’s holding you back? What is the one action you can get started on right now?
Hiring the right candidate is a challenging process. Once you’ve found your successful candidate, you need to make sure that they are effectively equipped to hit the ground running in their new position.
A good orientation program can take time and preparation. The pay-off is employees who are ready to make an immediate impact and transition into their new role quickly and efficiently.
The investment of a little time and money preparing an orientation program can lead to savings from reduced employee turnover in the first year, as well as gains in performance and morale.
The cliche applies, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
Benefits of employee orientation
Keeps the excitement level of the new applicant high: When coming to a new position, new employees are motivated to learn and succeed!
Retains your new recruits: Where staff members are made to feel welcome, and they are provided with a culture of support, and the information and materials they need to succeed right away, your organization will increase the rate of retention for new employees, and save money on unnecessary recruiting costs associated with turnover.
Saves you money because of increased productivity and decreased errors, stress, and dependence on other staff members.
Increases morale in the new recruit and their team members, resulting from a clear understanding of the role and their obligations.
Increases health and safety, resulting from decreased injuries, incidents and near-misses that may occur where a new recruit is not provided with appropriate health and safety orientation.
Helps your organization meet legislative compliance regulations by providing the training required under the law.
Forget speed-dating, how about speed-recruiting? Pizza Hut is recruiting for a Social Media Manager (or ‘Manager of Digital Greatness’), and candidates will have interviews of just 140 seconds in length!
The company wants applicants to be able to demonstrate that they can deliver in the hyper fast-paced world of social media. “It’s the modern day elevator speech,” Doug Terfehr from Pizza Hut told Forbes. “The time you have to tell a story, engage a customer or leave a lasting impression on someone socially has shrunk to seconds.
You should remember that, as a supervisor, you’ll always get what you reward. if you ignore good behaviour, you may lose it and perhaps a good employee as well. While this may appear to be common sense, it is far from common practice.
We like to be recognized for doing good work. We crave praise, but do not always like to give praise. One of your jobs as manager is to make sure you give out praise as often as possible. In the workplace it really holds true because it is a place where they spend on average 40 hours a week. People want to be happy and secure in a place where they spend so much of their time.
It only takes a few seconds to say, “Thank you,” and “great job,” but you get plenty of return. It’s easy and effective. Timely praise can work wonders.
Here are some guidelines on giving praise:
Make it immediate – Your recognition will be most effective if it comes as soon as possible after the desired activity or achievement has occurred. Saving your praise for a later date will weaken its impact.
Be sincere – Your praise must be genuine and balanced. It will lose impact if it becomes regular and predictable. Don’t exaggerate and say things you don’t really mean.
Be specific – Avoid generalities like “great job”. Wait for a specific action to praise and then say something like, “You
did an excellent job of expediting that order today”
Praise good performance – Praising good performance is an effective way to inspire people to improve in weak areas. Don’t praise ordinary performance.
If you praise your workgroup for doing routine jobs, in a routine way, you’re not motivating them to do better —
and it will makc the praise you give them for excellent work seem less significant.
Give it meaning – Avoid simply recognizing employee achievements in passing. Rather, try to spend sorne time
with them so that they know their efforts to the workgroup and to the organization are recognized.
The supervisor must remember that employees thrive on recognition. They want to know if they are improving and
performing in their jobs. Delivering simple, direct praise for a task well done is the easiest way to show that recognition.
Supervisors who fail to realize this are depriving themselves and their employees of one of the most powerful forms of inspiration to shape desired behaviour and performance.