Interview questions have evolved over the years, going from the general, “Name your biggest weakness” types of questions, to very specific questions asked of applicants today. Whether questions are simply a test of a person’s knowledge on a given topic or geared toward determining an applicant’s personality, it’s important that each question serve the purpose of finding the best candidate.
Hiring the wrong worker can take a big chunk out of a business’s budget. According to a study from the Center for American Progress, a company spends one-fifth of a worker’s salary replacing him. This includes the cost of recruiting and training a replacement, lost productivity, and separation costs like severance pay and unemployment tax increases.
When used effectively, interviewing tactics can weed out employees who aren’t the right fit for your organization. Behavioral-based interviewing is a technique where businesses ask questions that extract specific experiences from an employee’s past. “What qualities make you a good leader?” would be replaced by, “Describe a time when you had to lead a team and one member wasn’t pulling his weight. What happened?”
Here are a few ways behavioral-based questions can be used during your next interviewing process to pinpoint the perfect candidate for the job.
Remove First Impressions
Traditionally, job seekers have been warned that an employer makes a hiring decision in the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate. Behavioral-based interviewing removes snap judgments based on a person’s appearances, and allows interviewers to get a feel for how the employee will work on a daily basis.
By learning how a candidate has responded in situations in the past, you’ll get past the words on his or her resume and learn more about his or her work ethic and overall personality. Ask questions that match what you prize in an employee, and listen for answers that match how you would want an employee to act in a certain situation. “Tell me about a time when you had to think outside the box,” for instance, tells an employer whether a candidate has the ability to generate truly original ideas.
Test Communication Skills
Aside from learning more about a candidate’s personality, one of the biggest benefits of behavioral-based interviewing is the ability to test a candidate’s communications skills. Being able to adequately answer behavioral-based questions with stories that have a beginning, middle, and an end takes a skill that will translate well to the work environment. That same candidate may later be called upon to describe a project to a roomful of people, and you’ll already have chosen an employee who can tackle that task with ease.
Narrow the Field
With so many applicants for each job, small businesses have the luxury of choosing the best worker for each opening. Behavioral-based interview questions can help businesses build a team that will work well together, complementing each other’s unique personalities in a way that increases productivity, and keeps morale high.
However, before implementing behavioral-based interviewing techniques, businesses should take time to determine the exact characteristics that are important in a new team member. Think of the very situations your workers will find themselves in, and ask questions that will allow them to describe how they reacted when they were in the same situation in the past.
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