Ask Behavioral Interview Questions like a Jedi

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Write Custom Behavioral Interview Questions for your Organization

Learn how organizational psychologists think about behavioral interview questions. Then download the related worksheet you can use to write custom questions and interview like a Jedi! 

Behavioral Interview Questions

How the PhDs think about behavioral interviewing

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. That’s where behavioral interview questions come in!

When done properly, behavioral interviews are 5x more effective predictors of future on the job behavior than traditional interviews.

It’s not enough to look for a few example questions online. Chances are applicants have researched your organization, and even answered a few generic behavioral interview questions for practice. At least the good ones have!

When organizational psychologists conduct behavioral interviews they want to know how an applicant will fit and ultimately behave in your organization. To do that, you need to be prepared with ultra-specific question tailored to your unique culture.

Pssst, Don’t forget to download the related worksheet!

What’s “fit” all about, anyway?

Everyone has an innate sense of what “fit” means. What’s it all about on a scientific level?

To evaluate fit you need to go deep. Asking, “Would I have a drink with this person?” doesn’t get the job done. If all goes to plan, you need to work with this person on a daily basis over a number of years. That’s a bit more of a commitment than a relaxed conversation over a pint.

Don’t take it from me! Geoff Smart, founder of ghSMART discovered that even the most veteran hiring managers only get it right 50% of the time when they go with their gut.

Fit’s a big topic, but for the purpose of this blog, the reader’s digest version will do.

Fit is a measure of alignment (literally, fit) between an individual’s values and the unique values of their environment or organization. As it relates to behavioral interview questions, you want to know how a candidate’s preferences for rewards, communication, decision making and work habits fit with the manager, team, organization and demands of the role.

It doesn’t take a shrink to see that this person may not be the ideal fit in a volatile and informal startup!

You can read more about core values here, but for this blog it’s enough to know two things:

  1. It is widely accepted that core values are hard wired by the time we reach adulthood
  2. Employee behavior is best predicted by the alignment between an individual’s core values and their environment.

To see what I mean just imagine a candidate who values a well defined role, stability and a formal work environment. It doesn’t take a shrink to see that this person may not be the ideal fit in a volatile and informal startup!

Write your own custom behavioral interview questions

Now that we’re on the same page about fit, you probably have a sense for where I’m going. To write behavioral interview questions that are tailored to your organization, you need to follow two basic steps.

  1. Define the values that make your environment unique. Think:
    • What are the values of the manager?
    • What are the values of the team?
    • What are the values of the organization?
    • What are the demands of the role?
  2. For each description above formulate a statement that starts with phrases like these:
    • Think back to a time when you…
    • Describe a time when you struggled to…
    • When you’re working with…
    • Tell me about a time you had to be…

This example from our Behavioral Interview Question Worksheet may make things more clear.

Behavioral Interview Questions

Use the Behavioral Interview worksheet to write your own questions!

All together now!

You want to know is how a candidate will behave in your organization. To get that level of detail you need to ask behavioral interview questions that are customized for your environment.

All you need is some basic information about the unique values of the manager, team, organization, and the specific demands of the role. Once you have it all laid out you can ask questions that give you Jedi powers when it comes to hiring the right person.

Even if you have a Ph.D. it can be really hard to define the unique values of your teams, managers and the organization. That’s why we built RoundPegg Software! In the time it takes to cook a frozen lunch, our software gives you a comprehensive profile of the unique values in your organization and even generates behavioral interview questions specific to any team and manager.  Set up some time to learn more, it’s a breeze to get started!

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