July 12, 2007

Behavioral Interviews

A behavioral interview is an employment interview during which a job applicant is asked to demonstrate competencies: knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Behavioral interviewing is a relatively new style of interviewing that was developed in the 1970's by industrial psychologists.

Katharine Hansen the editor of QuintZine told that employers such as AT&T and Accenture (the former Andersen Consulting) have been using behavioral interviewing for about 15 years now, and because increasing numbers of employers are using behavior-based methods to screen job candidates, understanding how to excel in this interview environment is becoming a crucial job-hunting skill.

Behavioral interviewing asserts that "the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation.

Unlike traditional interviews, which include such questions as:tell me about yourself; what are your strengths and weaknesses?; why are you interested in working for us? The behavioral interview is designed to minimize personal impressions that can affect the hiring decision. By focusing on the applicant's actions and behaviors rather than subjective impressions that can sometimes be misleading, interviewers can make more accurate hiring decisions.

What Do Employers Evaluate in A Behavioral Interview?

Employers are looking for 3 types of skills: Content Skills, Functional - also called Transferable Skills, and Adaptive - also called Self Management Skills.

Content Skills: Knowledge that is work specific such as computer programming, accounting, welding, etc. expressed as nouns.
Functional or Transferable Skills: Used with people, information or things such as organizing, managing, developing, communicating, etc. expressed as verbs.
Adaptive or Self-Management Skills: Personal characteristics such as dependable, team player, self directed, punctual, etc. expressed as adjectives.

The Different of Behavioral Questions and other types of Interviewing Questions

There are 3 types of questions typically found in interviews:
Theoretical questions: Questions that place you in a hypothetical situation. These questions are more likely to test your skill at answering questions rather than in doing a good job.
Example: How would you organize your friends to help you move into a new apartment?

Leading questions: Questions that hint at the answer the interviewer is seeking by the way they are phrased.
Example: Working on your own doesn¹t bother you does it?

Behavioral questions: Questions that seek demonstrated examples of behavior from your past experience and concentrate on job related functions. They may include:
Open-ended questions -- these require more than a yes of no response. They often begin with "Tell me...", "Describe...", "When...".
Example: Describe a time you had to be flexible in planning a work load.

Close-ended questions: Used mostly to verify or confirm information.
Example: You have a degree in psychology, is that correct?

Why questions: Used to reveal rationale for decisions you have made or to determine your level of motivation.
Example: Why did you decide to major in this program at UWEC rather than at a small private college or larger university?

More about interviews and recruitment, jump here.


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