Behavioral Interview Questions: Why You Should Ask Them and What to Ask

When you are interviewing a candidate, you typically want to gather as much valuable information as possible. Often, this involves making sure you ask the right questions in the proper format to get the kind of revealing response that will allow you to better assess a job seeker’s capabilities.

If you are wondering why you should ask behavioral interview questions when meeting with candidates as well as what questions are best to ask, here’s what you need to know.

Why You Should Ask Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral interview questions are generally seen as more probing. Some even believe that you can better review a candidate’s past performance (which may indicate their potential for future success, though this is hotly debated) as well as discover more about their personality in the workplace which can be critical for determining cultural fit.

Often, basic interview questions rely on employees either confirming or denying facts or asking them to assess their capabilities. Responses to these questions don’t always come with a significant amount of context, so they may be viewed as lacking.

For example, “How much experience do you have with software X?” isn’t very probing. “Do you consider yourself to be an expert with software X?” is highly subjective.

When you ask a job seeker a behavioral interview question, you are usually prompting them to provide you with an example of a recent experience that relates to a specific topic. The idea is to learn more about the challenges they’ve faced and successes they’ve had, especially those that are relevant to the role you are hoping to fill.

For instance, “Tell me about a time you used software X to accomplish task Y,” would give you more information about the candidate’s capabilities in a real-world scenario.

Behavioral Interview Questions You Should Ask

While the precise questions you want to ask may vary based on the nature of the role, certain ones are generally helpful in a universal sense.

For example, “Tell me about a time you faced failure in the workplace. How did you respond to the adversity?” lets you see how the candidate reacts in challenging situations. Similarly, “Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at work and how you resolved the problem,” can give you insights into their level of self-awareness, their willingness to admit it when they make a misstep, and their resilience when finding solutions.

“In regards to your current or most recent job, which activities do you enjoy most and why?” is another great question that helps you determine whether the tasks associated with your vacant position may peak their interest or energize them.

“Can you provide an example of a time you were in conflict with a coworker? How did you handle the situation?” is also a valuable question, particularly when you need to assess how they problem-solve during challenging times and their approach to interpersonal relationships.

Any of the questions above can be particularly effective for assessing whether a candidate is right for the role and your company. If you would like to learn more about behavioral interview questions, the professionals at Career Options can help. Contact us to discuss your goals today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.

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