Top Behavioral Interview Questions You Need to Ask A Candidate

BY Austin Richards
Featured image for “Top Behavioral Interview Questions You Need to Ask A Candidate”

As a manager, your most important job is helping your employees succeed. But employees don’t stay with an organization forever, which means you must be prepared to find new team members. For some managers, conducting interviews can be a dreaded experience. But if you use the right behavioral interview questions, you’ll get to know a candidate and learn how well they’ll fit into your organization.

Why Behavioral Interview Questions Matter

If you’re new to interviewing and hiring, you might be wondering what constitutes a behavioral interview question. Indeed​.com defines this style of question as follows: “Behavioral interview questions and answers unveil the details of a candidate’s universal core skills and personal qualities that matter in every position, such as problem-​solving and resilience.” 

A traditional interview question might be something like, “What has been the most important professional experience in your work history?”

By asking a behavioral interview question, you are getting at the heart of how a candidate reacts in a specific job situation. When you ask them questions designed to explain how they managed an unexpected challenge at work, you’ll learn about their ability to think on their feet. And their answer might also reveal their response to stress.

Using Interview Questions to Reveal Soft Skills

A key goal in your interviewing and hiring process is trying to predict job performance. Managers know that several factors contribute to job performance, most especially, hard skills and soft skills. They also realize that new employees can learn hard skills on the job. What’s much harder is developing soft skills such as emotional intelligence or problem-solving.

LinkedIn analysts suggest asking a question such as the following. “Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a colleague’s working style in order to complete a project or achieve your outcomes.” In answering, the candidate might reveal their level of flexibility. The results of a behavioral interview reveals their willingness to “give” in order to work as part of an effective team. This key soft skill is something your top candidate should possess.

Hiring managers might be faced with a candidate who has little work experience. In those cases, the interview will need to adjust the questions to fit the individual’s experience. 

For example, they may ask, “Tell me about a project that you planned. How did you organize and schedule the tasks?” Given the freedom to talk about a team project at school or for a volunteer organization, the candidate can explain their process, and in doing so, show their decision-​making abilities.

Experts generally agree that relying on a set of behavioral questions for each candidate and “using the same scoring system” can help managers identify the best potential new hire. These “structured interviews” take time. 

One way to streamline the process is to ask candidates to take a psychometric assessment before the interview. The structured questions in these assessments will indicate areas where the interviewer should do a deep dive. Even better, a good assessment platform will personalize the behavioral questions to cover in the interview.

Designing Interview Questions to Learn More About Your Candidate

To learn the most about a candidate during the hiring process, managers should employ behavioral interview questions. Equally important is the manager’s ability to apply the candidate’s answer to what will be expected of them in the job. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-​up questions based on what a candidate says. 

Collecting the right kind of information during a behavioral interview will help you determine whether a candidate will fit into the open position on your existing team. Whether you are expanding or hiring to fill a position left by a previous employee, finding the right person is critical. Supervising a team is challenging enough, but adding the wrong person to the team can have serious repercussions.

Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.