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Improve your Behavioral Interviews

interviewBehavioral interviews – the kind structured around candidates providing examples of how they’ve handled challenges in the past – are very common.  So common, in fact, that many candidates have canned answers to the most-asked questions (Give me an example of a goal you had to achieve and how you reached it.  How do you handle a challenge?  How have you handled a difficult situation with a customer?), and they’re ready to trot them out.

These type of interviews are intended to give us an idea of a candidate’s future behavior based on his or her past performance.  But candidates today may be facing vastly different challenges than they’ve encountered in past roles, so it’s time to upgrade behavioral interviews.  One way to do this is to corroborate answers with your candidates’ references.  It’s the surest way to determine whether they’ve got excellent problem-solving or storytelling skills.

Another option: find out how your candidates deal with new challenges by presenting a real world problem your company is facing and asking them to come up with solutions.  Their responses offer you insight into how they apply themselves to problems and provide them with a better idea of the kinds of issues they’ll be tasked with resolving.

Nimbleness, agility, the ability to innovate – these characteristics are extremely desirable in today’s marketplace, and behavioral questions of old don’t tend to help candidates demonstrate these qualities.  Part of what you’ll also be hoping to glean from a behavioral interview is attitude and cultural fit.  Tailor questions to assess for these factors.